Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A lake swim, a hissing swan and more training!

4 months 4 weeks 1 day old

So today Knightley, hubby and I had a trip down to Lake Burley Griffin, named after the American architect who came up with the basic design for Canberra. We had a nice walk with Knightley and he got lots of attention (awww look at the cute puppy!!), including being an international tourist attraction and getting on video camera! (we were in the tourist centre of Canberra, right near the Parliament House)

A photo looking down on Lake Burley Griffin. There is a lot of good walking
around the lake - you can see the path alongside the lake, which we also
followed for a short while. The park beside the lake is very pretty, and stays
green even throughout summer.
We continued to walk around to a part of the lake that had a sort of shingle beach, next to a short pier. We'd just seen a Newfoundland and a Chowchow (both shaved for the summer! they looked so strange!) go swimming in the same spot, so we put Knightley's long line on him and threw some sticks in for him - he needed to cool down a bit anyway. Of course he didn't have his life jacket on, but didn't really need it this time as he didn't have to plunge in and could just walk. He struck out strongly from the shore, and brought in the sticks every time - although not always to us!! I was very pleased with his swimming, he definitely is a water dog in the making. I would love to take him down to the nearby coast (about 2.5 hours drive from here) to see what he would make of the surf!

Not my photo I am sad to say. Illustrating the firey temperament
of the black swans. When that big guy starting hissing at
Knightley and my big puppy boy couldn't help himself and
started barking back I thought it was time to beat a hasty retreat.
As we walked away another 6 or so other swans came up to
join the nasty tempered one.
Anyway, eventually our activity and levity attracted the attention of some rather large black swans (only found in Australia) and one came along to check Knightley out. I reeled him in as the swan came closer, and Knightley started barking at it from on the beach. The swan didn't like that and started hissing a warning. Frankly I wouldn't have liked the swan to have a go at Knightley - those things are BIG and I'm sure they can do a lot of damage. I certainly couldn't see any cygnets around, but the swan was certainly acting protective and I wasn't going to stick around as it was attracting the attention of the other swans in the area.

So we went off and played 'throw the chunk of wood for my retrieving obsessed puppy' and did some recall practice between the hubby and I inside a rather cute 
 on the park grounds. It was pretty hard to get him to pay attention to us as he was just too interested in the world around him. However, we were good little dog trainers, and made the distance shorter until he was successful at that, and then with every successful recall between us (what Sue Ailsby calls the 'Come Game' in her Training Levels), we increased the distance slightly. We were mostly doing it to dry the pup off!

So it was a good outing for Knightley. My husband and I are both on holiday from our respective jobs at the moment, so we have a bit more time to get Knightley out places. It's a little freaky to think that in a years time he may be getting close to being able to do his 'job'. I was rather worried at the beginning, when he wasn't showing food drive or desire to be 'in the game', that we had chosen a smart puppy full of drive, but one that would be very hard to focus. My worries have been proven completely off base, he is really maturing of late, and his duration, patience and focus skills are really really improving. Not to mention he's like a different dog with food drive, partly due to my hard work. I truly think, discounting any major personality changes, that he has a very good chance of 'making it' as an assistance dog.

We've been doing some more retrieve training, basically just focusing on getting him to hold objects for longer, and to be a bit more calm about it! For some reason it really really hypes him up. Anyone out there got some ideas for calming down a dog in early stages of retrieve training?!?! I have thought of doing it after Karen Overall's RP sessions with Knightley, which certainly do calm him down.

Other than the retrieve stuff, I am following the new Training Levels books through as they come without skipping ahead, which means I am about of half way through level 2. I am quite uneven though, some Level 2 skills Knightley and I can do nearly all the steps involved..... but then others we pretty much have to start at the beginning. Only when it's video-able (not that I necessarily would) would I say that Knightley and I had passed Level 2. It shouldn't take very long though, he is learning very fast! The temptation is to push him frankly, although if anything I should slow down and take the time to enjoy our ride together because this special growing up time is only going to happen once.                                                                                                            

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