Sunday, June 8, 2008

Intro to Quarry - GBAEC Training

Today Ike and I went to a GBAEC training session in Boxborough. The training took place in fields near a barn. When we first arrived we walked out to a clearing near where the dens are and set up crates. My mum and Nellie came to keep us company.

We got there pretty early and had the opportunity to help set up the Junior training. What that meant is, we lifted the liners up, piece by piece, while someone dragged the rat in its cage through the den. The dens are constructed out shallow trenches the GBAEC dug into the ground in the spring and then protected by a three sided wooden "liner." The liners appear to be constructed using lengths of 2"x10" board, giving you an underground tunnel that is about 9"x9" square. It was, of course, very important that no humans contaminate the rat scent.

Ike was the second dog to do Intro. I brought him into the enclosure where the intro den was which was a very simple and short "L". GBAEC members brought over the rat in its wire cage and we tried to get Ike excited. Well, I think thanks to the g-pigs and the birds Ike is immune to small animals - He sniffed a little bit but that's it! Oh dear. We had the woman who was waiting behind us allow her dog to sniff the rat so that Ike could watch and hopefully feed off of her dog's arousal. No luck, I think he was saying, "Mum, I am melting here."

We decided to try and have him go into the tunnel. Nope, he kept going OVER it. So, I have a lot of suggestions from people on how to get Ike more excited about rats and how I could train him to do earthdog. I don't think I will. I do think I will build a little tunnel and work with Carmen and dare I say it, Evil-Joey. I think they would both LOVE earthdog.

We met lots of great terrier people, and met Liz in person, which was very cool. Her dog Spot was dying to go work some rats! We ended up not staying for the senior training sessions (when Spot would be working) since Ike was starting to get over heated. Before we left I dunked him in the horse trough which definitely helped.

Food for thought - I continue to push Ike to *try* things. I don't think trying things is bad. I'll admit I am a bit disappointed he wasn't into it, but I think it is a positive that I am not building a den to train Ike to do earthdog! Baby steps, people.

I will definitely attend more trainings and bring Carmen or Joey. Ike can come to keep them company since that is all he really wants to do anyway.


Blue said...

I bet earthdog would be really cool to watch! After living with the g-pigs, Ike was probably thinking "But mom, I know I'm not supposed to touch those!" Maybe if he sees you playing in the yard with Carmen and Joey, he'll get more interested?

Because I'm curious, if you do build a tunnel at home, what will you use for a rat?

Diana said...

I dont think trying things does any harm. It takes time for dogs to "get it". Good for you. Diana

manymuddypaws said...

trying things is important- how else would you know if he likes it or not...

keep trying! I am sure Ike had fun just being out!

Jules and Ike said...

Yeah, I referred to it as a mum & son day. He definitely enjoyed being out, I think he just couldn’t figure out what on earth I wanted of him! I have a cute pic my mum took of us that I’ll post once I get my camera to cooperate. You can tell how HOT he is!

The hardest thing for me is to say, well, even though I *could* train Ike to do earthdog I will respect that fact that he isn’t innately interested in it and move on.

Blue: re the rat. I think I am just going to teach Carmen and Joey to move through the wee square tunnel quickly. And reward Joey with any old toy – he is scary fanatic about toys and Carmen with something that squeaks – maybe a homemade rabbit fur squeaker (I have a pelt I could use). Once they’ve got the tunnel down, at a real training they wouldn’t have any issue being motivated by a rat!! And I will train Ike to move through the small “tunnel” too (but just because he hates to be left out – I’d train Bug if he were small enough, too!). Things might be different if Ike knows what his job is (i.e. go through the tunnel) and then discovers a rat at the end.

Everyone suggested I get a rat or a mouse to work on Ike obsessing about, but I can’t take another animal into my house right now. The two rats that were there could have cared less about the dogs – it was kind of funny. I expected them to be terrified and to feel cruel, but obviously the rats are used to this and it is their job. The club members were very caring of them, etc.