Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
NW1, NW2, L1I, L1E, L1C, RATI, RATN, RATO, RATS, L1V, L2C, L2I, L2E, RATM,
R-FE/N, PKD-TL, PKD-N, ADPL1, ADPL2, TD, UWP, ADPL3, NTD, TKN, L2V and ADPL4...
26 and counting...


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Parkour (2/3)

I left home at 4:15, just fifteen minutes later than last week.  Last week the drive was 1:10, which left us 45 minutes to wait for class to start.  Starting 15 minutes later made it an 1:55 drive, so we were late, not to mention how tired I was from spending nearly 2 hours in rush hour traffic.  Clearly I'll have to find something to do for 45 minutes each week.

Gimme did well in class despite being so close to being in full false pregnancy.  We worked on various things and I was able to get some videos.

I have two short clips of Gimme working on a narrow balance board (a 2x4) over a short distance.  This is the narrowest she's done and the best she's done.  I think it made a difference having such a short distance.  She did better going toward Jo, we think because Jo's foot steadying the board was a little bit in the way and made her slow down, so Gimme didn't try putting two feet on and then hopping to the end.  Balance board 1 video  I thought she did better overall during the first session, but she never stops trying.  She was definitely cheating to hop to the end during the second session.  We chose to end her on a pass where she was going toward Jo and not cheating.  Balance board 2 video

We did a session on the ladder, where Jo turned it over and the dogs only had the narrow side of a 2x4 to step on.  The other side is the wide edge of a 2x6.  Going from right-to-left, the dogs could only see the narrow side of the 2x4.  Going from left-to-right they could see the underside of the wide edge of the 2x6 and the 2x4 and Jo thinks they may not fully comprehend the visual.  Ladder video  You'll notice a distinct difference in how well Gimme did it based on which way she is going. 

Then we had some course work to do.  I was able to set the tripod and camera up on a bar stool and get a pretty good view of the entire course.  Sequence 1 video  Gimme was ignoring the box at the corner after the ladder, so I had to work to get her in there and she normally loves "box" as her favorite parkour behavior.  I had her show off a partial "Dumbo" on the corner bucket.  Its a bit small, so hard for her to keep all her feet on it. 

For the second sequence, it was the same course.  Sequence 2 video  Gimme did better about getting into the "box".  The delay for the reward was because she had her foot up on the side and I wanted to make sure I only rewarded a proper box behavior (all feet in).  Gimme didn't think I had any business asking her to go "below" the board, but handled it very well when she bumped it and it moved.  She was very distracted by noises coming from the other side of the wall (a private agility lesson), so it took her a few moments to focus and do "hands" on the chair. 

For the last five minutes of class, we were able to work on whatever we wanted.  I focused on "hands", where she has the most stimulus control difficulty.  Many things I ask her to do "hands" on are also props she could do "table" with and she just assumes if she can she should get on with all four.  So for our little session, we started doing "hands" to things she couldn't/wouldn't do "table".  Then when she was in "hands" mode, we did it on a couple props where she could do table.  Then when she was successfully just doing "hands", I had her do "table".  Then back to "hands" again.  This worked well and I need to make sure I do it more often until she understands to listen and do the behavior I'm actually cuing.

She was tired after ending with this brain work and slept all the way home. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

RFE Practice (20)

We had scheduled an extra practice in case we needed it for videoing.  It wasn't needed, so we just practiced.  Gimme is well on her way into her false pregnancy.  For over a week she's been woofing in the evening at noises I can't hear.  Over the last few days, I'd noticed when I was sewing, she would go curl up under the desk in the office.  I thought she was sulking, but then realized she's nesting.  If I sit on the couch, no matter how hot it is, she has to be next to me under the covers.  When we got to Pawsabilities yesterday, she whined and fussed the whole time.  Even after her first session she whined and fussed.  I gave her a toy for a baby, so she whined a little quieter.  She still doesn't have a baby, but she is pretty needy.

