Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
SDS-N, ADPL5, ADPCH and ADPL1(2GC)... 30 and counting...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

New Title #30

Well we did it - we just got word that our submission for ADPL1(2GC) met the requirements, so Gimme is awarded the title. This is her 30th title.

I got it ready while we were waiting on results from the previous title. This was our first submission on the Grand Champion track, which has different requirements at each level than regular. So, I wanted to get it in with plenty of time to spare in case I had to re-video something. Catching a time when it's not raining, it's daylight, and I'm not working or otherwise unavailable, gets challenging this time of year.

This site was a challenge. I got almost everything taped and then realized the thing I'd planned to jump-clean wasn't going to work. So you'll see I found a piece of branch which had fallen from a tree, propped it against the playground equipment to make a jump. Gimme thought I was nuts, but fortunately she'll do anything if the pay is right. I used a piece of the same branch to weave through the tennis net to hold the bottom up so Gimme could go "below" it. I want to teach her to push under on her own for another title. The jump-assisted had to be redone because I dropped the leash and the rules say she can't use an EF higher than her elbow if she's off leash. So we went back to do it with me threading a longer leash through the opening.

The final bugaboo was getting the tree weaves. Doing it with six trees made us soooooo small at the other end I thought we'd be too hard to see. So we did it again with four trees, but when I reviewed it at home, saw a car had come too close at the very end (the trees are in a landscaping strip right next to the road - in a residential area).  While I trust Gimme to "come" when I call her, I didn't want to show it publicly.  So again we went and this time got it, on the 9th try. Who knew there'd be so much more traffic at 2:00 p.m. At least I could be happy at all the wonderful recall practice Gimme got.

You can see the video at: Lakepointe Park parkour video.

Naturally I had to reward Gimme's efforts with a steak-cake and a new toy.  The cake was decorated with 30 peanut butter chips.

Gimme thinks posing with her cake and toy are overrated and she should be allowed to immediately get down to the business of enjoying them.

For a few minutes, as I was cutting the tags off the toy, I thought the steak-cake might be ignored.  The cake only lasted a few seconds.  I think Gimme knew the delay would be minimal.  She's sleeping with Mr. Frog as we speak... 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Nosework (4/28)

Gimme was quite put out about the sweater - she doesn't think it suits her. I had to get a size larger than would have been correct because they didn't have her size. She decided she liked it better after everyone made a fuss before the first search. Of course it didn't keep her from taking it off the next day.

Exterior 1 video - Our first search was outside around a bunch of construction stuff. The video isn't good in some places, but it's enough to give you an idea of how she handled this search. Gimme was the only dog to go down the right side and I think it contributed to how fast she found the first two hides. Other dogs got close to the second hide, then moved around to the other side before coming back to source it. She had passed the threshold hide on the way into the search area, finding it quickly at the end.

These two interior searches were about working thresholds. I didn't think they were effective for Gimme, since we have worked out our own style on thresholds where I let her burst into the area and then ease her back toward the threshold. If it's off leash, I let her go and hang around the threshold, which draws her back. I've had judges compliment our approach. I thought Gimme found this exercise frustrating, as did I a little bit.

Interior 1 video - Set up using four thresholds: the door to the foyer, door to training room, door to bathroom, and door going out the back. Gimme did the best on the door to the foyer, probably because it was a small area and she's not used to bursting in there. Other than jerking my arm off as she expected to burst into the training room, she actually did pretty good on this hide too. The hide in the bathroom took forever - I never would have stuck there in a trial. The hide going out the back door went really fast.

Interior 2 video - Same general layout, but each hide was moved a bit. The last hide was moved inside the back door. Gimme would have walked the first hide, had the leash not brought her back - even so she had it in 30 seconds. She was very fast on the second hide. She was much faster on the bathroom and caught the last hide quickly as well. Gimme shaved 40 seconds off this series of searches.

These were nice searches after having a week off. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Carla's Toys

Here is Gimme inspecting my new toys.  She thought they were surely for her.

Gimme is unimpressed with the whole idea that I think *I* should get to have three toys of my own, when she only has a few hundred for herself.

Aren't they just the cutest things.  I am unreasonably happy with my find.  I want 20 more... so I could have a whole community of them.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Urban Tracking (59, 60 & 61)

On Friday, Nov. 3rd we met with Nadine at Game Farm Park.

Based on the book we were scheduled to set up a zig-zag track with intentional contamination. So we each laid track for the other, meeting in the middle on the west side of the park, and then we each followed the paved path back to the cars, going through the track the other laid, thus laying our own contamination.

The conditions were cool and wet (my shoes were soaked quickly), slight breeze, and aged 30 minutes. There was a loose dog on part of our track (green circle) as well as two walkers with a dog. Black line is the track, blue squares are articles and red dashed line along the gray paved path is my contamination, which was also the route the walkers/dog went.

As we ran the track, Nadine followed, walking her old dog Skookum about 15 yards behind us. I would have had her back off or stop following altogether, but it wasn't necessary. Gimme was a bit distracted in the beginning, but then decided to ignore Skookum.

