Winter 2011-2012 Indoor Training Projects

Winter is officially here and I feel like Hibernating. Bear, on the other hand, has ideas of his own.

Lately he has been bringing me his toys, trying to entice me into playing with him. If I don’t respond he brings them to Sean who exclaimed earlier this week “will you DO something with this dog!” So I got up and sliced up some cheese then Bear and I did some ‘work’ until it was gone.


Bear relaxing after a bit of work...


This is only the beginning of winter so I’m thinking that, for once, I should be proactive and come up with some plans for training I can do indoors in my living room that will also help me reach some if the performance titling goals I have in mind.

Here is my list of training projects with our larger goals attached.

  • Back up in Heel Position – We had this down pat and then I went and screwed it up somehow. At our last CARO rally trial we NQd on our back up 3 steps (and rightfully so). I’d like to fix this so I don’t have to worry about it anymore.
  • Scent Discrimination – This is a challenge coming to CARO Rally shortly with the Introduction of the Working Levels. It’s also a skill that qualifies as an Expert Trick Dog title with the Do More with Your Dog Association. I am also convinced that teaching Bear to solve scent “problems” will help our tracking training.
  • Object Discrimination – This is another challenge coming to CARO Rally with the Introduction of the Working Levels.
  • Retrieving – Retrieving has been the bane of our existence! I’m being rather dramatic – it’s not life or death – but if we want to earn a Working Level title in rally, we need a good retrieve and if ever we want to earn the Trick Dog Champion Title, we need a retrieve.
  • NoseWork – This is essentially another scent discrimination game and I think it’ll be fun. This is also an Expert trick dog Exercise.
  • Long Stand/Down – I have dreams of attempting a Draft Dog Test and in order to do this Bear needs to perform a long stand (on leash, alone) and a long down (off leash, in a ring with other dogs). I think I’d also like to attempt the excellent level in CKC Rally which involves an honour exercise so I think the long down work will transfer nicely.
  • Kick-Back Stand – I would like to train this with a verbal cue only because I think it looks soooo good in Rally when a handler says “stand” and the dog pops up into a perfect stand. Call me vain but I want to look cool!

My plan is to train these as I go and report on how we are progressing and what methods we’ve used and what discoveries we’ve made so stay tuned!

What behaviours/exercises are on your winter training list? Are they related to titles or just things you’ve always wanted to teach your dog to show off to your friends?

5 thoughts on “Winter 2011-2012 Indoor Training Projects

  1. Some great goals to work on during the winter.
    I used the book ” The Clicked Retriever” to train a retrieve. It was great. It is a step by step workbook – which worked great for me. It even has room for making notes.
    Just a note about the draft dog stand/stay : the entire test is done off leash, including the stand/stay.
    Did you see Susan Garrett’s video on how to teach a kick back stand?

  2. Kim, you are absoloutely correct regarding the stand being off leash in the draft dog test, thanks for catching that! The clicked retriever has been on my ‘wishlist’ for some time – I am hoping Santa brings me an e-reader so I can get it online without paying the shipping! To date I have used a few different clicker methods and plan on elaborating later on our retrieving tribulations – stay tuned. As for the kickback stand I have actually been shaping it with a clicker over the past week (marking little or no front foot movement) but will have a look at the Garrett video for some inspiration. Thanks for all the tips!

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