fjoiris (fjoiris) wrote,

Training Boing! and more MACH stuff

While the basic concepts of training remain constant from dog to dog, in my experience a good training plan has also to take into consideration the individual dog's strengths and weaknesses as well as the breed's characteristics.  While it's obviously never too late to fix mistakes, creating a training plan for a dog before starting training can help avoid mistakes in the first place.  I gave a lot of thought, before starting to train Boing! to where we were most likely to have problems.  In my experience Whippets can suffer a bit from the 'good dog' syndrome.  (disclaimer: of course there are exceptions to every rule!)  It's really easy to teach a Whippet to be well behaved, and I think that might be why one occasionally sees slow-ish Whippets in agility.  Unlike some dogs who can take constant reminders not to go wild and act like heathens, Whippets seem to take the lesson to heart too quickly and once they've been convinced not to go wild, it's hard to convince them that sometimes wild is apropriate.  To that end, Boing!'s training started by encouraging her to go wild and control was added in small bits as she matured.  I've written before about teaching her to tug on a toy.  She loves playing with toys, but hard tugging was not something she took to right away.  Now, at eleven months, after working on it for a while, I think I can say that she's become a wild tugger.  Since she loves treats, I probably could have gotten by in training without toy drive, but I don't think it would get quite the same intensity that I do with toys.  Here's some footage of her tugging on a toy while I kiss her nose:

Boing! doesn't really have a notion that she's being trained.  We play a lot, and those games often involve fun stuff like jumping and chasing and following.  Like Stamp and Fleet, she has learned that spending time playing games with me is a special opportunity and she really apreciates it.  Here's a long video of a typical play session with Boing! which incorporates some agility as well as a good bit of wildness:

Here's Boing! retrieving her toy across a dogwalk and bringing it back to me for a tug:

We took all the dogs to St. Hubert's for some outdoor work now that it's not so hot.  She's never done any training there so I wasn't sure what to expect, but despite another dog being there at the same time as us, and all the distractions of being in a new outdoor place, her focus was good:

I think Boing! will be a lot of fun to trial when she grows up.  She really has learned to love whatever game we're playing.

I took this picture of Stamp on the Dogwalk at St. Hubert's.  I love his smile:

Here's a little collage my mom made to commemorate Stamp's MACH:

Stamp got a very cool private portable swimming pool for finishing his MACH.  It's sold at the Clean Run store and it's terrific.  Here's a picture of him in it with just a little water.  He was using the plastic cup as a water toy:

The cake we had at the trial last weekend:

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