Monday, February 28, 2011

Turkey Necks, Training, and...Certification?

My lifelong habit of not wanting to load pictures from my digital camera until I have a full "roll" is impacting the amount of blogging I could have been doing...

Ferguson and I are off work again, this time until Thursday...that's quite a break!  I'm not complaining though.  I enjoy the down-time.  And, if the weather is nice enough, I'm hoping to visit my friends at campus for the first time since I moved out in December, bringing along the big red dog.  I do really miss having the Guiding Eyes "Pup in Training" jackets, but we'll have to visit the old fashioned way of staying mostly outdoors.  However, we CAN go visit sonic burger ^_^. 

Over the weekend, my parents were nice enough to visit the local turkey farm in Thurmont, and got Ferguson 10 full necks for $16...they were absolutely huge, and double the size of the duck neck he got after New Years:
Because they were so huge, we decided to cut them in half and then freeze them (they were still 6-8 inches long even after being cut) so we now have enough for the next FIVE MONTHS, if he gets one every week.  He very much enjoyed his first one he got on Saturday night, and it still took him at least five minutes to eat, even when not given a full portion.  I don't think he felt the need to complain. 

As for free time, I've divided it between working with Ferguson (with both alone training and regular training) and researching dog training certification programs.  Ferguson continues to do really well with being alone, as we're up to five minutes or longer, especially if I use the back door and then come around the front (he doesn't really know I'm gone if I cheat and leave via the backdoor).  As for other training, it's often challenging.  I've mentioned in previous posts how I'd like Ferguson to become a good canine citizen, but sitting, for many greyhounds, is not exactly an easy feat. 

Ferguson's Sit
If I CAN get him to do it, it looks like this ^

And usually when we're practicing, he only sits because he's trying to lay down and I happen to catch him before he does it.  When we work on specific behaviors, I use a clicker with soft treats, but he doesn't really seem to get it yet.  So far, he knows, "down," "place" (to go lay on his bed), "kennel up," and "stay," while we're also working on "lay over."  My main problem is that he gets too..."nervous?" about it, and when I ask him to do something, like "sit," he offers other behaviors he knows, and quickly shuts down if I say "no..." and start again.  Apparently he doesn't do well under pressure, as fun as I try to make it : /.  I suppose it will just take practice and lots of patience, but I do feel bad when he just doesn't WANT to do it and I feel like I'm making him.  *sighs*

As for acquiring certification, there are SO many different organizations/groups that offer some type of "certification," but in Maryland, there is no official title to be held.  So far, I've found it rather frustrating.  Some require extensive official hands on work, or in-depth descriptions of official classes you've led before you can apply and request to take the exam.  However, on the practice exam I took, I got every question right, and feel like I could pass the actual exam without much trouble.  It's said that doing 10,000 hours of any activity will make you almost a pro at what you do, and I'm sure I've done perhaps three times that when it comes to dogs.  So, I may have to start "teaching" classes somehow, beyond casual consultations I've done in the past to help out friends of friends.  Another thing I can do in the meantime is apply to be a Good Canine Citizen examiner, which you get a nifty badge and certificate for.  This requires an application, $50, and a written test as well, though if the application is accepted, the written test can be repeatedly taken until it is passed.  I guess I'll work on that in the meantime. 

Having some type of official recognition would be great if I wanted to start my own business involving dogs, so it's something I will indeed do my best to pursue.  Until then, we'll have to work on getting Ferguson "obedience" training up to par (can't he just lay down during the "sit" parts of the test?). 


Hiking Hounds said...

I love his sit, so cute and it kind of makes him look like a puppy.

Jenny said...

It does, lol. It's never looked more professional than that. Can't wait to go have him tested at the AKC for Good Canine Citizens test and have him sit like that, lol. I don't think it will improve much, but that's okay. At lease he makes the effort!