Too much rain outside so we worked inside.

I apologize for how dark this video is and for the lack of trimming at the front and rear – my video editing program is giving me grief so it was all or nothing today.  I decided to go with “all.”

The challenges:

Stay until I send on the dumbbell retrieve, and then go even if you don’t see me put down the object.  This went reasonably well, except once he went before he was sent.  That’s fine – we usually have the opposite problem (I send and he doesn’t go) so no worries there.  I’m happy he’s going!  This exercise has done wonders for our retrieve on the flat and over the high jump; he goes about 90% of the time even without seeing the object being thrown.

Gloves – fetch the one straight ahead, even if another is much closer.  On the first send he reacts without thinking so he fetches the wrong one first, but then his behavior makes it clear that he recognizes his mistake.  I reward dogs for problem solving, so he gets his cookie.  He does fine after that.

Articles had two challenges.  The first is to stay until I send you to go, and then go, even if I’m giving you cookies for staying.  This is the same basic process as for the dumbbell retrieve that I showed a couple of weeks ago.  For reasons that are not clear to me, he really struggled to hold his down stay for this exercise when I set out the articles.  No worries – I’ll address that at another time, but I did have to put him back repeatedly (not good training there!)

I also sent him to a large (30+) mixed  article pile with a variety of objects (baby shoes, regular articles, wooden blocks, etc.).  To help him I did a couple of sends with two correct articles in the pile instead of only one.   He did well on this exercise, even when he had to show a good deal of persistence to find the right one.  His reliability with articles is increasing notably as his confidence increases.

What I am hoping to accomplish with the large piles is to teach him a global search pattern rather than checking each object.  He is just beginning to get this idea, but we’re not there yet.  As a result, it can take him much longer than it should to succeed.  I’ll know that we’re there when he scents a few inches above the articles and then narrows it down, rather than bringing his nose down on each object.