Gimme did a great job crossing the path and my contamination, with no real sign she was having trouble sorting it out. This is really nice, since she follows my track most Saturdays, so it's a nice sign she stayed committed to the track even though she crossed my familiar smell. She did have a little problem with the second corner, where the loose dog was playing, but finally worked it out. Overall she did a nice job.

On Thursday, Nov. 9th, we met with Nadine at Auburn Cinema.

We are doing the parking lot sessions twice, since tracking on pavement is harder for our dogs, plus it works well with our schedule. We like to do the cinema on Thursdays when the parking lot sweeper isn't there (and doesn't vacuum up our articles).  We repeated the session from two weeks earlier, switching sides of the parking lot. It was three straight tracks of 75, 100 and 125 yards. The conditions were wet and cool, with an easy breeze.

Gimme did very nicely on the 75 and 100 yard tracks; she was right on the track almost the whole time. For the last track, she started out well, then got distracted by parking lot trash (which is really everywhere there). Nadine had to make a 30-degree bend in the track because a man was there with a big truck working on the electrical panel. So instead of a straight track, it bent to the left for 20 yards and then bent right to follow the curb for 5 yards to the final glove. When Gimme got to this puzzle, it seemed to get her attention and she focused and did beautifully for the last 25 yards.

On Saturday, Nov. 11th, Gimme and I went to Medline.

I wanted to give her a different challenge, so I planned to take her track up to the building and along the front of it. The track turned out much longer than I realized, 542 yards. She can do long tracks, but I think it was really unnecessary given the challenges. The conditions were good, cool and wet and the track was 30 minutes old.

The dashed line is a covered picnic area. I know from our seminars with Sil Sanders how much covered areas affect the behavior of scent. The circles are picnic tables. The orange table had three women sitting at it when we ran the track. They got up and walked closer to us before turning to go in the door (just as we came up to the second table).

Overall Gimme did well. She was a little unfocused on the first and second legs. She did fine crossing the landscaping and made the turn nicely on the sidewalk next to the building. The presence of the women was distracting and when they moved it was even more so.  Once they were in the building, Gimme was able to get back to work. She seemed to lose focus on the last two legs, but, as always, was happy to find her articles.

I'd like to do this again. I think I can do a better job setting articles closer to the challenges, so they make more effective reward points. I'd also want to make this a shorter track. The last three legs were 207 yards which added nothing.

Gimme is progressing nicely on this urban stuff.  It was really slow going at first, but there has been a LOT of progress this summer.  I love how she is so easily motivated and always up for whatever thing I want to do. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Titles #28 and 29

I was so busy through much of the summer and didn't spend much time doing dog-stuff. So Gimme and me have been on mad dash to make my goal before we close out 2017. We're almost there.

This weekend we learned we completed the requirements for parkour titles ADPL5 and ADPCH. This required us to qualify on three level five submissions.

Homann Park video - This was easy to video, but I made a mistake and misunderstood the rules. I knew at level 5 we had to have two advanced behaviors, but I had missed the requirement for them to be two different advanced behaviors. So I had to go back to video another advanced behavior and then resubmit. 

Lake Lois Park video - This was a good site, but I kept going back to change things. I review all the individual clips on the camera before I leave, but invariably see something else once I get it home on a larger screen. There was some question on a jump I had Gimme do. Since I let go of the leash it had to be below her elbow. I hadn't understood this particular nuance of the rules, so was lucky to be just within the rules.

Decatur Park video - This was a nice site with great props (environmental features), but it's right in the middle of a housing area and kids are coming and going a lot of the time. It had a nice set of trails attached, so Gimme and I got to take a nice relaxing walk in the middle of one session, waiting for some kids to leave.

The rules don't let us use playgrounds when children are using them. I typically plan what I'm going to do and then take video in whatever order works for the day. Often I have to wait for kids to leave or I have to come back another time.

While I was waiting for the results on ADPL5/CH I've already taken video for the next submission. It'll be my first for the Grand Champion track, so I hope I have it right. I'll be preparing it tonight. I want to get it submitted right away so I have time between rainstorms to get over there and redo a video if I have to change something.

I'm also scouting the area for the right features to use for the International Dog Parkour Association's new titling program - specialty titles. I want to do the Walk-On, Four-On and Below specialties. There is another, Tic-Tac, but we haven't trained the behavior well enough and I'd be concerned about the physical stress unless it was well trained. I haven't actually looked at the requirements, so I may reconsider at some point.

Gimme loves parkour and I love anything Gimme loves.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

RFE practice (56)

When we arrived they had a crew taking down Halloween decorations in the same room we were using. J'Anna's dog couldn't have handled it, but I used it as an opportunity to reinforce working through distraction. I waited too long to use "whazzat", but when I remembered it was so much clearer for Gimme.

