Erik managed to be quiet in the back of the car in his crate with the boot lid up whilst I was firing shot and throwing dummies not too far away from him whilst I was teaching a group gundog session. This is good progress.
I was waiting around watching the farrier shoe a friend’s horse for an hour and Erik was great, no noise and just hung out with me and I occasionally threw the ball for him. Several times I forgot that he was there 🙂
We also revisited the outdoor ‘crate games’ site again today. I came prepared with water and training kit. We spent about half an hour doing some crate games, some lead work, some dummy work and some just hanging out together. No noise and he is starting to understand where the boundaries of the area are. Nice to be able to train and hang out in the sun! Having a place to put him and taking a break to have a sit down between exercises gave Erik time to calm down and not to get so over excited. I think it is the most chilled out training session we have had. Definitely the way to go especially as the pup will be joining us soon and I need a way to be able to take both dogs out and train them individually.
I have now changed Erik’s crate to a pop up one so that I can now start taking things ‘on the road’ to start to generalise this new behaviour.
We started with visiting a friend and setting up in the corner of her arena whilst she worked her horse. I was chief pole mover which involves a lot of sitting around waiting and watching then walking over to the jumps and moving them and changing the set up – all very important work 🙂 Erik’s job was to relax in his crate and not turn it into a Zorb when I went to change the pole set up. He was struggling to settle with the front open so I zipped up the crate and he started to settle. We were there for about half an hour and he was a bit whingey to start with but then realised he had to settle and the second half of the time he was relaxed. He managed OK when I had to go and set up poles, which was about 20m away.
Overall a good start but work still needed.
We did another crate games session in the training barn with the pop up crate and again Erik needed the front zipped before he could settle. Interesting that even in the same place but in a different crate the ‘game’ was different.
We took the pop up crate to a different indoor training venue with a friend to work on watching whilst another dog did interesting things. It took him about 20 mins zipped in the crate for him to really relax. The good thing was there was no noise even when the other dog was retrieving dummies.
One of the challenges with the pop up crate is that the front of the crate is soft and so the boundary is not so clear. We are having to work hard to get him to be fully in with no feet hanging out when he is sent to the crate. I also learned that I need to set the door up facing what I am doing so that he doesn’t stick his head out the door to see what is going on. There are mesh sides to the crate but he seems to like to look out of the front.
I also need to do some more work sending him to the crate as he was trying to get in through the sides!!
Successful training session though, bits to work on but very happy with progress.
We did a quick session on tug and release today. Good release on cue for most of them. Continuing to improve.
We went to the outdoor ‘crate games’ venue this morning and just did some sitting and hanging about doing nothing. Erik managed to offer to be relaxed and chill with no noise. The bluebells were out so we also had the obligatory spaniel with bluebells photo 🙂