Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ryder Bootcamp: Continuation

I've continued working with Ryder on his little skills.  It's interesting, for herding work he often has to be on one side or the other by my leg.  I've discovered he does not transfer this skill to being on the lawn.  I've started doing some circle work.  Asking him to stay by my leg as we walk a circle.  This is HARD!  He wants to cross behind me or circle around my legs.  I've also noticed he resists sitting by my leg.  He prefers to sit in front of me.  These are things we've been focusing on.

He also seems to have figured out the go around the tree thing, or dig exercise.  I'm afraid he may link it with his name because I'm always patting my leg trying to get him to line up nicely, when he perks up and bolts around the tree.  I've been rewarding him for going around the tree even though he didn't do exactly what I want.

I've also noticed that as we play these agility games his energy increases where as with the herding it decreases.  I'm not sure if either is a good or bad thing.  I suppose time will tell.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ryder Bootcamp: Day Two

Today I switched stuff up by playing fetch and toileting the dogs first.  We are under a severe thunderstorm warning right now and the sky is rumbling away.  Ryder hates storms.  He gets anxious and does things like chew on himself, bark, whine and hides.  I've been working with him by having exciting play during storms.  It seems to have decreased the severity of his reactions.

Our first activity was the dig foundation.  I don't have a pole so have been using a tree.  This is our hardest activity.  I have a really hard time just standing there waiting for him to offer me stuff.  He has a really hard time figuring out what to do without my intervention.  I've been resisting helping him.  Today I used treats as his reward.  He was definitely slower to go around the tree.  I did have to call him back because he'd bugger off, wanting to hide by a tree (thunder).

Moving inside I did more target training.  He is pretty good with the plastic lid so I moved further away from it to see if he'd continue to be as consistent.  After a little bit of thinking time he began nosing the lid and moving between the two of us. Next I did hand targets.  He's far quicker with the right hand when compared to the left hand.  All the time the thunder rumbled.  He was definitely less focused today.  As I type this he's hiding under my bed....

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ryder Bootcamp: Day One

Yesterday was the puppy three year birthday.  I met up with Luke's owner and we went for a lovely walk along the river.  The dogs always have a great time with her pack.  It's peaceful and enjoyable.  After she had Luke show off some of his agility skills.  She took the time to do some agility games with Ryder.  He had lots of fun and has decided she's his new favorite person!

There are no agility classes starting until November so I'll be relying on her expertise to teach him new skills until then.  Based on his behaviour I've been giving him minimal herding work and today started him on agility Bootcamp.

We worked on targets.  I used a plastic lid and every time he nosed it I gave him a treat.  It was great seeing his tail wag.  Next we did hand targets.  I held out my hand and waited for him to nose it.  When he touched it I gave him a treat.  I made sure to use both sides.

After working on targets I switched to toys to figure out his favorite toys.  In order his favourites are: flying squirrel, boomerang, tug rope, holey ball.

We next went outside where I had him work on the foundation for dig.  We lined up at a tree and if he went around it he got the flying squirrel.  He prefers being on my right side so I need to work on getting him comfortable on the left side.  He is starting to catch on.  I had to bump him onto his feet a few times as he was convinced he could stare the toy into his mouth.

We finished with a fun game of fetch.  He took his waiting turn so Diva could also get in on the action.  Overall, it was a good start.  I was pleased with how eager he was.  My goal is to maintain this enthusiasm.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Inner Diva

Ryder has been developing his inner Diva.  When we go out to the farm I've been working on having both dogs off leash.  I don't want to rely on a leash for manners with the dogs.  Ryder has been working and listening off leash for months now.  Twice now.  Two days in a row he's bolted towards the sheep and helped himself. He handily ignored my request to lie down or recall.  After a second or two of stunned, I raced towards the sheep.  My goal was to cut him off at the pass.  I have a buggy whip with a plastic bag on the end.  Both dogs hate it.

Running flat out I raise and rattle the flag, shouting get out, I drive into his path.  The flag slaps on the ground and Ryder stops his runaway.  I won't lie.  It was rather challenging to regain my zen...   Chasing him out of the field I go back to our normal entrance and call him to me.  He does it again!!!! So there I am repeating the process.  And Diva? Diva is waiting patiently at the gate where I left her.  Seriously.

Ryder has just been straight naughty lately.  He's stolen toys off the table (supervised play only).  He's been jumping up on me.  He's been demonstrating poor leash manners.  He's clearly sending me a message.  I'll take him for his yearly and rule out physical problem. Thinking back his bad behaviour didn't begin until he was getting worked regularly.  Is it too much for him?  Too much pressure causing a delayed teenage reaction?

I'm looking into some agility classes for him.  It's not my thing but he has an incredible play drive and maybe a change of pace is just what he needs.  I'll also focus on basic obedience at home.  I've got to admit, I never thought I'd see the day when Diva was the better behaved listener of the two...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Out of Character

Ryder who is normally a pretty steady guy has been acting out of character.  It worries me.  I've discovered that the daily sheep works are working wonders with Diva.  She's steadier and has begun appropriately greeting strange people and dogs with no prompting from me.  Ryder has gone the other way.

My house is located near the mailboxes for the subdivision.  Yesterday while I was working in the yard, Ryder left the yard madly barking at some poor lady who was collecting her mail.  He has never done anything like that before.  He has been really friendly with people so it's quite out of character.

Last night we were walking our subdivision loop.  Ryder reacted so violently at a passing dog that he tore a hunk of skin off my finger.  The leash ripped through my hand and he ran at the other walker and dog.  Thank goodness he just checked out the dog and didn't do anything worse.  I'm a bit puzzled about how he's been reacting to things.

I'm not sure how to deal with it.  I plan to take him to town alone and work with him on his leash manners and socialization.   I am worried about him.  He's normally such a gentle soul it bothers me when he acts poorly.