Hi there Priscilla!
Thank you for patiently waiting for me to get the time to get you some information to relay to in terms of cooperatively working with Sterling to meet our goals that we have with him. Below I have laid out what achievements I feel as though we can achieve for May.
- Complete Sterlings Beginner Novice Title-
We are one leg away from finishing Sterlings BN. For this being Sterling's first show I am happy with how he competed. Yes there are some skills that could be cleaned up (recall to front, sit for exam and figure eight), however for his age and only having approx. 2 months of training with two different handlers, I am happy with how he did. There is no other way to mimic a dog show, except being at a dog show. With that being said, the more shows and exposure he gets, the more used to competing he gets and the less anxious/excitable/nervous he will become!
In order to reach this goal I would like to clean up the following things before the show. Now Sterling is a little different than all of my other clients because he does go home with you so often so he has to adapt to our naturally different training styles, voices, environments, etc. I love your enthusiasm about wanting to be a large part of his training, please just realize that the way we are doing things, it will naturally take a longer time than some of my other clients that are here full time! No worries at all, I just want to be up front and honest with you! The things that we will have to cooperatively work together on are his sitting when stopped (an issue you said you were having with him), figure eight, sitting politely for petting and recall.
Here is a video that mimics how I typically will begin to train dogs with following the left leg and learning turns. She does a great job explaining how important synchronized steps are. Good information, notice how pops the leash to get her dogs attention or to help her dog get back on track.
- Sit when stopped - Here is the reason why I believe you are having so much issue with Sterling sitting when stopped is because I do not believe you have his complete focus while he is heeling. Remember when I began training with Sterling and I was teaching him how to heel with his head UP at attention, this is one of the reasons why. When the dog is taught to heel with head up at attention they are focused and there is less chance for them to become distracted at something in the outside world. We can teach heel with head forward, no issue, there is just a much greater possibility at the chance of them to become distracted. Also because what I feel like is going on is that you are asking of him too many times with the command "Sit" that he is becoming numb to it. When you stop immediately "pop" the leash up and reward when he sits. Right now don't even assume that he is going to sit. Every time just pop him for right now, I will take a look at this when I have back because I had not had many issues with him not sitting when stopped! Here is a video by a good trainer by the name of Richard Heinz. He trains VERY similar to the way I do, I do not typically encourage touching the dog while training but it may be something you are interested in trying with Sterling.
- Figure Eight - This a great exercise to practice when Sterling is hungry. Notice how her dogs head is up and focused on her. When their head is up and at attention they can move their rear legs easier along the turns. Teaching Sterling how to focus will greatly help improve his figure eight routine.
I would approach this by enticing him with a little bit of kibble. I would hold the kibble in your left hand closed in a fist and then place this fist right underneath your sternum. As Sterling eyes look up and head is up reward. Keep rewarding this for a few minutes, then take your first step as he walks with his head still up at attention reward and repeat. This will teach him how to focus. I began this training with him at the beginning but you informed me that you wanted him to learn with his head forward. No worries at all we can teach him how to do both.
- Recall to front - If you ever have a day to just watch a bunch of videos from a very intelligent trainer Janice Gunn is amazing (and she works with GOLDENS AND LABS!!!) I have done a similar method of teaching the front with a short "box" but she uses rods which is another way to teach that you may be interested in trying with Sterling. You can use two wooden meter sticks from the store and achieve the same results as what she is doing.
- Sitting Politely for petting- this is the same method that I use, explained in great detail for you.
These are all things that you can be doing at home with him to help clean up these skills.
Also I need an intake form from you still. Please complete so that I have this on file for insurance purposes thank you. Just click the button below to access the form!