Category Archives: Videos

Pupdate – Week 23

23 Weeks, 1 Day

I have gradually been introducing Epic to some different adult dogs from the ones I typically allow to meet puppies. I am doing this gradually because a negative experience can have long lasting effects. So far she’s handling things very well with new dogs: she’s greeting them appropriately, inviting them to play and using great calming signals when play gets too rough for her.

23 Weeks, 2 Days

Weight: 23.4kg ~ 51.5lb

Epic and I went to the vet to have her ears re-checked after an ear infection. All looked well so we went ahead and got her rabies vaccine. I have been delaying Rabies as long as possible. Her breeder would prefer a year but in order to attempt the CGN this winter, I need to get a municipal licence and in order to get a municipal licence, I need proof of vaccination against rabies. Go Figure.

23 Weeks, 4 Days

I thought I post an update on our left pivot progress. We have been working away on the stool and Epic can pivot 360 degrees with me so it’s time to up the ante a but by trying the pivot on a different, lower surface, and I have chosen the FitPAWS Balance Disc. The disc also happens to be a bit more of a workout for her, as she has to use all of those stabiliser muscles (front and rear) to stay on the disc while turning.

I am pleased with her progress so far. She is pivoting nicely and you can see she is beginning to move back into heel position as she pivots and then look at me as if to say “Well, I did it, cookie PLEASE!”.

I am going to keep up the disc work because I think it’s a great leg workout but over the next week I am going to start using one of my FitPAWS target in place of the disc. Up until now,  have been moving around the disc but since the target is completely flat, I can step on it too and begin to make my pivots more and more “in place”.

23 Weeks, 5 Days

Recently, while practicing our rally moves, Epic has been drifting away. It does not appear to me that she drifts to anything but she kind of “checks out”. I am choosing to take this as a sign that she is not feeling well, stressed by something or that the work is not rewarding enough for her. Instead of insisting that she work (or using corrections), I am going to take a different approach that will involve micro-training and some of the great games in Control Unleashed.


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Pupdate – Week 22

22 Weeks

Today, I started teaching Epic the foundation of turning left by using our trusty stool. Turning left is one of a number of skills I think are important for rally dogs to have. The bonus is that pivoting on a raised surface is also a great way to strengthen a dog’s hindquarters and improve propriocetion. Finally, teaching her using shaping also gives her mind a bit of a workout.

Once she is moving left with me, I’ll probably add a hand signal and verbal cue (get in) before I try to transfer it to the flat!

21 Weeks, 1 Day

Weight: 21.6 kg / 47.6 lbs

Today, I started working on sit and down stays with Epic at home. First I started pivoting in front of her, then I started moving around her. Next I’ll start adding in some distance and then some distractions like toys and food.  A good stay is important for all the dog sports I’d like to do with her so I figure we’d better get started on that.

22 Weeks, 2 Days

Today, I was able to get out and do some tracking with Epic. She is really having fun but boy do I have a lot to learn. The latest video is below.

This is likely the last bit of tracking we will get in for the next few weeks. It’s going to be way, WAY too cold for us.

22 Weeks, 3 Days

Today, because the cold weather seems to give the dogs MORE energy, I took the dogs out for a long walk followed by a romp in the yard. Now that Epic is older, and taller,  we can go for longer walks and thanks to my handy hands-free leash, walking both of them is easy! Post-walk, both dogs were happy and covered with frost!

22 Weeks, 4 Days

Epic came to work with me today and we practiced our pivots and our sit/stay and down/stay. I am working on these things in both environments at the same time to help her generalise the behaviour.  She was able to stay while I walked around her (after a few tries) so I started walking away from her: sometimes coming back to reward her, sometimes calling her to me to reward her.

We finished off the session with some retrieving. She LOVES to retrieve a tennis ball and will bring it back to my hand about 70% of the time. 29% of the time, she will drop it near me. 1% of the time she can’t help herself and takes the ball on a “joy ride”. My approach has been to click/treat for balls deposited into my hand, to offer no click/treat for balls dropped near me and, to ignoring joyrides because I don’t want to encourage the oh-so-fun game of keep away! She is already much better at brining it to my hand then Bear is so I’m going to keep encouraging this and hope it can transfer to a dumbbell once we begin working on a more formal retrieve for obedience.

