Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nosework Training with Hank

When I wanted to try a Nosework class with one of our dogs, I had to decide whether to take Tim or Hank.  Well, I figured that when you will be doing some nosework you need a Hank(y)!   We have been taking our class at Postive Dog Training School in Woodinville, WA.

Nosework is great activity for any dog. Each dog is trained one at a time on leash so even dogs that don't have a great recall or are aggressive or need socializing can participate. Dogs are put on a harness that is only used for nosework so they know they are going to be "searching" when they have the harness on.    The origins of the sport are derived from the skills taught to dogs who are being trained for drug and bomb detection.

In Nosework, instead of teaching dogs to signal when they detect drugs or explosives they are trained to look for specific scent oils like birch, anise and clove.  In the first lesson dogs merely look for treats dropped into boxes of various shapes and sizes and are praised for searching for the treats.  Hank is very enthusiastic about searching and seems to be having a great time.  It is an easy sport for a trainer like me who doesn't have a lot of experience teaching dogs a lot of complicated skills - they just use their nose!  Come back to see what we learn in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Treibball Training with Tim

A few weeks ago Tim and I started a Treibball training class.  What is Treibball?  It is a sport for dogs that originated in Germany.  The basic idea is that dogs are trained to move large exercise balls (yoga balls) -  like the green one in the photo into a soccer net.  Although any breed of dog can participate in Treibball, it has been recommended as a great activity for herding breeds if you don't have any animals for them to herd since it uses many of the same types of behaviors.  Since we live in in the burbs and are "sheepless in Seattle", I thought we'd give it a try(ball).  (Argghh - I can't help myself I'm full of puns today!)

In this photo we are practicing "lining up".  It is an essential part of the beginning training steps to teach the dog to face you to watch for instructions and to keep them pushing the ball toward you to bring it to the goal.

I've discovered that the training requires a pretty high level of skill on the part of the trainer, so at this point I have as much if not more to learn than Tim.  I'm not sure we will ever get to a competitive level, but we are having fun learning together.  I will post more about our lessons as we progress.