2-minute dog-trainer, Tempest at 5 months

Tempest turns 5 months old in about 5 days.

In addition to being a treasured pet he’s going to be a bit of a “business partner” for Bud and I.

When you offer dog-training classes, whether obedience or agility, your reputation and credibility rest on the shoulders of your canine partner.

As we say here at Houston’s Country Dream — your dog’s behavior is a perfect mirror of your training skills and dedication. (Of course, temperament and personality play a big role in behavior as well.)

It’s important to me that Tempest is confident. It’s important to me that he behaves in a manner that indicates he’s been properly conditioned to perform the behaviors required.

Beyond that, I want him to be a happy member of my pack, and a loving /lovable pet.

For 2010 my goals for Tempest included:

1) basic obedience completed, with systems put in place to ensure continued good behavior.

2) beginner agility begun with Tempest offering confident performances on baby equipment, and responding with excitement to my movement.

3) advanced obedience begun, using my version of Dawn Jecs’ “choose to heel.” My firm goal is to enter an obedience trial with Tempest in about 5 weeks. He’ll be entered in Rally-Novice and maybe Beginner Novice obedience.

Last week I began some short heeling sequences prior to giving Tempest his breakfast and supper.

Rather than feeding with every step, I’m asking Tempest to heel for about 15 seconds — toward his meal — with no food in my hands.

Additionally, Tempest did obedience class last evening for about 90 minutes. He didn’t work that whole time, of course, but he had several training sessions, including:

1) heeling “rally style,” with halts, sits, downs, walk-around-your-dog, call front, etc. called out by me or by my students.

2) call front exercise, working at getting Tempest to focus on sitting straight rather than focusing on the potential food in my hands.

3) recall exercise, with Tempest staying while I walk 20-feet away, and call him to me.

4) right and left turns, where Tempest is starting to get the idea that he should stop moving forward and — indeed! — move backward when I say “back” and step into his path. He much prefers right turns and forging. (Better than lagging, IMO.)

5) introduced to cone exercises, first doing rally-in-a-box where we tighten up all the exercises by specifying they be performed in a 4×4 square, and finally by setting out the serpentine exercises and working him through the “serpentine, weave twice” sign.

ALL THIS, most astoundingly, without food in my hands. The food was nearby, but my hands were empty.

I’d really like for Tempest to have the skill to stay focused in the ring, regardless of how often the reward comes.

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One Response to “2-minute dog-trainer, Tempest at 5 months”

  1. Linda Says:

    Marsha, thanks for sharing your training of Tempest. My 2 1/2 yr old terrier and I always need the benefits of training tips from experienced trainers like you and Bud. They help me keep my little guy on track to being a well-behaved dog, in and out of the agility ring.

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