Session 1 video - Since she was acting like the beginning of Mommy-brain, I started with just taking our time to train reorienting in the doorway.  The garage door is open, but has wire panels secured across it (sorry about the glare).  It initially is a distraction, but she gets over it pretty quickly.  We did a few reps of up-touch.  Because Gimme tends to be more emotional during her false pregnancies, I tried to stick with a lot of movement and doing things where I could keep a high rate of reinforcement.  When she gets distracted, you'll see me reach my hand to touch her - I'm tickling her neck to help her refocus.  I'm too slow to change direction when she gets distracted.  At about 7:30 you'll see Gimme get really distracted toward the open door - then you hear the voice.  A man came over to see what we were doing.  I was too slow to get into training-through-distraction mindset, but when I did, Gimme did well.  Men are a big distraction for her, since she has no standards and loves them all.  We did just a few spins/turns and the like and she basically had to be reminded for all of them.  I really shouldn't have tried to do the "side" and "heel" shifts.  She got it finally, but I don't think we got any benefit there.  Overall she did well, even though I had to scale it down a bit for her (but not nearly as much as in the past).  Time will tell how this works out, but I'm feeling encouraged.

Session 2 video - The training reorienting at the door during the first session didn't completely transfer into the second session, though I did miss clicking a head turn.  When I am clicking, I'm terribly late.  Gimme really enjoyed my treat-spitting practice.  She's such a giving person.  I notice she seems to lean further away the more of these I do in a row, so in the future will limit it to just five at a time.  My treat-spitting in motion is still a disaster.  I thought her heeling this session was even better than the first session, more duration with attention.  J'Anna had her pivot prop out so I was going to let Gimme "pivot" on it.  Instead she wanted to do "Dumbo" (on with all 4 feet and spin in place), so I went with it.  Its a little smaller than our usual "Dumbo" prop, so she had a challenge staying on during the spin.  We did some finding position and she did well.  At one point she sort of stalled in front of me, until I realized I was saying "setup" and not telling her which position.  Dumb handler.  At one point around 12:20 she just suddenly couldn't remember how to find "side".  I think her brain was just used up.  We got through it, did one more very similar rep and then quit.  Honestly, it was a lot of work for her condition.

One of the things I really loved seeing was having the second session be better than the first.  This has never happened before.  It wasn't a big-Big difference, but noticeable.  Most particularly I noticed she was able to do heeling with more duration and attention than the first session.  Overall I was very pleased with how this went. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Practice List (1)

Despite my best intentions to make a TicTac board, I had to abandon the plan.  I'm trying very hard to have a migraine.  I woke up with one in the middle of the night, but then it went away.  I did well on our walk and such.  But then when I tried to work outside this afternoon, the glare did me in.  I think the sun is too low in the sky and I can't avoid it hitting me in the eye.  I was getting decidedly nauseous, so thought indoor practice was in order.  Doing the list from the other day seemed a good start.

more door reorientation
I did door reorientation in the house, 30 reps.  In my small hallway I have four doors, so was able to get a LOT of  repetitions in a very short time.  I learned I needed to just tell her "g'won" and not motion with my hand since she thought I might be tossing a treat.  We did another 5 reps in the doorway to the kitchen and 5 reps at the door to the front porch.  I found I could send her through the door and reward, then pivot into place beside her and send her through the same door in the other direction.  So our 40 reps total, took less than 3 minutes.  We'll see how she does tomorrow at Pawsabilities.

treat spitting
As predicted, Gimme enjoys helping me with this.  I want to get good enough so she doesn't have to pop out of position to catch the treat.  This must be much easier for flat chested people - I can't believe how many of the treats hit my boob and bounce into the outer atmosphere.  I have to lean my head over so I can half-spit-half-drop the treat to her with just a little puff.  Gimme thinks I could perfect my technique with 50 reps a day for a month.  Its a sacrifice she's willing to make.

