Monday, 12 September 2011


Been really pleased with Chester over the past week and today he didn't let me down :)

Took a 1lb dummy out on our walk aiming to do a few retrieves, maybe some hunting as the wind was so strong.

I really pushed him on his 'back' command. This is blind, he hasn't seen me place the dummy. In hindsight, it's a little too far for him and that's why he's not running straight out. I need to cut back to the distance a bit. I am also far from him. There's a strong headwind coming from my right to left.

This is a memory, he's seen me place the dummy then we both walked back to position before he was sent. Really trying to get the present. Still takes a lot of 'HOLD' but it's looking much better. He's a bit speedy and still hasn't learnt to slow down and present in front of me. We'll fix that :) This is a massive achievement from a dog who ran around in circles with the dummy once he returned to me, to one who dropped it 2ft away and now this. Still a work in progress.

Really pleased with those and we finished on a high!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Running Out and Back Command

Had a great session with trainer this week. Hadn't had a 1:1 for a while so thought it might all be a bit of a disaster but we've been good at keeping up the training ourselves and it's paid off.

I mentioned I'd been working on the 'back' command. Usually walking in a line with Chester in front of me, dropping the dummy when he wasn't looking. Putting in a stop then walking past him and giving him the 'back' command to run back for the dummy. He's probably only doing 5-10 paces in a straight line then goes into hunting if he doesn't spot the dummy so I'll have to build this up.

We started on trying to get Chester to run out in a straight line on command. Something he isn't particularly good at as he stays close to me rather than running away. We'd set up 3 sets of markers with dummies next to them and had to aim for each one in turn. The running out didn't go brilliantly but I found I could use the 'back' command to push him back until he spotted the dummy. Not exactly the aim of the exercise but still building up his confidence to run away from me and know there will be something there for him to find.
Changing the exercise slightly, I walked him out placed dummy, walked back and sent him for it. Easy! Next the trainer walked out, pretended to place dummy and then again I could send him out. Once he was in the spot I asked him to hunt for a few minutes then threw the dummy into the search area so he could find and retrieve. Our aim is to be able to stand at one end of the field, issue the 'away' command and Chester runs to the other end until I give him another command, stop, change direction etc.

Next exercise - hunting. Trainer wanted us to hunt all the way up the field and back down again before any reward. Making sure the area was covered, clear hand signals from me and walking in as straighter line as possible. First sweep, not bad. I tend to walk out in each direction to aid him and my hand signals are a bit unclear. Found it a bit tricky to keep Chester at a consistent pace and his enthusiasm up.
Second sweep, much better signals from me and less walking left to right but Chester missed a big section at the beginning. Finally got to the end where there was a dummy - think Chester was relieved! Really need to work on the hunting, making it as consistent as possible and keeping his momentum up until I say otherwise.

Trainer suggested introducing the hunt whistle with the aim that I could eventually send Chester out until he got to the spot I wanted then get him to hunt. We both agreed it is a little more sophisticated than my current method of shouting 'whereiiiiiissssittttttt'!!

Even after a demonstration I don't really get how to make the sound I need from the whistle and Chester ends up stopping or coming back to me on a recall. More practice needed by me!

Looking forward to moving up to the next group at group training on a Sunday. A few more months maybe .....