Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Training Venom

I haven't blogged for a little while.  After bringing home Venom, our new Dachshund puppy, I have been kind of busy!  However, since part of what I have been busy with is his show ring training, I figured I might as well share it.  Since Venom came home 6 weeks ago, I have bee working on quite a bit with him.  I practice scent work (tracking) with him, I have started him on K9 Nose Work box work, we have started working on sit, down, name recognition and come here and I have been working on stack training and gait training.

The stacking is going really well.  I have been experimenting and using my Staxrite table to work on his stacking.  The Staxrite table is a little table that has sliding wood strips so that you can adjust it to the length of the dog.  It raises the dog off the base but only by a few inches.  This is the first time I have used it from puppyhood to train a dog and so far I am really liking it.  Tools like the Staxrite or the Happy Legs can be really helpful, unfortunately, I have seen so many people abuse them and practically use them as torture devices.  I once saw a miniature wirehair Dachshund at a show who was put on a set of Happy Legs on a grooming table with a leash tightly attached to a grooming arm for over an hour.  This is obviously not humane and not how they should be used.  We don't want to cause fatigue and pain, we just want them to learn to hold the stack for a short time.  I will stack Venom on there, ask him to wait and then feed treats as I praise him.  He is probably on there for 20 seconds at the most, then we take a break.  Of course, I also practice stacking without the Staxrite.

His gaiting practice is going really well.  We usually practice on the driveway in front of our house. On a show lead I begin to walk him slowly and click and treat him for not hopping or skipping.  He gets reinforced every time he makes the right choice.  It is important at this age and in the early stages of training that he gets reinforced often so that he can learn exactly what the behavior is that I want.  At this stage, I am very happy with how he is doing on this.  And, he is just so darn cute...