As I got a little better in accuracy, Gimme got a LOT better at catching without popping out of position.  I think she learned she didn't have to leap for each one and was able to just stretch her neck out to catch it.  She must've realized staying put made them come faster when she didn't have to re-find position.  No doubt being better focused on my face helped too.

up "touch"
We did 10 reps on each side.  For awhile I was getting nice strong up-touches, but then they started getting weaker.  I belatedly realized this must take a lot of thigh and core strength.  Next time we'll only do 5 reps each side.

with her in "heel" or "side", I step away sideways and then re-cue it, so she moves back into position without me luring her -combined this with- finding "side"
I had to take much smaller steps than I started with.  With bigger steps she moved a bit behind me then into position.  When I took smaller steps, she figured out to shift sideways into position.  I needed to make the steps even smaller when she was on the right "side".  This will help us with our side-passes, which have been unsuccessful in the past, probably because I was taking larger steps. We did extra reps on the right "side", counting them as finding "side". 

backing up in "heel" or "side" and remaining standing
I noticed earlier I have a tendency to practice things first on the left, then on the right.  No wonder her left position behaviors are stronger.  So for this I started with right "side".  Taking a lesson from what we did with shifting sideways (above), I made sure to start with small steps.  If Gimme shifted back, she got a click/treat, if she reset herself in a big way, then she got nothing but another opportunity.  It went well and it took her no time to figure this out.

"heel" or "side" stops
I started in "side" position and alternated every second rep.  I started with normal speed movement and then got more abrupt in my stops.  Its hard to be unpredictable since my indoor space is limited to an 8' line of travel.  In order to get more speed I had to start in one direction, make a sharp u-turn and then stop abruptly.  I couldn't believe how hard it was for me to click her stop - I kept clicking too early when she was still moving.  Of course, this got her to stop sharply with me to get her treat, so she still learned from it.  I really only caught her once, by taking a large running step into a stop.  Which is something I'd never do in real heeling.   She figured out this game really quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it.

finding "center"
She used to be really good at this and then it got weak, but tonight she was on fire.  I've never tried spitting treats at her in center, thinking it would make her sit.  I didn't see this and the beauty was, it quickly got her off hand hunting.  She found the optimal treat catching spot was about 8 inches from my knees.  I think she didn't sit because I kept it moving.  Besides when she did, there was a delay before the treat came, since she had to respond to a "stand" cue first.  She magically got right back into doing our center-front-pivot, which used to be her star performance.

my footwork on front cross - handler
This turned out to have two factors.  One was clarifying my body language, since Gimme takes any backward shift/twitch of my shoulder to indicate she is supposed to back around me in that direction.  I learned I needed to step in front of her, pivot in place and then step back into my new position.  I was able to do this smoothly, but decided I needed to teach her to take more responsibility for staying put.

So part two was getting her to hold a standing "wait".  I probably need to work on this in all positions, but tonight just stuck with the front-cross-handler requirement.  It started well, but when I tried spacing out the treats, she got fidgety.  So I brought out the standing platform to clarify her job.  This went very well and we got several good reps before moving on to other things.

a tighter "turn" (right position spin without a step forward before turning)
I started with a couple of really early clicks and then it proceeded nicely.  I did see her stopping this spin at an angle, so cued her to "side" to finish it.  After a couple reps with the extra cue she was doing the full spin on her own.  Smart girl.

more duration on right side "take-a" bow
She has better duration in heel position because this is where she is when she bows for her tracking article indication.  There's no reason we couldn't do the article indication with her on my right except the times I've tried it, she keeps pivoting to get back on the heel side.  Rather than risk messing up her article indication, I decided to work on this elsewhere and then introduce it with a couple of article circles where tracking isn't the main thing. We did 2 reps, 10 treats each, with her between me and the couch.  She thought this was heaps of fun.

and of course, "cane" and "orbit"
We did ten reps on both sides.  She did well here at home.  I need to find opportunities to practice this during our walks and while waiting in other environments so it gels for her.

