2-minute dog trainer, Tempest at 4.5 months

I’ve initiated “self-control” training with Tempest. He’s too young for prolonged self-control exercises, but his upbringing makes self-control a fundamental part of our relationship.

Since I got him at 8 weeks we’ve enforced:

1) sit to get out of your crate

2) sit for attention

3) random lie-downs while playing with his toy

4) 2-on-2-off on his contact trainer — holding that position while he eats and, most recently, after he’s done eating he has to hold until he gets his release word

5) formal sit/stays and down/stays

6) settling while I trim toenails, do basic grooming

This morning I stepped up Tempest’s stay training. With his breakfast in a bowl in one hand, and his clicker in the other hand, I cued a sit, stepped away, clicked, stepped back, and fed part of his breakfast.

I did this 2-3 times, moving closer and closer to the contact trainer.

On the last sit-stay, I set Tempest in front of his contact trainer, cued “stay” and stepped away from him, walking nearly half-way down the contact trainer, click-return-feed.

On the last exercise, I set Tempest in front of his contact trainer, cued “stay” and stepped away, walked partway down the contact trainer, then cued “walk-it,” and fed him when he hit his 2-on-2-off.

In addition to a brief sit-stay prior to performing his contact trainer, I’m initiating TWO bits of handling in conjunction with his down-contact.

FIRST, now that he’s getting the performance I want, I’m naming it “LIE DOWN.”  I’m saying LIE DOWN in a quiet, authoritative tone, not shouting.

Like Bud’s Kory, I want LIE DOWN to signify “look me in the eye, pay attention, get in the position you know is right, and settle in for a second or two.”

It’s nice to have the same conditioned responses to the same conditioned cues as Bud has for Kory. That way we can run each other’s dogs without being totally confusing to them.

SECOND, now that he’s got a performance and learning the cue to hit that position on his contacts, I must install a release word, or “OKAY.”

OKAY becomes the release word from all stays, including staying in his 2-on-2-off contact position.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, what with Bud’s work-study camp and tons of projects and preparation for my 2 days in Medina (for obed and rally).

We’ve also had excessive heat, in the mid-to-upper 90s, making trips to the training building uncomfortable.

So I’m delighted we still have our 2-3 minutes a day while Tempest is gobbling down his breakfast and dinner. This training is designed for folks who don’t have tons of time to train, or have limited access to equipment.

While I was on the road I didn’t have much room for training, but Tempest did a brief sit-stay for breakfast and supper. Also, first thing Sunday, while the rally building was empty, Tempest and I did some heeling training on lead.

I’m really impressed with Tempest’s capacity to focus in the presence of distraction. He heeled twice around the outside of the rally ring (about 50×40). He loves string cheese, and was incredibly interested in getting a little morning snack.

The stressful elements of the building, the things that worried Dash, received no attention from Tempest.  I’d call Tempest “brave,” but he’s really not being brave because he’s not overcoming concern — he’s just not concerned —  he’s simply focused on the work and blocking out the rest.

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