2-minute dog trainer, the end of puppy-hood

Tempest turns eleven months old February 13th. He really doesn’t act much like a puppy, and my training needs to begin reflecting his increased capacity for prolonged work.

I’ve begun taking him to classes and, when the advanced students work a 9-10-obstacle sequence, Tempest and I work a 2-3-obstacle portion of that sequence.

Tempest is drawn off his line, the line I’m defining for him, by the placement of tunnels. He doesn’t actually love tunnels but they hold a magnetic fascination for him.

So, if my path goes straight north with him on my right, and there’s a tunnel to the west, he’ll be drawn northwest. He’ll pass right behind me — looking straight at me the whole time, mind you — as if he thinks this is the right thing to do.

So I’ve implemented a few tiny exercises to help him learn to maintain that line. 

First, I practice a lead-out, calling him over a jump and straight to my hand for a treat. (The treat will eventually become the toss of the frisbee.)  Tempest has trouble coming straight to my hand even if I’m 5-6 feet away from him.

Second, I practice “sends” to jumps ahead of us, and run behind him to deliver the treat. (Again, the treat will eventually become the toss of the frisbee.)  Tempest is having much more luck understanding the send.

Third, I practice little “pre-cue” sends to jumps. My back is to the jump, I’m facing Tempest, I send him to the jump behind me and have him wrap the upright and come to my hand. Much to my surprise, he started getting the idea of this exercise immediately.

I’m going to continue working on jump sequences with him. This is his weakness and we’ll train to it.

In the meantime, he’s a lovely boy in the house, has really nice manners, torments Kory relentlessly (paybacks are a bitch — sorry, Kory), and is my shadow always.

Bud and I are busy doing the work of TDAA and gradually implementing changes. Our monumental task looming ahead is database management.

TDAA exhibitors, trial hosts, judges, and advisors are almost without exception a lovely group of people. Of course, there are those rare exceptions, and I try to not take personally the psychological assaults inflicted by one or two haters. Life must be rough when you have “be rude and insulting” as your personal goals. I try to not make their lives more of a grind.

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