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Junior Handling Reporting on Puppy Peaks Training Month 4

Posted on 01/25/14 10 Comments

Libby and her dog Elliott chose one of my favorite training games to shorten one of those cold winter weeks in Kentucky, and is wearing only a sweat shirt! Ohhh to have sweatshirt weather again! Winter weeks here in Canada are ranging in the -22C (-7F) range.

“Sist’as Turn” is a game I first taught to Feature and Encore when I wanted to bring both girls out to train. Makes me laugh every time I send my dogs to a table. Swagger and Feature now play as mother and son training together! Libby is learning our program and applying her Puppy Peaks learning. Just like she is “proud” of Elliott (4:22) we are proud of her doing the work as she ventures into learning our program!

Here is Libby’s Month 4 Puppy Peaks review.

Puppy Peaks: Month 4  

It’s been pretty cold and nasty out lately, so I haven’t done much training outside with the dogs. But, we had an oddly warm day and I was itching to go outside, so I decided to work with the dogs for a little while.

I didn’t have anything in mind that I wanted to work on, so I decided to get an idea from Puppy Peaks. I was scrolling through the site index and saw “Self Control: Learning Sista’s Turn Part 1” in Month 6, Week 3. It “peaked” my interest and as I began watching it I realized that it is the solution to the problem I have been having with Elliott. It shows how Susan teaches Swagger to stay on the table while she is working with another dog.Elliott and me Scott kiss

When I work with another dog at the agility field Elliott becomes obsessed and wants to be included. He ends up being in the way, causing problems, and his obsession increases because of the lack of structure. I don’t want to put him in a stay because it would set him up for failure (I need to work on the stays so that eventually we can have rock solid stays, but it will be a long process). Also, I’m okay with him moving a little as long as he is in one general area, so putting him on the table is a perfect solution.

Elliott’s been taught the table for agility, but we hadn’t practiced it in a while and his drive to the table wasn’t quite as fast as I wanted, so I started off by building value for it. We did some tugging on the table first, and later I incorporated food rewards as well.

After we built value for the table, I started adding distractions. Starting small, I just walked away from him and would return with a cookie or a game of tug, gradually increasing the distance. This part went very quickly, he had no problems with it. Next, I started throwing his toy around in front of him, trying to get him to jump off and fail, but he stayed put. So, I decided to add a much bigger distraction – Zoe going over some jumps. He jumped off the first time, but after I replaced him back on the table he stayed on. I was actually happy that he had failed because I wanted him to know what the boundaries were.

I followed the same procedure with Zoe, except her high value reward is food rather than tugging. She stayed on the table through almost all the distractions. Occasionally she would reach to try to get a cookie that I had put in the grass beside the table and would end up jumping off. A little more ItYerChoice is in order! Other than that she did great.

The big challenge for Zoe and Elliott was when I put both dogs on the one table. Elliott had problems being with Zoe on the table; he would jump off whenever I told Zoe to go get on, I’m still not sure what the reason was and am trying to figure it out. After a few mistakes they both realized that the same criteria applied even when they were on the table together.

The hardest part for Elliott was staying on the table while I called Zoe to go over a jump, but this is the reason why I was so eager to teach them both to stay on the table. Elliott improved greatly though, and by the end was sitting politely watching Zoe go over jumps, I was very proud!

Zoe’s biggest challenge was watching Elliott do obedience. She is the one that I did all my obedience competitions with, so she had a hard time when I was heeling with Elliott. Zoe also would sometimes just look at me when I told her to go get up, so I think I need to work more with her on building value for the table. We still have a lot of work to do to get them both reliable on the table, but they both did great and I am looking forward to continuing this training and having a solution to Elliott’s obsession!

Thanks Libby! Today Im grateful to have the joyful impact on Libby’s training with Elliott and Zoe learning Sista’s Turn Here is my 2008 blog post with a little clip of the girls playing.



  1. Jennifer says:
    Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 4:59pm

    That is an amazing video!!! I just signed up for Recallers 5.0 and I am looking forward to teaching this… Great job!!!


  2. Maria Flore says:
    Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 10:07pm

    This illustrates the proper training for our pets.


  3. libbeysarah says:
    Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 9:05am

    Great.. you’ve done a good job for these lucky dogs. Inspired man.. Thanks for sharing this.. I’ll make my dogs lucky too..


  4. Kristi says:
    Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 2:43pm

    Great job!! I also have a corgi and my BC doesn’t like to be on the table with her either.


  5. Katherine says:
    Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:44am

    I just wanted to say that I have really been enjoying these junior handler reports! Thank you for supporting the future of our sport. Keep at it, Libby! 🙂


  6. James Grayston says:
    Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:17pm

    Love these posts libby, keep them coming! They must be very lucky to have an owner like you!


  7. Jackie Earnshaw, CPDT-KA says:
    Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:43pm

    Nicely done. Both dogs are relaxed and happy, and so are you. no tension, just fun being together. Excellent criteria setting and sticking to your plan. Lucky dogs.


  8. Jenna Z says:
    Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 12:13pm

    Loving your training reports so far, Libby! I’m a 4-H dog club leader here in IL and I love to see young people getting into positive dog training right from the start. It is super cold, icy and snowy here so we can only train indoors right now. but we do the same technique but on a couch. The waiting couch seems a little more comfy than a table, I bet when we move outdoors this spring our dogs will wonder where their pillows are!


  9. Debra n Snap says:
    Monday, January 27, 2014 at 4:42pm

    Love watching you work, Libby! Very very nice and consistent with your two pups! Susan picked a great young handler – Great job! :o)


  10. Lesly says:
    Monday, January 27, 2014 at 4:10pm

    This will certainly be something I will add in when (fingers crossed) warmer weather comes to Ontario. Made me laugh!!! As we sit here with our -22C (Susan you forgot the windchill making it -36C on a good day!!!! Brrrrrrrrr) thinking of sweatshirt weather or perhaps that is dreaming wistfully.
    Guess I’ll at least get to work making a table! Maybe I could find somewhere to plop it in the house?? Won’t hubby and the kids be impressed by that?!
    Creative training for sure when outdoor fun is not possible!
    Stay warm everyone! 🙂


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