...ready for action !

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back to training and introducting the halti!

While I was working with Secret at home I was thinking about different methods to try and 'set her up for success'. My biggest problem with her was when she 'locked' onto something (mainly other dogs), I could not get her off them and back onto me. I could pull her away from whatever it was, but that wouldn't stop her staring at it obsessively. So I decided to try her on a halti, not without reservations because in general I don't like them, and neither Jess or Terra had ever worn one. I have seen dogs with damaged necks from people using them inappropriately and had visions of Secret getting a damaged neck from lunging while wearing it. I also had no illusions that she would like it! I put it on her at home and did the usual treat with it on etc etc. Then I took her out in public and have to say noticed an immediate improvement with her pulling on the lead..she would still walk out in front but she was no longer pulling as when she did try to pull her head was turned sideways. I decided I would try her in the halti at training for the foreseeable future to hopefully allow me to have slightly more control and set her up for success rather than failure all the time.

After a couple of weeks of not taking her to training and working with her at home I decided to take her back to training. I took her to Perth training, since this is the quietest club I train at, last week. She started screaming as soon as we arrived in the car park but I put the halti on and walked her out to watch some of the dogs. When we got there we started playing the 'look at that' game, which was only successful if we were below her threshold level. This depended on which dog was running! If it was a fast exciting dog like Brynn or Diva the distance we had to stand away from the action was quite large, for a less exciting dog we could stand closer. Because it was Auslink time at Perth dogs were running one at a time and that meant Secret got to have her go without having to contend with other dogs running at the same time. She ran off once when all the dogs tied up started barking hysterically at her running, but after that was able to stay focused and do a couple of little sequences! Hooray! I was very pleased with her progress that night as it was by far the best she had performed at training. She was driving over her jumps and on the contacts and was nice and attentive. I drove home in a very positive mood, thinking this dog may one day even end up trialling..

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