Dash is 6 Months

And getting taller by the day.  Never seen such long legs!

Puppy days are well and truly over and, as I anticipated, she is proving to be quite a challenge.  She has great drive and lots of courage – no problem scaling a near vertical bank, through a barbed wire fence and into thick cover to find her dummy.  Lots of persistence and will continue hunting until she has found it.  Wonderful nose but, I’m hesitant to say, very little self-control when we’re out in the field.

Now that I’ve established that she is a really keen little retriever and will bring her retrieves back to me and deliver to hand most of the time, the real work starts.  Obedience, learning impulse control, tricks to help with co-ordination, balance and strength.

I’m also working on her pivot, off-lead heeling, sit and stay and steadiness in the face of distractions and remote sits.  She gets the odd thrown retrieve, but most of all I’m concentrating on sight lines to help build her steadiness.  One of the “tricks” that have helped enormously with her delivery to hand is the nose target to my palm.  My palm held out facing her as she comes in with the dummy is her cue to push the dummy into my hand.  Her “Leave” exercise is also coming along nicely, and she will look away from food in my palm held in front of her.

This table gives an idea of some of the skills I’m working on at present with the breakdown or splits for each skill.

Exercise Splits/Criterion
Focus: Must find eyes and maintain contact for 20 seconds. Hold eye contact for 5 secs
Hold eye contact for 8 secs
Hold eye contact for 10 secs
Hold eye contact for 15 secs
Sit to Whistle facing 8 out of 10 reps with zero latency
Sit to whistle in heel position 8 out of 10 reps with zero latency
Sit and Stay – no distractions Maintain a sit at 5 paces
Maintain a sit at 8 paces
Maintain a sit at 10 paces
Sit and Stay at heel amidst mild distractions such as dogs playing in the distance Maintain a sit for 5 seconds
Maintain a sit for 8 seconds
Maintain a sit for 10 seconds
Sit and Stay at heel amidst strong distractions such as dogs retrieving or playing Maintain a sit for 5 seconds
Maintain a sit for 8 seconds
Maintain a sit for 10 seconds
Loose lead walking:  Walk on a loose lead for 40 paces with an automatic sit half way. Walk on a loose lead for 10 paces
Walk on a loose lead for 20 paces
Walk on a loose lead for 30 paces
Walk on a loose lead for 40 paces
Formal recall amidst distractions using whistle. From 5 metres
From 10 metres
From 50 metres
Pivot:  Find heel position from anywhere by moving back legs. Place front paws on tile
Place front paws on tile and make eye contact
Place front paws on tile and move back legs to circle thru 180°
Place front paws on tile and move back legs to circle thru 360°
Place front paws on tile and move back legs to finish in heel position
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