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Filed under Pupdate, Rally-O, Tracking, Videos

Pupdate – Week 21

21 Weeks, 1 Day

Weight: 21.2 kg / 46.7lbs

I took Epic to the vet this morning to have her ears looked at they have become gradually dirtier and itchier over the past week and I suspected an ear infection. Dr. Radcliffe took one look at her ears and said, yup it was an ear infection. We got a weeks worth of ear drops which will hopefully clear things up. We’ll go back for a recheck in a week or so to make sure the infection is gone. For good.

21 Weeks, 2 Days

It has been brutally cold here for a few days (-20’s . . CELCIUS!) and I have been thinking that Epic needs a coat because she has almost no undercoat. Luckily, Epic’s auntie Renee had a lovely coat just Epic’s size hanging around and it fit her perfectly!

21 Weeks, 3 Days

Today it was warm enough to go out tracking! After tracking disaster last week, tone he tracking groups that I have joined gave me some great ideas for out next track. Today, I took both Bear and Epic out.  Epic’s track was on the whole, successful. She found most of the bait, most of the footsteps and made her way to the jackpot at the end of the track.

21 Weeks, 4 Days

One of the things I worked on today with Epic is heel position and sit @ heel. As we always do, we worked in 1-5 minute sessions after each potty break but now we have a game of tug/retrieving when we are done. I haven’t been taking a singular approach to teaching this: I have been using a combination of targeting, luring and shaping to teach her that 1.) it pays to be on my left side 2.) It pays to sit in heel position at my left side and 3.) It pays to come back to heel position if she finds her self out of position.

By the end of the day she is sitting more or less straight beside me (not swinging her rear out) and she is catching her self when she gets ahead of me. Her natural tendency is to get out ahead of me (we call this forging in rally/obedience) which is an issue I can fix with time and appropriate reward placement.

21 Weeks, 5 Days

It has been rather cold lately which means less time outside for all of us so I decided to play some fetch indoors with Epic this afternoon. Sometimes she is not ready to give up a toy but is more willing if I have two toys. Today I switched it up and started clicking when she brought the ball back to my hand and offering a tasty morsel of food right away. Once she got that part down I started throwing the ball and then running away to hide from her so she had to come find me and bring the ball for a cookie and another ball throw. I call this Hide & Seek Retrieving and it’s *so* much fun!

Epic and I had class this evening! Tonight we got to work on walking nicely on leash stays and sitting/standing while strangers approach. We used our walking time to practice heeling with distractions. Epic was much less distracted than she was 2 weeks ago but about 30 minutes into the class she got very sniffy and started hunting for invisible cookies. I treated this as a sign she was mentally “done” and we went back to our mats for some chill out and settle time. After that she seemed much more focused and on task. This is going to be a very important thing for me to remember.

During the ‘sit nicely for an approaching stranger’ Epic sat while the stranger approached and spoke to me but our handshake was just too much she *had* to jump up and see what was in our hands!  We tried again a few times and I was finally able to click and reward her for staying still. This is the very beginning of greeting a stranger in the CGN, and the stand for exam in Rally/Obedience. We also tried having her stand standing while a stranger approached to go over her which is what will happen in the conformation ring her natural inclination is to visit people so I will be working on teaching her that her people will come to her if she can Just. Stand. Still.

21 Weeks, 6 Days

Epic is 5 months old today and has been with us for 3 months.


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Sniff It – Week Four

By now we have a regular Sniff It routine here – we do our homework every morning – Bear thinks this is a wonderful way to earn breakfast.

This week in our class, our first assignment was to make things more challenging happening for our dogs by adding more containers, more boxes and more containers in boxes. We are still only hiding one food filled container but the dog now has to find it! Our second assignment is to observe our dogs and see what kinds of ‘signs’ they give us when they have found the food container.

As far as the box searches go, I think things are going nicely. Bear will still occasionally pick up a container and remove it from a box but he always leaves it if it is not the correct one. As before, I remain neutral any time a container is picked up and only give him attention (and food!) when he finds the correct container.

