We still do lots of heel work, stop, recall etc and that's still brilliant. We can heel off lead past most dogs now as long as they aren't too tempting! I did have to laugh when I was walking Chester past a dog in this way and a man with a little dog asks if he was friendly. He should have been more concerned and the fact his little dog was growling at Chester. Chester was more concerned and staying close to me in case there was a chance I might throw a ball for a reward!
Times like this don't make me worry so much about not having him castrated. He's well trained enough not to go running after the best looking female or standing up to the biggest male in the field! It is such a rare occurrence I can easily divert him onto something more interesting like hunting or retrieving and I'm knowledgeable enough to know when I need to stick him on a lead. It's mostly other people's dogs I need to worry about!
Had a couple of lovely moments over the past few weeks - one where Chester was skipping/looking like he might dive towards and elderly couple with a dog off lead. I put in the stop whistle and he did an instant sit/stop and just waited until I went up to him. The couple were very impressed! His stop is always good but I think it's good to challenge it when he's right on the edge of sprinting off or sniffing out the nearest rabbit. I think he's almost out of the puppy phase now and can learn to ignore people, joggers, cyclists, other dogs without me having to worry. I like the adult Chester :) On our runs in the morning he is mostly on lead as we're running on the roads but along the canal I can take him off, put in a heel command and he just free runs next to me. It's a nice feeling.
While walking I'm always directing him off to search in specific areas or into cover/woodland. I'm not sure exactly how I'll use this but sure it'll become useful somewhere along the line. I also put in a stop when he is ahead of me then send him to the left or right to start searching (he'll go straight out for a retrieve). Usually this result in him running slightly towards me and then out but the other day he went straight out at a right angle and started hunting. YEY well done Chester!
Retrieving is going well also. Lots of nice deliveries to hand when we're out. Been continuing the hold practice in the garden and can get a lovely sit/hold while I walk around the garden and then walk back towards him. Hoping I can build this into a present.
Looking forward to group training on Sunday. Trying to persuade trainer to get a rabbit pen so we can practice jumping :)
Also been having some fun at the river on the hot days. In this video - Chester knows the ball has gone over the other side of the river but hasn't seen where it is so a bit of hunting a he finally spots it (then appears to fall over?!)