We are getting ready to enter the Western Regional RallyFrEe video event, so I'm trying to get in some practices. On Sunday when Gimme had her seizure, we were at DaPaws intending to practice, which obviously didn't happen. So Wednesday (yesterday) after work, I hustled us over to practice.
I set up a course of 10 behaviors and just worked them with a variable reward of 1-4 behaviors. I also set up her special bowl, then whatever the number was, if the behavior was reward-worthy I gave her the cue "yours" to run to the bowl and self-serve. Then I'd walk over and put treats in her special bowl. From there we'd walk back to where we left off and continue through to whatever number of behaviors was next on the random number list. Gimme did so well at this and was having fun. When I was sure she'd be okay with it, I did all ten behaviors, two-thirds of a novice course, and had already set up the special bowl with a lot of extra treats. Then went back to random with 1-4.
We took a break from course work to work on some other behaviors and played around with some other things. We ended with some more course work, going back to the 1-4 list. Our last behavior was one step of perfect off-side heeling.
Gimme was really trying hard and was eager to get back to work. I did notice she wasn't as quick to respond. It seemed to take her just a tad longer to respond to a cue. I've learned it can take 2-5 days to fully recover mental sharpness from a seizure episode, so I was aware I might see some evidence. I just encouraged her and rewarded a lot. I was most pleased to see her trying so hard even though she was having to put forth extra effort to stay focused.
Then last night we worked on her “one” behavior. I started awhile back with naming her paws 1-2-3-4. My goal is to at some point be able to cue a paw and add a verb to it. So “one paw” would mean to put her right front paw on whatever was presented, such as my foot or hand. Or “two high” would mean to lift her left front paw high and “two lift” would be to lift the paw off the ground, but not necessarily high like a high-five. So while this is the end goal, I realize we may never get there – verbs may simply be too advanced of a concept, even for my little genius. So for now “one” means the same as “one high”. I need paw raises for level one courses. Gimme thinks its just too easy. Tonight we’ll work on “two”.
I’m behind on reporting our tracking training, even though Nadine and I get together almost every week. Part of the reason I fall behind is because I want to show the map where applicable and it takes time to create it. Y’all would likely live without the map, but my blog also serves as our training record, so I'm making a special effort to get caught up.
I set up a practice track and Gimme did well on it. We are still having difficulty at this point trying to get her head down. Her tendency has always been to air scent and this will just not work well for tracking, whereas its fine in nosework and barn hunt.
This course was 505 yards, 4 articles on a sunny, cool day. Nadine laid three sharp turns as shown. Gimme had no trouble taking the sharp turns, but I did notice on the first and third articles, she tried to cut the corner and go directly to the nearby article (from the green dots). It was more noticeable for the third article because the direction of the breeze made it obvious, which was when I realized what was happening at the first turn.
Gimme sure loves tracking and I love watching her do her nosey thing...