Goal Reviews Jan-June

I thought it would be interesting to go through all my monthly training goals for the past 6 months and see which ones we made long term progress on and which ones we just passed by!  Numbered starting from January goals to current.

1. Finishes- Always a work in progress.  We have progressed so Vito usually doesn't step on my foot anymore and Lance isn't quite as forged on the left finish.  I am pretty good about practicing this several times a week.

2.  Random Stays- To help with Lance working through stress on his group stays I thought I would start doing completely random stays around the house.  For about a month I was good at having him do a stay while I was taking a shower, watching tv, etc.  Not sure if it helped at all or not.  He was definently stressed and I don't think I worked on them long enough to get past that.  He rarely broke though.

3. Go Outs-  I started over with Lance and switched from a nose target on the floor to a paw touch on the wall.  I am VERY happy with the results!!!  I'm still working on initial distance but so far Lance can do his first one from 1/2 a ring and easily do entire ring distance if back chained. It's fast and he has a nice sit after his touch.  I've practiced to a ton of different surfaces and Lance is doing awesome!!  Vito hasn't had nearly as much practice but is currently starting out 1/4 of the ring and we have also been doing a lot of different surfaces.  Right now both dogs are working on a better mark and we are practicing with a target on the floor.  I want them to continue looking at the target even when I stand up.  I soon hope to put this in sequence with their go out practice.

4. Side- I wanted both dogs to learn how to heel on my right, including pivoting.  I haven't worked on this in a couple months but when I left off both dog can pivot nicely and overall have a nice close position.  Lance has a better understanding then Vito.

5. Scent Articles- Wow, I really stepped up my game and started to work on this!  I still hate training it but I am getting much better at doing the work.  Lance has progressed from just 3 metal articles to now mostly working a full pile.  He isn't fully confident yet, but after the first send he is much more excited and willing.  There is just something about that first one he does where he is a bit uncertain that I want him to bring back the article.  I am just starting to add in some of the formal components to it.  We had a 2 month break because of his cracked tooth but hope to jump back in quickly.  Vito started with no experience and now he too does a full pile.  He still tends to randomly guess at times though.

6.  Disc- Vito went from having zero interest in the frisbee and only wanting his tennis balls to now doing lots of screaming and constantly demanding me to play some disc.  I have learned to throw a decent basic backhand and Vito catches really well.  He can also flip pretty well to his left, kind've to his right, and we are starting to learn vaulting and overs of my leg.  He is also working with 2 discs now and is doing a decent job of switching back and forth.  I try and get out to practice several times a week.

7.  Freestyle Routine- Well Lance does have a song and 1/2 of a routine.  I have only practiced his routine a handful of times but we do work on the components in the routine more often.  I still really want to get on this but I feel like I have no clue what I am doing.  I just really need somebody to give me guidance and push me.  Vito has a song, I think, but no routine.  I actually am not focusing at all on him right now with freestyle.  We might do it in the future but ever since I started disc with him it's taking priority.  We will likely do freestyle disc before freestyle obedience.

Tricks:
1. Touch vs Whack It-  A discrimination test to see if the dogs could learn to interact with an object with just their nose or just a paw.  Results were mixed.  I spent quite awhile on this (a whole month, a long time for me and trick!) and they did successfully get the challenge to about 90% accuracy.  But now they have no clue and randomly guess again.  They can easily get it if I ask for repeated touches or repeated whacks but they can't get it on the first try anymore.

2. Praying-  I haven't done anything with this since January.  But the dogs do seem to have a decent understanding of the trick and need only a little help to get it started.

3. Retrieving a hot dog- nope.  Did a few lessons in January and ended with them doing brief holds of a frozen dog.

4. Cross and Pose of front legs- Vito is much better about holding the position for a tiny bit and not moving his other foot.  However he still needs a very obvious lure (without a treat in my hand) and I need to be sitting on the floor.  Lance progressed to doing pose at quite a distance and sometimes cross at a distance.

