I've been writing this for a number of days now, but the last three days have been busy!!! So, finally, here is my entry - with only an hour or so to go until Knightley 'turns' 6 months old!
So in order to pass Level 2, one of the few remaining things we need to get good is a down stay at a distance of 6m (20 feet) for 1 minute, whilst doing things, talking etc. 6m is by far the longest distance we have done stays, so I have been taking it slowly so far so that we only have successes - not frequent failure by pushing Knightley to long stays at a large distance before he is ready. Today we got up to 25 seconds, which I am happy about. I also practiced doing stays where I stepped/hopped awkwardly over him, both with my crutch and without. He was rock solid, although a little spooked at first. I asked my husband to do it with him later, because whilst I do 99.5% of the training, sometimes it is good to have other people do things that require trust like the stepping over. However, Knightley kept on breaking the stay when my husband tried to do it, so there is more work to do there with other people to make it rock solid.
I've been playing nose work games with Knightley's food most evenings, and he is getting good! We started out with popcorn (very easy to smell), just throwing a bunch on the floor and saying "find it!", then diverting his eyes and then throwing it and telling him to find it, then diverting his eyes and putting some in more tricky places, out of eyesight, around corners etc. This latter part is what starts the sniffing and moves away from just using the eyes. We have moved to treats and kibble now though, he doesn't need the super smelly popcorn (BTW - if you use popcorn make sure it is completely free of butter/salt/sugar etc, just absolutely plain, but still freshly popped). I can put a kibble inside a cotton bag and he'll find it now, and I can hear his nose going 'whuffwhuffwhuffsniiiffffsnifsnifsnifsnifsnifswhuffwhuffhwuffsnifsnisnisnisnisffffff' the whole time he is looking for his treats.... it is SO cute!!! They say 20 minutes of nose work is equivalent to a 1hr walk in terms of tiring your dog out, so that is one of the main reasons we've been doing it..... as I haven't been super well recently and Knightley has been missing out on his frequent walks. I read this article recently (can't remember where) that said that all dogs - but *especially* working dogs - should have a hobby. Something that will motivate them and give their brain muscles a good work out and if they are a working dog, isn't at all related to their 'job'. You obviously wouldn't do this as a game with a drug detection dog, for instance!
|A dirty Knightley being told to calm down with the boxer who|
caused all the filth teasing him in the background.
|A happy dirty dog. Notice his big white adult teeth now.....|
I think his canines have come through as much as they are
going to. It makes him look so much older now. Just the
doggy wisdom teeth he'll get a year old to go now.
Getting close close close to passing Level 2. Keep an eye out for my 'homework' that is part of Level 2, which I will be posting here: "10 reasons a dog might not obey a command". I'm working on the reasons.... it is harder than you think!