Training Diary Day 305-332

Training Diary Day 273 – 304
5th July 2018
Raising Ragnar – 8th Instalment
6th August 2018
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Day 305-316

I have been maintaining criteria with Erik and he did one session of crate games. All going well.

Day 317-318

The Water work weekend, was not much fun for Erik as he has to spend most of the day in the car with breaks, he did come out to do a bit of demo work, plenty of swimming though.

Day 319-324

More day to day living with holiday packing so not much major training getting done.

Day 325

Travel day today, we drove up to Evesham and set up camp. Erik, as ever was happy to be in the caravan as he knows we do lots of fun things when we are camping.  We were at a new campsite, but really nice walks and lakes for him to swim in.  We practiced lead walking whilst excited and boundary games with the orange plastic fencing that I use to give the dogs a bit of a ‘garden’ when I am camping so that they don’t have to be tethered.

Day 326

Erik’s first day back training in a group of dogs. This was a big day for me as I would find out if the training that we have been doing for the last year had been successful.  The short answer is yes.  The training has made a massive difference to Erik’s behaviour in a group.

I took Erik’s fabric crate to the area that we were setting up as ‘base camp’ for the training and he went in to the crate fine and was happy to settle. We trained for about 2 hours that day and there was only a tiny amount of whining to start with and then he realised that he was crated and managed to get his head together.

When he was working he did so good work, water retrieves, blinds, long seens and blinds through cover.

I was very pleased with how he had managed. Erik also came out in the rowing boat with me and thought that was lots of fun 🙂

Day 327

This was more of a challenge as we had the whole day training with Geoff Shore and there were 9 other dogs in the group. Erik managed to settle in the crate very well with only minor quiet noise events.  He was not over the top when he was working and even listened to his whistle cues well for the most part!

At one point he managed to self-settle out of the crate for about 90 mins with hardly any whining at all. Dogs were running past where we were sitting to get retrieves and he managed to switch off for the most part.  I was absolutely thrilled to bits with this progress.

He also worked well with blinds, and multiple retrieves out. He stopped and redirected and in general worked very well.

Day 328

Again Erik managed to wait quietly in the crate and was very settled even when we were using shot for the other dogs.

We had another big test which was a hunting exercise paired with another dog. Erik was hunting a piece of rough ground with a retriever sitting waiting.  He had to stop to shot and then retrieve a thrown dummy, which he did very well.  No problem with the stop.  I messed up the recast so he had one yip.  I stopped him and recast him properly and then he was quiet for the rest of the exercise which was another stop to shot and then wait whilst the retriever went to get the second dummy.  During this wait I went over and fed him, he managed to be still and quiet whilst the other dog worked.  I then recast him and he was quiet and then we repeated the sequence of retrieves with shot.  He was quiet again for both of those too.  For his second retrieve he didn’t see the dummy fall but heard it drop.  Went out on a lovely blind and retrieved it for me.  Need to work on him looking to where the shot is fired so that he can see the dummy fall.

Really impressed with him on this exercise as it shows how much his self-management has improved over the last months. I haven’t done much hunting work but will try to get to do more of it now that I know he can hold it together better.

I put him back in the car for about 45mins and then got him out again for a second go at hunting.

We had moved areas to a more interesting place and Erik knew what we were doing so he was a bit more revved up when he came out for his second go. We weren’t near his crate so I did calming circles to help him settle.

I worked him on his own this time as I felt that it would be too much to ask him to wait for another dog to retrieve whilst he was this revved up. I cast Erik off and he was silent, happy days :), he stopped to shot and marked the throw, retrieved it all really well.  He had a bit of a whinge when I put the dummy away but cast off quietly when we carried on hunting, he stopped and marked the second retrieve well with no noise.

After lunch break we went back to doing water retrieves. We had moved base camp and I initially set him crate up too close to the action and so Erik was a bit noisy.  I moved the crate further away and he was quite.

We were working on send out on a blind, stop and redirect in the water. He managed to work out what I wanted very quickly.

I was really pleased with his work today as it shows how far he has come since starting out on this project. Erik is by no means completely ‘fixed’ yet but he has made massive strides forwards and now I just need to get back to group work and progress his training.  A massive step in the right direction.

Several people commented on how much better Erik had been during the training.

Day 329

We were working on teaching the dogs to swim across to an island, cross the island, re-enter the water, and swim to collect a retrieve on the other bank and then retrace their steps.

We started to back chain this by starting on the island. Erik loved his ride in the boat but couldn’t settle when he was on the island.  Lots of noise which was a shame.  He did, however, do some nice work swimming quiet a long distance across to the far bank , going up and out and returning with the dummy.

In the afternoon I set him up on land with his crate and he managed a lot better with that set up. He swam across to the island and did a long out of sight blind on the island and returned.  I think that working on the island with no crate was too much too soon especially after three days of working with a group.  Need to work up to this level of excitement!

We finished off the day with Erik having a ride on a kayak which he though was great. We also had a swim together which was fun but I need to teach Erik not to try to get on my head when I am swimming!

Day 330

We all went to the game fair and Erik was a little star. He walked on a loose lead on his collar all the time we were out and about at the game fair with very few mistakes.

He was quiet during stops to shop and watch things going on and he managed to win the Scramble scurry 🙂  So it was a very successful day.

Day 331

We had a rest day after such a busy week. Just pottering round the caravan and campsite for the day whilst I packed the awing away and got ready to go home.

Day 332

We travelled home.