5. Limping- I totally spent more time with this trick!  Lance could already do his front left but now he can limp on his front right for a few steps.  Still needs work, but we're mainly there.  Vito can also limp on his front right paw now but only with me standing in front walking backwards.

6. Hugging a toy- Nope.  Totally gave up on this.  I still want to do it though.

7. Circle Another- As a Go Click Challenge I worked on the dogs doing "outs" and figure 8's using each other as posts.  Haven't done it since, but it was a fun couple of days.

8. Crawl- Another Go Click Challenge and one that I occasionally still practice.  Lance is actually getting a decent crawl now and I really want to include it in our freestyle routine.  His backwards crawling is especially good!  Vito is awesome at crawling but still needs more distance work on his moonwalk.

9.  Back onto Object- A Go Click that I haven't done in a long time.  Vito did get much better at his handstand and was starting to do it with a wall behind him.  He definitely understands the concept so it's just a matter of getting some strength and balance work.  Lance just had a couple of sessions of backing onto a box for fun :)

10. Sticky Target- A Go Click that I wanted to turn into a nose bridge for obedience.  I never did finish up and do so, but the dogs do have a really good constant touch where they leave their nose on the target.  I haven't asked for it in a long time but Lance occasionally offers it when I'm working on something else.  I think both dogs really enjoyed this challenge.

11.  2 paws vs 4 paws- A Go Click discrimination challenge where I worked on their 2o2o position for agility, "feet," vs standing on an object, "on it."  I hadn't taught a 4 paw cue before this challenge but I say my dogs kind've know it now. 

12. Penguin- Vito learning to move forward in a "beg" position.  I occasionally practice this one and he is getting a bit better.  But I actually have more so been practicing Lance learning to move backwards in his beg!  Lance is naturally pretty good at it it's been helping my motivation a lot!

Thoughts
Wow, I guess this list really shows me where my priorities lie!  12 Tricks and only 7 "non tricks" with 2 of those being sport goals.  I am sure there are many other tricks that I've started this year and haven't spent more then a week on.  Actually this month alone I've started 2 new tricks, but I'm not sharing until the July wrap up :)

For those of you wondering how much I train, the answer is that I really don't.  I do try and train one session every day, always with their dinner.  Each session is between 2-15minutes long per dog and I probably end up doing it 4 times a week.  With Chuck here now I am really trying hard to force myself to do it everyday so I likely hit 6-7 times a week now with Lance and Vito.  

Crystal  – ( July 11, 2010 at 9:30 AM )  

I am so glad you added that last paragraph- I really don't train that much either. We do work on our daily walks (it's AMAZING how much you can do during a walk), but other than that... not much. I was feeling guilty as I read your post, but now, not so much!

Lauren  – ( July 11, 2010 at 5:25 PM )  

I need to become a more effective trainer. I train Frodo into usually four or more very very short sessions a day and our results seem dismal compared to yours!

Lindsay  – ( July 11, 2010 at 5:36 PM )  

LOL....I have to agree with Crystal! I was really starting to feel like a slacker. I was working on the whole training five times a day thing and that was going pretty well, but I've definitely fallen off th wagon and was starting to feel bad about it. I feel a whole lot better now!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( July 11, 2010 at 6:02 PM )  

geez guys I think I am the one who should feel hurt now! Glad I can make you feel better about yourselves! But yes I am a lazy trainer :)

And Lauren, this was 6 months of work and as you can see I really didn't stick to a whole lot of my goals. It helps that my dogs are clicker savy and into offering behaviors, I think that's why I do so many more tricks as they become easy to get started! The hard part is actually finishing them up and getting a verbal cue, which is why I didn't do much of that ;)

Crystal  – ( July 12, 2010 at 9:30 AM )  

Nah, Laura. The fact that you can be so "lazy" and still accomplish so much is a testament to your training skills.

Although, I totally agree that starting behaviors is easier/more fun than finishing them.

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