Keep it fresh…

Those of you who know me from obedience, know Gunner. Those who know Gunner, love him. But, those who know him WELL, know how hard of a dog he is to train, show and live with. Could it be me? Did I cause some of my problems or at least intensify them? Oh, yes, I have no doubt about it. We have started over more often than I would like to admit. But, I guess these problems and figuring how to dig our way out of holes, has allowed me to keep learning new ways to do things.

Background on Gunner for those of you who do not know him…he’s a 7 1/2 year old Springer, who has been showing for over 4 years. He has earned top awards in his breed and many, many High in Trials and High Combined awards. He is also very environmental, has some separation anxiety and has decided that he no longer needs to work very hard in the obedience ring. We have not been showing as much this year with the new puppy in the house, so we have stepped back to work on effort and confidence.

While Gunner has not really had any problems with go-outs (which were originally taught with a platform), they can always be better. After attending a Debbie Quigley seminar, I decided to introduce food pouches to see if they helped with his speed and desire to move away from me. This is the first time Gunner has used his food pouches at the dog club, so I was expecting (and got) some mistakes. The video is a little long, but I think it more important to show his errors and how I handle them, rather than just him running out to get a pouch.

We HAVE had some recent issues with articles…and I’m not sure why. Gunner will occasionally stop in the pile and look at me for several seconds before going back to work. Looking for help or directions? I’m not sure, as I have never talked to him while he was in the pile. So, I’ve thrown in some more distractions and have been asking him to think a little more “outside of the box”. This is NOT proofing for a green dog. And, this is not all new proofing for Gunner either. He struggled today, which I am fine with. I will help him figure it out. One thing you will see, is even with some mild corrections, Gunner is NOT stressed about going to (or working in) the article pile. He is not circling the pile, afraid to make a decision. His head is up and his tail remains wagging. So, despite some issues, it is still a success for me.

Kazee continues his foundation work. I am thrilled with his progress on heeling and his engagement while working. I am going to have to stay on my toes because he’s a little “too” smart, but that is what makes obedience training so much fun. Because I am not sure how he will be trained on his go-outs yet, I have also decided to introduce him to the food pouches. Even if I do not use them for go-outs, I may want to incorporate them somewhere else.

Kazee makes his breed ring debut tomorrow, so wish us luck! Actually, wish ME luck. Kazee knows what he is doing, it is me who needs help!

Until next time…Train hard. Play harder.


5 thoughts on “Keep it fresh…

  1. Roberta (Lewis) Stanford

    Lovely to watch Shannon. Have only recently started with Torrie on foundation. She is happy working which is great. Good luck with Kazee’s debut


  2. Hi, I’m from England and NZ, Sendaways are done by our dogs from Test B onwards and in Working Trials UD. Am fascinated by the thought of it being taught to a platform, had never thought about that at all, nor has it ever been mentioned in those two countries as far as I am aware. However, recently when teaching my son’s Golden retriever to do sendaway to a mat, I put it up on the step at the end of the deck. There was an immediate uptake by the dog that he had to go up on the step to then turn and lie on the mat. In fact it was the quickest learning curve in the sendaway area (apart from my wonder dog Gael back 25 years ago) that I have seen. I also used the step for the Drop on Recall, by placing the mat at the edge of the other step – down to the garden. This too was quickly understood by a dog that has not gone through formal training beforehand. I note your undercover facilities, custom made – this is so helpful, but found here very rarely. Most of us train on walks around parks and beaches, and go to Club for ring work. Only rarely is there an indoor area – we are lucky in Auckland to have the Ardmore complex. Some Wellington clubs use Porirua, north of the city, Most clubs train outside winter and summer.


    1. I train in parks and fields a lot, just not in the Florida summers! Even now at 7am, it’s 80 degrees, but 90% humidity. Ours show rings are very different than what you have over there and do not require as much space (our largest ring is 40′ x 50′), so the majority of our trials are held indoors. Most clubs have their own buildings and, fortunately, there are two clubs within a reasonable driving distance from me.

      I’m not sure if I will be using a platform with my new dog, as every dog is a little different. Right now, he loves working with his small target, so we will play around with that for awhile. But, the best part of training is trying to figure out what your dog enjoys most, so the more methods you have in your tool bag, the better!


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