We met J'Anna at Pawsabilties for RallyFrEe training this morning. My emphasis was on focus, attention and confidence.
Session 1 video - We didn't spend much time adapting to the environment and overall I thought she did better than she has the last few practices. I tried an "all done" as we've been doing in training, but it bothered her (hence kissy face). She was distracted now and then, but mostly better. There were a couple times she needed help with cues, but much better than recent practices. After about two-thirds of the course, we worked on some box with a container she hasn't done before, with high sides and small footprint. It was challenging, but she did well and seemed to like it. She did okay getting back to RFE stations, a couple good stations, a couple not so good. Ended with a nice "take-a" bow - well aligned (no butt-out).
Session 2 video - Gimme was distracted by smells of where the other dog had been. Sometimes it seems worse when she doesn't actually see the other dog. It doesn't help when I use the wrong cue. She did well off and on. On the off stations we work through fine tuning. At one point I was working "set-up" to refocus her and also hearing a lot of barking and some weird comments from the daycare room. From the sound of it, it sounded a bit out-of-control and I didn't know what they'd do, and could see Gimme was starting to lose focus. So I opted to do some "box" just in case the unpredictable was about to happen, didn't want to set her up for a bad experience. If you wonder why she didn't immediately get box treats, she has to have all four in the box to count. I think we should have done "set-up" again to get her back in focus. After the circle-turn she kept offering me "take-a" which always ends a run, maybe her way of saying, "I'm brain-done". I sometimes do another behavior or two after the bow to break this association of bow=done and I really should have this time. Put extra effort into some behaviors on the way to the end. We finally get to the bow and she goes into food frenzy, so when I do get her to do it right I do extended metronome feeding in position. Metronome feeding is both calming and has the advantage of extending the reward period. The food frenzy seems to be a side affect of Keppra at this dose, but I've been seeing less food frenzy lately, so she may be adjusting.
"Box" work video - We spent some time doing a bit of "box" work. I do metronome feeding to extend the duration of the behavior. If the metronome hand is coming in with a treat and a foot comes out of the bottom of the box/container, then the hand immediately goes away taking the treat with it. Gimme is quickly learning to keep all four feet in.
We've also been working on teaching Gimme to accept being on her back for a veterinary procedure tomorrow. We did it for her appointment on Monday (with no training in advance) and she struggled so much the sample was contaminated. More importantly, she was so stressed, I saw signs of it all day. They want to do a sterile needle-draw of urine directly from her bladder. While some vets do it standing, mine wants the dogs laying on their back in this wedge-shaped block. Gimme rolls over every morning to have her tummy rubbed, but this does not translate to being a willing participant in this situation.
So we've been practicing every day with her being on her back and getting to lick her peanut butter go toob the whole time. She's gotten a lot better and while not what I would call relaxed, she does willingly stay on her back when the go toob is taken away - hoping it will come back right away. I still don't think she'll like it tomorrow, but I'll be happy if she can accept it without fighting and being stressed. Cross your fingers.
BTW we've moved up to #4 on the NW3 trial waitlist. According to the trial secretary it is still possible we could get in, if at least 4 of the people ahead of me title. Of course, no one should even be entered in two trials in the same area close to the same time. So I personally don't think its gonna happen. Guess we'll have to go to a barn hunt trial instead, eh...