Seaton soon demonstrated that he loved retrieving, and to carry things around - everything that came in his way. What does not come in his way, he sees to that it does! Some of the objects he is stealing, to carry around, are not what I want him to drag around though, but here he is retrieving a metal dummy - to my great satisfaction, and at the age of 9 weeks. Most collies hate to carry metal objects, so I love him for doing so.
As I intend to compete with Seaton at tracking dog trials, and perhaps also at search and resque dog trials, I started to train him early.
I have learned that what dogs learn to do and like to do as puppies, when they are very eager to learn, they love to do for the rest of their lives. Therefore I started to train Seaton after a few weeks, for fun and without any demands of real obedience. He responded wonderfully to my training lessons. Here are some pictures from one of our early training sessions.
In these pictures I train him to retrive a dummy with concentration, using the method of shaping. It was very easy. He did what I expexted from him without any hesitation and was of course praised and given a tid bit for his efforts to please me.
I have continued to train Seaton, and he really loves the training sessions. I have not had a collie like Seaton since my first two collies (Cleo and Opus), and he thereby makes me very happy. To train a dog that so clearly demonstrates that he loves training, really gives the human trainer a great pleasure.
The pictures to the right are from a retrieving training, when he was four months old, which is a preparation for obedience- and working dog competitions. But Seaton also has learnt how to perform other tasks. This one for example:
Friday 34 of April:
Now Seaton has started his tracking lessons. As you can see in the first picture, he is very eager to get forward in the track. This is his fourth tracking lesson and he is doing very well.
The second photo shows him finding and retrieving the object at the end of the track. Needless to say, I was very pleased with him.
Sunday 4/12 2003: Vi have continued to train since I wrote about Seaton last time, he started up as a real good tracker, he then suddenly stopped tracking. I do not know why, but I suspect that ha had become confused in some way or another. After an intense traning period, where we started from the beginning, he tracks fairly well again.
His obedience traning though, has come to a kind of a dead end. I have klicker-trained him since he was only four months old, and he was great at the beginning, still is - when he wants to :-)! But as he grew older, he started to develop interests of his own, such as beautyful bitches, interesting tracks of-only-he-knows-what, moving objects of different kind, and now he rather often prefers to investigate other things instead of performing different tasks on command or in order to get a tid-bit, or what ever I can invent to make it fun for him to train. So, now I have given him a pause, during which I try to find a way of getting him more interested in me, and what I want him to do, than in other people, moving objects, or dogs.
He still is a wonderful dog, the best I have had in many years, so I have no doubt we will solve "our" problems in due time. When we are alone and no other disturbing events are interrupting his concentration he is still very cooperative and attentive but that is not enough for an obedience competition or a tracking trial.
Tues 8/6 2004:
Yes, we have continued our obedience- and tracking training even though I have not written about it lately. After a few months of bad concentration, when he had got used to all his new hormones, he again started to work and perform eagerly with concentration.
I hade planned to take him to a tracking trial last autumne, but since his tracking work was not trustable at that time there was not a good idea for the moment, then the winter came, and after that we sold our house and moved to another place why I had not time for him for several months, but since three months we train intensively again, and I am more that satisfied with his attentiveness and performances.
Pictures from a training session at the end of May 2004.
When he heels like this I do not complain
First a short session of heeling
Then we try the "walking in front of the master", on command, and that is fairly good too, except from a little bit too much of pushing, but I do not care about that as this obedience task disappears at the higher levels.
Two retrieving performances, not bad at all, particularly since this was the very first time I commanded him to jump with the dummy in his mouth.
At the beginning of September 2005, Seaton won his second level tracking trial. He is now allowed to compete in third level trials. This is what we are now training for.