Sunday, 11 December 2011

We're back! Cyclists, cut paws and paddling

Poor Grey's Days Blog. Can't believe I haven't posted since October. My excuse is that I've been busy building and maintaining other blogs about other things. I shall endeavour to improve things.

Grey is well and in fine fettle. He's just recovering from a badly cut hind paw pad. £64 trip to the vet to find that we were struggling to get him to allow me to stand his foot in a hibiscrub bath or to let me put a plastic bag on it either in an attempt to keep it clean. In the end, following good sense advice from a friend, I took him down to the sea after a few days of rest at home and let him do his favourite thing. Paddle.

While he was off on rest we picked up some silly trick training at home. So he can now do 'take a bow' on cue. This has only taken me 2 years to put on verbal cue! It's taken a long while because he doesn't move well from luring to the lure being faded. We also messed around with front paw targets and we can now have a fun game of switching between running round an object at a distance 'go around' and running out to touch the object with his nose 'touch it'. Keeps us busy in the winter when we 're down to one walk per day. 

He's still a bugger on the lead and I'm thinking about tackling this. But just thinking about it at the moment. Not looking for stress.

His recalls are good and we seem to have 99% cracked cyclist and jogger chasing. Woohoo! I think it has taken about 9 months. I started pairing 'ready Grey!' with a raised arm about to throw a pebble into the sea. Very soon, 'ready Grey' has him stop and watch me ready to come in and chase the pebble. Then I did 'ready Grey' and 'wait' and then throw. I started to do this whenever I saw a distraction like a cyclist. I moved on to having some food he can clearly see. So I have my hand raised, which becomes like a stop sign. The 'ready Grey' works as a recall, but a recall tied to something exciting about to happen. The 'wait' is with the added visual cue of my raised hand. The cyclist passes and then I reward with an exciting 'Go!' and throw of the food for him to chase and eat. He now actively looks for me if he sees cyclists. I've found this a good compromise and better than a 'leave it'. He loves it so much that as it has built up over time, cyclists now equal fun games and food.

Here are some piccies from our walk today.

lovely red apple tree