I got there early, waaaaay early, so Kathy and I talked about our prop for "can". She thinks it is too high for Gimme to learn the behavior on and it might need to be a bigger diameter. She gave me a shorter prop to play with before class started. I spent some time getting Gimme used to just getting on with her back feet and by the time I finished, she was able to take a pivoting step or two at a time. So, clearly its not too small in diameter, which is great since its very close to the size of our intended prop. Kathy also gave me some better ideas for how to both stabilize and weight our prop, which I hope to get done this weekend. Meanwhile, I'm certain I have a detergent bucket I sawed off short to use as a outdoor water dish which should be the perfect size for the initial part of training the rear pivot.
Today's class was mostly about charging up our training so the dog is very eager to play the game. Kathy set up two simple courses of 8 stations, with a line of gating between them.
~ The first time out, we were to do our start-work routine, approach the first station (a right or left side heel sign) and break off for a big party.
~ The second time we were to do our start-work routine, approach the first station, take one step past it and break off for a big party.
~ The third time we were to do our start-work routine, then work the course, with a party-reward following each station. If the dog did a station poorly, we were to do what was needed so they could do it right and earn the party-reward.
Kathy was careful to select pairs of dogs who wouldn't be likely to create problems for the dogs with issues. We have six dogs in class and three of them have issues. The way it was set up, the dogs should not be closer than 30' to each other, but of course its always possible as each team has different timing. I really appreciate how thoughtful Kathy is. Gimme did very well paired up with Jazzie, a laid-back Sheltie. She looked at her briefly at first and then ignored her. After we did our course, Kathy had me coach the handlers on our side of the room, while she worked with the two beginners one at a time.
After this exercise we were each given a margarine lid and instructed to use it like a bait plate in special bowl style. We started with very simple exercises and then released our dog to reward from the lid. Gimme seemed to find the lid very distracting, so I had to work a bit farther away from it so she could resist the distraction. As I recall we had this issue with special bowl. Naturally she was doing brilliantly, until Kathy came over to watch. I really should get back to doing more special bowl work. I liked the results I was getting and then kind of got away from it when I was working on other things.
For our last exercise, we worked one of the courses, one at a time. Kathy set up a bait plate strategically located for each station, so we could release the dog to it for a reward. The four more advanced dogs did the full courses; the two beginners did an abbreviated course of 4 simple stations. If the dog did a station poorly, we were to do what was needed so they could do it right and earn the reward.
Naturally I think Gimme did the best. There were a couple of places where she had difficulty, but with a little help she was able to get it right and earn her reward.
I really do have to get back to training the special bowl. In case you've forgotten what its about, you can read what we did before at: