Wednesday 16 October 2019

The F litter take their first steps in becoming tracking dogs

Pictured above is TPD Fendi getting her very first introduction to following a track or trail.

This was the F litters second training day which I split into two groups so that I could give each team additional attention. The girls attended their training session in the morning.

From left to right are TPD Flo, TPD Fendi and TPD Freya. 

Unfortunately TPD Finni’s puppy walker Sharmaine couldn’t make the session having injured her hand that morning.

The boys did their training in the afternoon.

From left to right are TPD Flint, TPD Freddy, TPD Floyd, TPD Fozzy and TPD Franky.

On arrival the boys were very well behaved.

I started each session discussing the importance of the recall. Ella then demonstrated to the puppy walkers and her pups how to do an emergency recall.

Ella then gave a demonstration of searching an area for a hidden screwdriver and having located it gave a passive indication by lying down next to it.

We then got each team to show me how their recall training was coming along. Here is TPD Fendi showing complete and utter joy recalling to her puppy walker Sarah.

It was exactly the same with TPD Freya and Jeanette.

After the recalls I gave an input on how to play search games with their pup’s favourite toy when they are out exercising their pup on a walk.

In the early stages we have the pup on a line while throwing the toy into an area where he/she has to search to find it. The dog is released to find it but as soon as he/she does the handler goes hand over hand up the line to engage in play before the pup tries to run off with it.

Freddy loved this game showing great drive to find his favourite giraffe and after a short game of tug paraded it around like he had the crown jewels.

Meanwhile TPD Floyd was starting to get bored waiting for his turn.

At 15 weeks of age I hesitated as to whether I should see if they would go over the A frame. I needn’t have worried they made it look easy. Here is TPD Flo taking it in her stride.

Her are TPD Freddy, TPD Floyd and TPD Flint all making light work of what I thought was quite a steep piece of equipment for their age.

I was very pleased with TPD Fozzy pictured here with Susannah because he had been a little aggressive and unsure on our first training session but today he was much more confident.

Next it was an introduction to the tracking which for the uninitiated is teaching the dog to follow the trail or track left by a person who has walked over the ground. Here is TPD Franky being introduced to a short track that he has just watched me lay.

We lay the trail in a curve shape to prevent the pup learning to charge ahead as he/she would if they were laid in a straight line.

All of these pups have an intense food drive which will make training them very easy. We also start with a large scuffed pad with multiple food drops in it which again stops the puppy from charging ahead. Here is TPD Fozzy on his first ever track.

All of the puppy walkers have reported that when the pups are out and about they all have their noses constantly on the ground which is something most natural tracking dogs tend to do. All of the pups showed a real intensity on this exercise.

Here are all the boys making their way back from the tracking lesson to finish off with some heelwork and focus work.

Here are the girls doing their group sits and downs in the morning.

Here are the boys showing that if the girls can do it so can they.

Throughout the day what impressed me about all of the pups was just how alert and focussed they all were. Here is TPD Flo watching her dad PD Drake doing some work in front of the pups.

Here are TPD Flo and TPD Freya ever alert and already you can see that their puppy walkers will need to have eyes in the back of their heads as these pups get older.

So that was the end of another great training session and no doubt everyone will go away and practise their skills. One thing is for sure there is no lack of enthusiasm amongst this group.

I would like to give special thanks once again to Mary who has looked after TPD Flo for me. I asked her to look after her for me for a few weeks while I did all my visits with the new pups and their walkers.

It turned into 2 months because I also then looked after TPD Jay and TPD Rebel while their puppy walkers were on holiday.

I am really pleased with all of the 9 pups and the progress that they are making. I have only had to intervene to help 3 of the puppy walkers so far but I’m sure there will be many more challenges ahead.

I spent some time with TPD Freya and her family because she was biting with a vengeance and answering back if they told her off. She is very bright and quickly realised going over the top resulted in her having unwelcome timeouts in her crate. Butter wouldn’t melt.

Lots of focus work with sits, downs, stays and a firmer approach from our puppy walking ladies have settled things down.

TPD Fendi was causing some issues for Sarah with her sometimes refusing to give up toys and bones, attacking the hoover and floor cleaner. Her drive for food is so intense we were able to address her issues working with special food treats.

Meanwhile Sarah’s control and focus exercises are coming along nicely. Sarah is developing a nice sit stay with TPD Fendi.

My next call was to TPD Flint who has started attempting to chase traffic on the lead when they walk along their local road and he attacks a metal gate they open in a lane on the same walk.

Here he is waiting on his step when I arrive looking all the world like the Lord of the manor.

I asked them to take me on their walk and I was very impressed with him meeting other dogs. Here he is meeting a wirehaired Vizsla and Irish terrier.

What was immediately apparent was the road they were walking him along was too extreme for a young pup. It was a busy country road with condensed trees making it dark and there were no main footpaths.

He clearly has chase issues but these were compounded by the noise and close proximity of vehicles with headlamps on and he was highly excited as soon as he heard them approaching.

I used a dog repellent spray to break his extreme reaction but decided this road should be avoided until work could be conducted on less extreme roads. On reaching the lane with the metal gate the high pitched screeching metallic sound sent him into attack mode.

Again I administered the spray which immediately stopped the behaviour. After that it was a simple matter of using his huge food drive to get him to sit stay for a titbit until the gate was opened.

I then took them to a busy road outside Exeter workshops which although busy has plenty of room to work away from the traffic until he gets used to the traffic.

The use of liver titbits really worked well here and he gradually ignored the traffic completely.

Once he gets completely used to general traffic in circumstances like this then later he can progress to the road where he lives.

I cannot remember a litter with such extremely high food drive. It is something we can use to our advantage.

As regards TPD Flo I am not sure whether to find her a puppy walker or to run her on myself. She gets along well with Ella but I am veering towards her having a home without another dog so that she can  develop her independence.

From Me Ella and TPD Flo bye for now.

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