Backward weaves video - The way I was working this last time didn't work this week. My idea to use a hand touch and using the guides to channel her were both a bust. I ended up switching to a back-up target and working on getting her backing through my legs and then switching it up so she was backing the first part of the weave. It was hard to keep it straight in my head, but once I got it, then she did better. Initially I was trying to back into position for her, but it worked better when I walked around her and stepped over. I think she was confused by the time we've spent working on backing at heel or side, so when I walked across the front the "wait" was clearer.

Backing in heel video - I use the guides to create a barrier so we can work without the fishtail affect. She seemed inclined to curl behind me in "side" position, which is odd since it's her less comfortable turning direction. I think it may be a holdover from all the work we did on "izzy". When I broke it down to shorter distances she seemed to get it.

"Fanny" video - I set up parallel guides so I could be sure Gimme was aligned when I was rewarding her, since she's had a tendency to be off to one side or the other. The first thing I had to do was encourage Gimme to come into the channel. I don't think she was worried by it, just confused. Once she realized the treats would come in there, she was all about going in with me. At home I can set up a line of platforms to encourage her to stay in position.

Sidepass into dog video - She tries different responses to the hand signal, such as up-"touch", "kisses", spins (as if she thinks I'm luring a spin) and even takes it as a new cue for "otto". I think this generally means she's confused and is just trying different things to see what will make me happy. I think coming up with a distinct hand signal would be a fast solution. I was going to use "slip" for a verbal cue, but "move" has a more distinct sound. I like the hand cue I was using (I'd have both hands out with a bit of a sashay to it) and I think I need to do a few clicks her for standing beside me without popping up. I will probably get penalized for the hand cue, but I'm willing to take the hit for now.

Interestingly, in practice I found the high hand signal unnecessary. What I've been doing is using the near-hand as needed, to remind her where she needs to be. I just drop the hand in front of where she needs to be and she's drawn back into position. I've only done it during the one practice though, so it's too soon to know if it's the answer.

Distance behaviors video - I did learn we can't use her brick or any other target for the distance behavior, so I'm working on other options. The requirement is for Gimme to back up four steps and then perform an independent behavior (not sit or down). So here I'm working on her doing independent behaviors behind a barrier. She actually does "spin" and "turn" behind the kitchen gate, but this is the first time I've asked her to do it anywhere else. I can see my timing is off; it should be verbal cue then hand signal and I am mushing them together. It doesn't help that I then get confused and use the wrong verbal. Poor Gimme, it's a wonder she ever gets her cues right. For the second session we work on down behind the barrier, with no directional discrimination. This is when she offers me "scoot", a behavior we haven't worked on in a verrrrry long time.

"Mark" video - I was focusing on rewarding duration of the head-down. I'm training this using backchaining, since it is a sequence. We get to 4½ seconds on the last one. When Gimme doesn't know what is expected, she starts offering behaviors and we'd been stuck at 3 seconds for awhile, so this was nice improvement. I do have to say it's a good thing I don't need her tail to be still. Just sayin...

Finding positions video - When she's done a lot of brain work, I like to do our finding positions game. She gets to chase a thrown treat when she finds the correct position, which burns off any built up stress or frustration. Sometimes I throw in some "thru" to make it more interesting.

"Grape" & "scoot" video - Since Gimme was offering me "scoot" (backwards crawl) in our second distance session, I decided to let her end with it. Of course, she then gives me "grape" instead. But we get "scoot" afterward. It really is a cute behavior and I should work on it for free choice. We are due for another one.

We covered a lot of ground in these sessions. Some of what we are working on isn't needed until we get to advanced. Between now and our entry into the World Wide RFE video event I'll be focusing on intermediate behaviors.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Nosework (3/28)

In honor of Halloween we did totally blind searches, meaning in total darkness (as we've done for the last two years at this time). Handlers and dogs wore little glow stick necklaces, so you could see where they were. There were also glow sticks on the floor and near the hides, so you could get a small sense of what was going on. Obviously no videos.

Interior 1 - Four hides in the dark. Gimme moved around at very close to her normal speed. There was no sign of the dark being a hindrance. Of course, the superior night vision of animals is well known and given how she searched it certainly seems true.

Interior 2 - The 4 hides were all moved, but Gimme still found them quickly. This was much easier for her than it was for me - I walked into a couple chairs.

Interior 3 - One odor-bomb hide, placed under a table, inside a couple of ex-pens, with some chairs and other obstacles. There were three ways in, but they weren't obvious even when the lights were on. Gimme very quickly found the scent and sniffed all the way around the puzzle. Then she left the it, taking a quick tour of the room, scanning for an easier hide. After the 20 second room scan she came back to the puzzle and quickly found her way in to the hide. One curious thing - all the dogs went in whatever way they found and then exited one of the other ways. Not one of them retraced their route to get out of the puzzle.

It was clear they weren't hampered by the darkness.

Since then I've submitted our level 5 parkour entries to All Dogs Parkour. I should get the results soon (last time I submitted it only took five days). When it comes Gimme will have titles #28 and #29. Meanwhile I've already taped the behaviors for our level 1 entries toward her parkour Grand Championship. This will be our 30th title, my goal for this year. We'll need ten more entries to get the GC.