My sponsored DSC1 and route to stalking PLUS puppy diary
Puppy diary. Coming along nicely
by, 31-10-2014 at 13:57 (1209 Views)
Well it's been a while since my last puppy diary. At long last I'm now in my new job which means pup training is no longer just for the early morning and late evening. So I've been over the past few weeks almost back to basics with her on some areas. Trying to improve her heel and calm her down a hit when we're out and about. That's done nicely, so today I set about laying a good track for her.
I admit we're a bit behind on this. One thing and another just meant we couldn't spend as much time or do it as well as I should have. But! Last night I went to visit Woodmaster, he seems a top bloke and we had a good old chat then he very helpfully re-stocked me on blood, feet and bits of skin. By coincidence his pup is out of the same litter as mine. We had a laugh, as it seems I've got the crazy hooligan of the bunch. She was gorgeous though, totally different to mine in a lot of ways but quite similar in others. Definitely calmer and quieter than mine.
Anyway, today I took a little blood and a small square of skin down to my new "training ground". It's an open area between the local playing fields and the canal. Criss-crossed by footpaths and left pretty much to rough grass and brambles in between, it's pretty good because most people stick to the worn paths, but the whole lot is open to the public. I just walk off the path a bit and strat laying the trail. Easy!
Now I haven't put the pup on to tracking feet again, since she was younger. We never really got it clicked and she and I would both end up frustrated. So instead I'm doing small bits of skin dragged intermittently, (dragged a few feet, lifted up a few) with a drop of blood every pace or two. Maybe the odd bigger spurt to emphasise a change in direction or keep the pup on the line where the ground is harder going. I use a bottle from Muntjac Trading with a brilliant small hole in that gives a tiny drip. My plan is to build in the feet along with this regime and then slowly take away the skin and reduce the blood to every 3rd, 4th, 5th step, etc.
Today's track was about 150 meters curving gently uphill and then back down. Taking woodmaster's advice I left the skin (well hidden from the local pets/crows, etc) at the end of the trail to let Poppy keep as her reward (previously I just used to leave a treat and/or a dummy).
I went home and got the sulking pup out of her kennel, clearly disgusted that I'd gone out with my "dog bag" and wellies but left her behind. I walked her to the ground and then gave it 5 minutes for an old lady to clear off with her terriers so my pup would be distraction free. Then I put the long line on her (she knows it now, and her manner completely changes when it goes on) and took her to my "shot site", which is basically where I pick a good landmark and have a generous squirt of blood to start the trail. I showed her the blood and with a command of "what's this, find it!" we were off!
I always know if poppy is on the trail properly, because she goes at a right pace. What really impressed me today was that three times she went wrong and each time corrected herself almost immediately. But then in the last 15 meters, disaster! We'd turned across the wind slightly and in her haste and excitement she ran past the find (missing it by a few meters to her downwind side). I encouraged her on with "find it!" but after a moment I realised excitement had got the better of her and she was just racing around quartering and sniffing rabbits. I reeled her in and took her back to the start, putting her on again. This time she was slower, as if she'd burnt off the excitement a bit. But she tracked bang on all the way to her hidden find of bundled up skin.
Woodmaster was right, she loved having the skin, carried it all the way home and had a great time playing with it and eventually eating it when we got back. Little git growled at me when I came near while she had it, I got her to tolerate me sitting by her bed whilst she had it, but I didn't have the balls to try and take her prize off her!