Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kastle Bites the Pillow

At training today, Kastle was upgraded to a bite pillow instead of a rag. He did really well and I love his big boy bark in such a cute, little, fluffy body! :-D

Opinion from Sean, the helper, is that he is perfectly balanced and showing both prey and defense easily switching back and forth between them. He thinks he will turn out into a very well-rounded dog!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Training Checklist

Things I want to work on in the next few weeks/months:
  • Tracking in a straight line and starting to spread footsteps out
  • Sit with duration
  • Down with duration
  • Use of verbal commands only for things he knows (Right Finish)
  • Left flip finish
  • Send out to a target with hand motion and a calm wait beforehand
  • Backing up

Thursday, August 25, 2011

STAR Puppy Class #3

Class tonight had a lot of new behaviors introduced. We left our dogs tied to the wall to start to work on being left, only returning when they quiet/calm. Lots of eye contact/focus work, with distractions. We started working on positioning, heeling and leash pressure. We also had friendly "strangers" (the other handlers in class) go up to our dogs while we were away to meet them. They had to stay down (not jumping) and be calm (relatively). Kastle was perfect, he was sweet and friendly but not too interested and kept an eye out for where I was.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Brenda Aloff Appointment

Kastle met Brenda Aloff for the first time tonight. She is a trainer/behaviorist that I've been going to for quite some time now and someone I also consider a good friend. I don't know what I would've done without her in the last couple of years.

Her opinion of Kastle was quite good I think. He is exactly what a good German Shepherd puppy should be like. He's brave, he's confident, social/friendly and overall a really nice puppy. He's got a bit of a temper, is a demanding and is extremely bright. He's doing and will continue to do his best to train me, instead of vice versa.

We worked on a number of different things. I came to the appointment and asked for a general temperament evaluation on Kastle along with some basics we could work on and some bonding stuff. She gave me quite a list of tasks to work on!

  • Restrained Sits: I sit positioned around Kastle and cradle his chin in my hand. He is supposed to relax and actually put some weight into the palm of my hand. He's quite comfortable doing this with me already as it is sort of a morning routine between us. He was a little bit more stiff with Brenda but most would not have detected it.
  • Demand Barking in Crate: I've let him get away with this for quite some time. Brenda said it's been long enough and I need to start laying down the law. We are quiet in our crates or else!
  • Demanding Barking/Jumping in General: Kastle will get really wound up for food/treats and will jump up and bite at my treat bag or shirt. He will also sit and bark rhythmically for an extended amount of time. Instead of pushing him down or turning my back on him, I will now be moving into him. It works really well!
  • Restrained Down: Getting him really excited by running around with me and then turning and quickly asking for a down while guiding him to same with collar. This ties a form of compulsion with positive reinforcement. If he does not down on the verbal, I help him into position. 
  • Testing Commitment of Placement: In either the sit or down position, putting food in his vision and not rewarding unless he is very committed to his position, aka does not move, and ideally, offers eye contact.
  • Be Calm (Down): I have a lot of experience with this move and yet I've been extremely lax in making sure I do it with Kastle at a young age. I need to do it quite a bit and in various locations/atmospheres. It is just laying him down on his side and not letting him up until he is laying relaxed, calm and quiet. It teaches him that I am a safe place to be. That he can relax and be calm and nothing will happen there. A wonderful tool for any dog/owner to have!
  • IMPULSE CONTROL: This puppy needs LOTS of practice on this! We are doing it in various ways. When he's in the sit, and offering eye contact, I start to move the treat in my hand towards his head. He only gets it when he continues to give eye contact, even when I lightly touch his face with the treat. With the down, I just hold it out of his reach but clearly visible, same concept though. We're also going to start testing with Jason being highly distracting with toys, ropes, balls and eventually, the other dogs. I will use this basis to start teaching "mine" and "leave it". 
  • Treat Delivery: I need to start treating him on my body instead of reaching my arm out to him.
The appointment was awesome, as usual and gave me lots of things to work on and look forward to until the next time :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tracking in a Straight Line

Kastle is learning to track in a straight line now instead of only scent pads. He did really well!

With his Sister and his Mom

I think Kastle has really started to grasp that he's mine :-)
With my team of shorties.

A Fast Little Biter

Kastle loves to run! And now he's fast!
Jason now has absolutely no chance to outrun him...
...and is often "caught"...
It took some convincing before he would relinquish his "catch".

The Basjes Huis Brothers (Kastle at 13.5 weeks)

Kastle is due to get his little sable butt kicked by Ike really soon. He is just constantly being annoying. Ike is very tolerant though :-)
 Sometimes Ike does "get" him...even when it's on accident haha.
This photo pretty much explains what drives the boys right now. Ike is driven by the ball, Kastle is driven by the chase!
Loaded up for the drive home.