"Be a Splitter, Not a Lumper"
I realized I was lumping again. Darn it! It was Candy who pointed out my last lumpish training... She noticed it when I went straight from good indications on other things without odor, to working odor and boxes together. Both boxes and odor get Gimme excited, so adding them together was sure to be a hard increment for her. Well duh. If I'd thought it through, I would have realized I was lumping.
So I worked for awhile with just an odor tin in my hand. It went very smoothly and Gimme did so well with it, so quickly. Then in class she was able to apply what she had learned to indications on other things. Overall she's done very nicely.
Of course, we have a trial in 7 days and I'm trying to get us up to indicating boxes without pawing, just in case there are some in containers. So what do I do, but lump it all together... training both odor and boxes together. Shame on me.
Today after I realized I was guilty of lumping, I changed to just placing her paw on a box. I got a pre-trashed box, a big bowl of treats and a clicker. During the commercials I counted out ten treats, got the beat up box and the clicker and cued her "paw" behavior, rewarding liberally. During the course of one movie we got in ten short sessions and at least 100 repetitions.
I didn't move off the couch myself, so had to set the box on the back of the couch behind me - or she's force me to train her against my will. Still since it never really went away, she was less excited by it when I presented it. Essentially splitting even further and, as a result, she did much better than she has over the last couple of days.
Toward the end I was able to start working on duration. Any time Gimme thought I was taking too long, she'd pick her paw up about 1/2 inch and then gently set it down again. Hinting, doncha know... Ordinarily I wouldn't reward her when she breaks duration, but in this case I did. Duration isn't really the issue for this behavior - I was just using it to solidify the not-pawing. So in my opinion, the fact she set her paw down carefully when she was likely experiencing some frustration - well, to me it deserved rewarding.
I DO love the way she thinks.