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 .....

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