2-Minute Dog Trainer – Tempest prepares for rally-o

Tempest has been doing tiny heeling patterns for breakfast and dinner.

In addition, he goes with me to the training building once or twice a day for agility training or just play. We’re working on training “in drive,” encouraging him to be excited and vigorous in his tugging after an accurate agility performance.

Having trained 4-5 dogs who weren’t overly drive-y, most of the training “in drive” is for my benefit. I have to learn to recognize new criteria and reward them in a timely manner with the lungewhip toy or the tug toy.

Tempest turned 5 months old today, August 13, 2010. In about 5 weeks I’m entering him in a rally-o trial (novice B of course). It’s all on-lead, and my expectation is for a happy puppy at the end of our run.

The skills he’s going to need are:  1) Let’s Go!,  2) heeling,  3) come front,  4) finish right / foward right,  5) finish left / forward left,  6) right turns,  7) left turns,  8) automatic sits,  9) down,  10) stand,  11) stay for walk around a sit,  12) stay for walk around a down.

He doesn’t have to be conditioned to respond to verbals only, or to signals only. He’s just going to dance around with me for a few minutes.

There’s probably more, and I need to review the novice signs. There’s no reason a puppy can’t do the excellent signs, and work off lead, so he’ll probably do a lot of that as well.

Bud and Kory are at their third weekend in a row for novice agility trialing. I have to keep reminding myself that Tempest has an entire YEAR to train before I can start entering him in agility trials.

I’m so excited about his training that I am tempted to rush things. Fortunately, I know better, and I’ll have Bud here to tell me to ease off.  And those long winter days will be here before you know it, trial weekends will become few and far between, and I’ll get to start running him in class.

By the first of September I’d like him to be able to do 5-6 signs in a row.  With no treats on me. Hmmmm …. I may try some toy or play training with him for rally.

Unlike tradition obedience, rally has no place for the handler and dog to break off and play. So I don’t want to fall into the habit of carrying treats or toys, but I’ll break off after the LAST sign on the course, run off and play with his toy.

The trick with Tempest, I believe, is to start with tiny courses — run off and play.   Then add a sign and go 10 seconds longer — run off and play.  Add another sign and another 10 seconds — run off and play.  Etc.

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