Here’s the second part of when Quling went to Flush school last year. The first part can be found here.
Quling has been to school again 🙂 Quite a bit of time passed between the first and second time (a month) so I thought we might have to start over from the beginning. But we were able to quickly advance and Quling really showed good skills at stopping at the flush straight off the bat. I was very happy to see that.
I’d also promised Tomas to take the leash off this time… I felt very brave and got rid of the leash straight away after the warm up. The warm up was in the form of some heeling, casting, some marks where I retrieved the dummy myself, and throwing a dummy over his head and in front of him to work on him offering the sit. The warm up went brilliantly today! Everything just worked.
I was stupid and warmed outside the enclosure. When we then entered the enclosure, Quling first really took a fancy to the horse manure in there, but also felt a bit of pressure from the situation. He can get that way when people are watching or if he feels me beginning to focus on something. Elsa and Seeker were with us this time, practicing heeling, and Tomas was watching. I was probably it bit more focused than usual and tensed up, and he’s very quick to notice those things. I was a little annoyed with him over this. Since it hasn’t happened in a long time, I thought we wouldn’t have to go through it again. Naturally, that made it 10 times worse. But I got my act together and worked him and myself away from that feeling and regained our lovely connection. A victory indeed. The video begins with me trying again in the enclosure.
And then the real training session began. We trained for 25 minutes and I have edited the video so that almost all the repetitions are included, but not all the “dead time” between. Keep in mind that we spend a lot of time on Quling being able to just calmly remain in his sit, and all of that is not in the video. Neither is all the times I “let him go” between the repetitions so that he could blow off some steam. “Letting him go” in this situation means that he gets another task where he gets to run a little (casting, marking, etc.).
I’ll show you a really funny video on the concept of timing. In dog training, timing really is half the thing. At the end of the training session, when we wanted to challenge him further, I succeed in giving Quling the cue “run”, which means run at full speed, just when Tomas released the dove. And what can I say? Quling ran. 😉 Both Elsa, Tomas and I laughed a lot at this phenomenal timing. But as Tomas said, he might have run in anyway. It was a challenging situation and a very difficult and teasing pigeon 🙂
This is what it looked like:
I am pleased with how Quling is developing. He’s really beginning to get it; he’s responding the way I want him to.
I have homework for the next time, and I need to get my act together because I spotted this already at our first time in Flush school.
- I have to be cooler when rewarding. You can see how I kind of hurry to reward him and how I make a fast last motion, trying to prevent him from moving or jumping towards the reward. He’s also not very good at keeping still during the reward, which isn’t a surprise since I’ve let him throw himself at the reward in other situations, wanting to encourage his boldness and confidence. However, that’s counterproductive here. And I’m not improving his skills by trying to “cover up” his shortcomings by rewarding quickly before something happens. So, we’ll go back home and practicing him being still during the reward. It’s not difficult, it’s just about being consistent.
- I have to try to stop keeping track of him. Tomas comments on this every time and I KNOW that I do it, and for good reason, believe me. This dog has about two seconds between “hanging around me” to “now I’m a thousand yards away”. He gets himself going hunting and is gone before you know it. He LOVES to run straight ahead, very fast. I really want him to keep track of me and I work on it daily. The most important thing for me is that he doesn’t get to practice running away so that I have to nag him to come back. Maybe I should put a leash on him during our short breaks (preventing him from making a mistake). Otherwise I have to actively train his break behavior in this situation.
25 minutes is a long time when training something difficult that requires a lot of self-control. We know that self-control costs. Actually, half the time had probably been optimal. But. I can only get this training with help and I need to drive to get here, etc. I try to compensate by letting Quling blow off some steam every now and then, giving the both of us some time off. Since we’re making good progress, I think we are on the right side of how challenging the training can be. It should be a bit challenging – but not so difficult that learning stands still or goes backwards.
To be continued! Next time we make it even more difficult. It’ll be fun. 🙂