Baby Thor

Baby Thor

Training Thor

In January 2010, Thor, a 5-month-old weimaraner, came crashing into my life.

Here, I will outline the steps taken to train him to be a well-mannered dog,

to do agility, and to perform some service dog tasks.

At five months, he is pretty wild.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Thor and I went to Shatford Park, New Lebanon, New York this morning; many agility trials are held there.  This morning there was one other car but the park was empty of people and other dogs.  Perfect!  I let Thor out of the car, no leash.  He sniffed, peed, ran around.  I started clicking and treating any time he approached me.  Sometimes I called if he started roaming too far.  He always came back. 

After a while, he was tuned in enough to do some flat work.  Flat work is foundation work for agility.  No obstacles are used, but the dog learns to follow the handler's body language.  We worked in circles about 15 feet in diameter; Thor's circles were bigger.  I changed direction so he was on both sides but always on the outside.  Eventually, he will learn to slow down enough to be on the inside but not yet.  In my flat work book, the dog is working in heel position (both sides) right next to the handler.  Thor was not right next to me.  Since I cannot go faster than a walk, he is obviously much faster.  And I want distance in agility, so I allowed Thor to work about 15 feet away from me.  He remained focused at that distance and I was very happy.  I interrupted each set of circles with free run time to give Thor's brain a break.  Thor was off leash throughout.  We still need to do some leash work so he learns to walk nicely when leashed.  But that's not as much fun!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Thor and I have been playing agility in the backyard for months.  On August 7, we attended a pre-novice agility seminar with Abbie Tamber.  I was so proud of Thor who showed off some good beginning skills!  I learned that he has good impulse control with food (something we had worked on) and very poor impulse control with toys (which we had NOT worked on). So we have been working with toys which has turned out to be much harder.  Thor will now sit in the presence of a toy, even if I wave it.  He will take it and release it on cue.  Hooray!  I was very pleased with how well Thor paid attention in the presence of other dogs/distractions.

Yesterday, we had our first formal agility class.  It was in the building so the other dogs were closer than they had been outside at the seminar.  This was hard for Thor who really wanted to play!  In his exuberance, he pulled me to the ground (but only once!).  He displayed his love of tunnels and exhibited a bit of zoominess but came back to me very quickly.  He had trouble walking straight through the ladder, probably because we have only played 101 Things to Do With a Ladder, where Thor is rewarded for anything he does; there is no criteria.  In class, we were asked to walk our dogs from one end to the other.  Hard!

After class, our instructor Kathy emailed me with this comment:  "You and Thorry did great yesterday, he is a LOT of dog but sooooo responsive to you - great job!!" 

I was delighted that Kathy read Thor so well!  She is a gifted instructor, and we are lucky to be in her class.