Saturday, November 12, 2011


This week's CCI lesson was demo'd on Haddie. Why? Because once again I had a question about Haddie's independent phase. My question: "Haddie is winning the Keep Away game. How? Because she has no interest in coming to me no matter what high value treat is presented." 

I know that we are not to chase, step towards, or grab the pup when they have something in their mouth that the Raiser wants. We are to coax them to come to us; ya' know in that excited high pitched voice that will surely call any pup in town.

Not Haddie. If she finds something on her own - she feels she owns it. If I initiate a toy game where I want her to Drop so I can toss it again - she's all for it, and will follow the rules.

The trainer got her box of Fetch goodies, her long line, and hooked up Haddie. She explained first the goal. That we want the Pup to pick items up off the floor (not a table or counter), and we want them to come to us with the item (or solo - if they drop the item but still come to you, that is still considered success).

Advanced Training works on the commands of Get and Give, and because these two commands are so important, they encourage Puppy Raisers to not mess with the Commands (in fear of poor training). Advanced Trainers do not want to break bad habits and then retrain. So, if we just train the Pup to pick up a variety of things, with out running the opposite direction of the Raiser, then we are set for goodness.

Our Trainer started with Haddie ~ and it was not very long into her example when she turned to me and said, "Yes, great question. No doubt Haddie needs to work on this one!" Even though our pup was being naughty, it made me happy that I was tuned in enough to Haddie's weakness and ask for help before she got much older.
Homework: find a variety of textures and shapes for Haddie to Fetch. Obviously, make it fun and exciting for Haddie. Nothing is off limits for her to pick up from the floor - with training she will learn to come see me when she has it in her mouth.

With a long leash we will close out all distractions of the world by playing this game in a hallway. The trainer will block the entrance to the hallway, so the pup does not pass and move into the rest of the house.

The Trainer, with an excited voice, will throw the item and encourage the pup to Fetch. Once the pup has the item, the Trainer will back up and use an excited voice (very important, you don't want to move toward the dog - hence Keep Away begins) to encourage a chase of you.  You moving backwards while looking at the pup the entire time makes the pup move towards you.

Ideally you are working toward the pup dropping the prized item in your hand. But to start, you grab the toy (not the dog!) and praise the puppy before the jaw unlocks to release the toy.

If, as in Haddie's case, she stops short of running towards you - you can pop the leash quickly with a Don't, but you do not pull the dog in like reeling in a fish. You encourage the dog to keep moving towards you. The leash is there for the beginning phase of training where the dog might not come towards you.

Once Haddie has the hallway Fetch game secure, we can move to working on the long leash in the backyard with more distraction. Eventually, the Fetch game will be played with out a leash. And weaved into the day - so if my pen drops on the ground, Haddie can grab it and come to me. Cool.

Yes, Haddie was corrected a few times by the Trainer. Stinker. But by the end of class (not only was she exhausted) but she figured out the game of Fetch. She has been practicing at home to secure it in her sweet noggin (future post on progress).

By teaching Fetch, the idea will be that there will no longer be Contraband in the house. The dog is free to pick up anything - so long as it comes to you. This does not mean fallen crumbs on the floor or licking the floor. It is really just everyday items.

If the pup was raised with items being off limits, then in Advanced Training the pup will most likely not want to pick up those items during the learning of how to Get and Give. It will remember, "Hey, I was scolded for doing that, why would I want to pick that up?"

I love our training sessions. We learn so much - I think step-by-step Team Haddie is learning the ropes.

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