On Thursday we had our regular every other week RallyFrEe practice. In some ways Gimme did much better than she has been doing.
Session 1 video
Our first session went well. I had stashed treats around the room, so I expected Gimme to be distracted by them as she smelled them. The first stash was right inside the door. If she was distracted, I gave her a moment to recover and if she didn't, I moved us farther away until she had enough distance to recover. Pulling hard toward a distraction, making the leash straight, also caused me to move farther away. Gimme really seemed to understand the message from this approach, so often we were able to walk right by the distraction afterward. Stuff at the far end of the room has always been more distracting for her - probably because its where the day care and people coming and going happens. We worked distraction for 3 minutes.
When we worked the course, I planned to ask for more attention duration in "setup" and to use more movement throughout. Kathy and I are working together to find the best combination for Gimme, now before Mommy-brain hits again. She thinks the short distances of heeling in RFE between stations is disruptive to focus for Gimme, so I am trying to do extra loops of heeling between stations and whenever she seemed to lose focus. I thought it worked well. The day care dogs seemed especially noisy today. Also as we were trying to do the second station this guy came to take his ladder away (4:20). I had stashed a pile of treats
on it and he moved them to the table. I did notice in the video I was having her come toward me and then switch sides before heeling. I want to change it up so I heel away on whatever side she comes in on and then change her to the other side, if need, at a point farther away, so its smoother and she gets the moving benefit closer in time to the distraction. I think this works a whole lot better than backing up to reset for a station. In hindsight I realize we've done mostly Sit Stand, instead of the Down Stand station, so its something to work on. We haven't practiced the center-front-pivot in a long time, so I was happy it went as well as it did. I see I "forgot" to do a heeling loop once I got into the diagonal of the course. We've been struggling with the figure-8-2x for awhile, so I was pleased she was able to do it here with my new cuing. None of this was brilliant, but I did think she did better and seemed to be happier and more confident, so we're headed in the right direction. I was sure surprised to see it was a 15 minute session.
Session 2 video
The issue I was having for the "turn" is the tightness of her turn. I want her to turn tight to the right for the spin on this side, just like she does "spin" on the other side. Instead her inclination is to take a step or so forward before turning. Its something we've been working on. I think it takes me too long to switch gears when something isn't working. Gimme seemed distracted from the start and yet it takes me 3 minutes to switch to more movement oriented work. At 4:00 the guy comes back with the ladder. He proves very distracting to Gimme so we move toward the other end of the room and later even farther still. From there we just worked heeling and attention and pretty much gave up on doing stations. I'm just not sure why she was so unfocused this time since she's usually better on the second session.
Session 3 video
Since I was expecting her to be distracted, I just came in and started with focus work right away. I should probably do this more often. I thought this was the cleanest of the three sessions.
On Friday (the next day), Nadine and I met for an urban tracking session. Gimme didn't do nearly as well as I've come to expect. Granted, its been 6 weeks since we did urban, so she's had time to forget some. But, I think she may have been on "THE special day" of her season. This RFE practice was only the day before, so she may have been more distracted because of this. Just a thought.