Friday, January 11, 2013

25 Weeks - Training

It was especially cold this week (not for Canadians, but for southerners) so we did a lot of training indoors.  Five months has been a really fun age.  Maddie really enjoys training and working with me.  It is fun to see her figure things out.  Her food motivation has grown as well and she is less polite and pushier now which I like.

I have started introducing Maddie to some of the advanced obedience exercises.  With such an awesome sit, I hope to compete Maddie through Utility level (highest level) obedience.  Two very difficult Utility exercises are the the "go outs" and scent articles. "Go outs" are actually a piece of an exercise called directed jumping. The dog is sent to the other side of the ring and has to turn around and sit and then you send the dog over a jump on your left or right.  So I have started Maddie on "go outs".
I have also started her on some scent work.  This is called a Scent-A-Whirl.  I learned about it at an obedience seminar for puppies.  You start with toys.  You and the puppy play with a toy, then you place the toy in one of the containers, and give it a whirl.  The puppy then uses her nose to find the toy.  Eventually you add lids and switch to metal and leather articles.  What really intrigued me about this idea is that it removes the visual cue. When I taught Katie scent articles, I initially put her in a down stay and blind folded her.  I would hold up the right article and when I saw her nostrils flicker, I would mark and reward. Then I would hold up a wrong article and give a gentle non-reward mark. It worked, but I like the looks of this game better.
I have also started Maddie on dumbbell retrieves.  At this stage, I just want her to take the dumbbell.  I will want to quickly move to holding the dumbbell so you see me put my other hand under her chin which will help me insist that she hold the dumbbell in the near future.
Lastly, we did some rear end awareness with the balance disc.  Later on agility contact obstacles, I will want her to do two feet on and two feet off.  It is one way to ensure the dog moves through the contact zone.  So we practice a little of that on the balance disc.  I also work on her finding and placing her rear feet on things. 
Maddie ended the week at 44.5 pounds.  She has lingered at that weight for about two weeks now.  I hope that means her growth is slowing down.  I cannot believe she is almost the size of Seven and Riley at nearly 6 months.
Although keep in mind that Riley and Seven are tiny greyhounds at only 50 pounds each.  Maddie has always been destined to be bigger than both of them.... most greyhounds are.
Who stole my tiny puppy?
11 Weeks