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You NEED me on that wall.

Well winter showed up just a couple days shy of when spring is supposed to start. Between the occasional ice storm and other work, I haven’t gotten to do much dog training in the last month. I’m getting restless, I’m pretty sure K-Man is getting restless, and on top of all that, trial season is starting up. I’m hoping we find a trial nearby (1- gas is cheaper but still doesn’t grow on trees, 2- my dog occasionally still gets carsick, and while that’s not the end of anything, I have yet to come across vomit that smells like a prime rib), but we may get to see a different part of the country this spring or summer.

Lately, when we actually get out to train, we’ve been having a lot of fun, trying some new things that are fun for the dogs but still teaching them new things and reinforcing the good habits at the same time. An earlier post included a video of King going over a jump to a bite. That day we also did his first call-off from a bite (dog is sent to bite and has to recall to the handler before actually biting). This is a very functional exercise- think of a police K-9 handler calling his dog off from a bite once a suspect stops running- and is included in PSA as well as several other ringsports. There’s a minimum distance the dog must cover, and then most sports you can get some “style points” by calling the dog off very close to the decoy.

If you look closely in the last video I posted, you can see a harness on K-Man. That was his Christmas present: the GoPro dog harness, which has both a chest mount and a back mount. I don’t know whether I’ll get much use out the chest mount on that harness, but it’s nice to have options. This video, as promised so long ago, is from the dog’s perspective. It’s fairly raw, and a little shaky, so if you get motion sickness easily (like K-Man) then go take a dramamine before firing this up.

In one of the bites, you’ll see Greg actually move and pivot right before the bite- this is known as an “esquive” (ess-KEEV), and while PSA doesn’t include esquives in its bite scenarios, other ringsports do. The idea behind doing it for this particular dog is to hopefully get him to keep driving into the bite instead of gathering his speed the last few steps and slowing down. In essence, that first miss should build frustration and get him to work harder for the bite. As I’ve said before, my dog isn’t a hard biter, and is relatively new to bitework, and while he likes the act of biting, I still need to keep working him subtly on bite development when I can. This was Greg’s idea, and a good one, and with a dog that bites clean and a decoy aware of how to do it correctly it is a good exercise. A new decoy, or a dog that’t not a clean biter, and you may get some flesh re-arranged.

Seeing as we did just get nearly 10″ of snow, I also have a lot of people asking me if my dog likes the snow. The following should answer the question.