With the container search this week, I have been waiting a little bit longer when Bear finds the right container to see what he does. He typically starts by scratching at the container with both paws and then eventually lays down. I think that having done some article indication work for tracking helped but it’s still cool to see the light bulb turn on! Now the next challenge is to get this behavior with containers hidden in boxes!

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Sniff It – Week Three

This week our assignments involve making things more difficult for dogs and encouraging them to use their nose. We used two exercises to do this.

The first exercise involved hiding containers in boxes. One container was filled with food, the other was empty. The dog’s job is to find the food container, my job is to make him think he’s the most brilliant dog in the world.

In the beginning, Bear is rather convinced that ALL containers must be filled with food, however, he quickly learned that there were many containers but only one food find.

The second exercise involved Bear identifying one container out of three that contained food.

The container exercise seemed like more of a nose workout. I don’t know why? Maybe because the boxes trap scent better? Regardless, Bear is quickly getting the hang of things and I can’t wait for next week’s assignment.

Read about the previous week of this class here.

Read about next week of this class here.

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Sniff It – Week Two

This week our assignment was to hide the food container out of sight and have the dog find it. Since we were at home when the assignment was given and there happens to be lots of nooks and crannies. I recorded our first session last Sunday.

We have played this game before, hiding Bear’s favorite toy but playing with food added a certain element of….excitement as you can see.

That being said, playing at home was interesting for a few reasons

  • He always checks out places he’s found the container before.
  • Sometimes he walks by the container, his nose within inches of the container, clearly looking with his eyes not his nose.
  • Other food distractions do not seem to be a big draw.

For our second session, I brought Bear to work with me. I was not sure if it would be easier because there are fewer places to hide containers or harder because there would be more competing smells. I think that the ceiling fans gave him a bit of trouble but otherwise he did equally well!


Filed under Scent Work, Training, Uncategorized, Videos

CARO Versatility Side Changes – With Videos

Next to right and left side heeling, side changes are going to be one of the most important things you work on for the Versatility class. There are 7 side change exercises in Versatility however the fact that they must be performed from either side means there are actually 14 side change exercises.

In a Versatility course, there must be 4 side changes and in a Versatility Excellent course, there must be 3 side changes.

The side changes do not appear at any other level, therefore these exercises will be brand new to both you and your dog and you will need to invest some time learning a few foundation behaviors with your dog before moving on to the complete side change exercises.

Below I will cover the basic things you need to know about side changes and, for simplicity’s sake; I’ll divide side changes into two categories:


Cross in Front (V5)

While heeling forward, the handler cues the dog to cross in front and resume heel position on the opposite side of the handler.

Cross Behind (V4)

While heeling forward, the handler cues the dog to cross behind and resume heel position on the opposite side of the handler.

Weave Thru Legs (V7)

While heeling forward, the handler cues the dog to weave through his/her legs to change sides. Handlers who are not comfortable with performing this station due to the large size of their dog, or handlers who are physically challenged, shall make this known to the judge and the judge shall substitute this station with either V4 or V5.


Turn In (V1)

The dog and handler simultaneously turn in towards each other and resume heeling with the dog on the opposite of the original side. This station will result in a change of direction of travel for the dog and handler.

Turn Away (V6)

While heeling forward, the dog and handler perform simultaneous turns in opposite directions and the dog resumes heel position on the opposite side of the handler. This station will result in a change of direction of travel.

Side by Side Left (V2)

The dog and handler perform simultaneous parallel left turns and resume heeling with the dog on the opposite of the original side. This station will result in a change of direction of travel for the dog and handler.

Side by Side Right (V3)

The dog and handler perform parallel simultaneous right turns and resume heeling. This station will result in a change of direction of travel for the dog and handler.


  • -3 to -5 points: Depending on how smoothly (or not) the side change is performed.
  • NQs for this exercise are not specified and will depend on the judge’s interpretation of the rules.


The foundation behaviors your dog should be able to perform before you begin to teach the side changes are:

  • Sit or Stand – in heel position on both right and left sides.
  • Spin & Turn – in front of, to the right and to the left of the handler’s body.
  • Weave Through Legs – when the handler is stationary.
  • Hand Touch/Target Stick – optional, but can come in handy with particularly large or small dogs – or dogs that lose their minds at the sight of food.


Filed under Rally-O, Training, Videos