This whole training session took a long time and we used up about 250 treats.  And this my friends, is the beauty of a Gimme's false pregnancies (at least early on).  She will work for food, endless quantities of food.  Babies are arriving any day now and she KNOWS she needs to be prepared to feed all of the little munchkins. 

Keeping Busy

I haven't talked about our walks or Gimme's reactivity for awhile, so thought I should catch up on it.

I decided several months ago to use classical conditioning when we passed other dogs during our walks.  It went very well, and I soon noticed Gimme would see other dogs and then look at me with her "well?" expression.  Its very much like what she does when she sees bicycles.  On occasion when we had room to get off the trail for more space, I've had her play the eye contact game (Chris Bach style) with me. 

Yesterday early on our walk she did the best ever playing eye contact when we were at the little park off the trail.  So later when we were walking on the trail with only 10' space, I saw calm dog coming and I got her started playing the eye contact game.  She did beautifully.  Then a bit later I saw another seemingly calm dog and set up for eye contact.  She did well and the other dog stayed calm until he got within 20' of us.  Suddenly he was up on his back legs pulling and growling with the low guttural "I wanna kill you" growl (thank God his owner was strong enough to control him).  It was too late for me to pull out the PB toob and there was no room to create more distance, so I just switched to constant feeding mode and when he was just past us, I threw a handful of treats on the ground for her.  Gimme was brilliant and this with a snarling dog at just 10 feet! She really focused on me, then the treats, then more treats.  When she finished them she looked back at him, but totally calm. I've never been more proud.

Today we walked again and did some more of this.  We stopped for eye contact while we were passed by a lady who was actually training her reactive dog, giving it treats and being calm and positive.  I think its a sad state when seeing someone training their dog makes me want to do the happy dance.  I want to see this so often I'm blasé about it.  Later as we were coming back I met her again, she had a different dog, and we stopped to talk awhile.  This dog was much calmer and laid back.  We shared the history of our dogs, meanwhile Gimme got treats for remaining calm.  Between then and getting back to the park we passed two more dogs.  Thinking Gimme might have accumulated some stress during the prolonged exposure, I switched back to classical conditioning for these.

When we got back to the little park, I set up my camera on a tripod and Gimme and I made four short Parkour videos.  I think I have enough for the Training Level title and I have a couple which should be suitable for Novice.  This afternoon while its hot I'm going to edit the Training Level videos into one and post it on the Parkour list to see if anyone notices anything I missed.  If I submit it and one of them fails, I can resubmit all of them with the failed behavior fixed, but have to pay the fee again. 

On my way home from church I stopped by Home Depot to get the things I need to turn a Go-Go Dancer platform into two TicTac boards.  I'm making one normal width and the other narrower.  I think it makes sense to have a narrower one to train on before I ask her to do it on a tree or something. 

The Go-Go Dancer platforms I got for free and didn't have any idea what I'd use them for.  So I'm making a pair of TicTac boards for myself out of one and will see if Pawsabilities wants the other to make a set for the classes I'll be teaching there.  I keep telling myself I need to stop bringing home "free junk", but then I find a really good use for something and my junk collecting behavior is reinforced.  Its on a variable schedule of reinforcement, which we all know creates the strongest, most resistant to extinction, behaviors.  ☺

Gimme will be happily surprised to see Parkour toys appear in her very own yard. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

RFE Practice (19)

Yesterday I met J'Anna at Pawsabilities for RallyFrEe practice.  We set up the West1 Regional Novice course and got a good video of Glory doing the course.  I didn't enter, preferring to stick with the coaching process (with Kathy) toward better focus and foundation.  We are scheduled for more videoing on Monday.  Gimme and I will practice again.  J'Anna is going to bring one of her other dogs to video - since she has a lot of difficulty getting good video's at home with the neighbor dog running the fence, barking like a maniac. 

Session 1 video - Gimme did really well for her first session...  I still had a little difficulty with reorienting at the door, but she did better than last week, getting it on the second try and then once more for good measure.  This is the first time I've seen her break a "wait" (stay) in a very long time.  Methinks I've gotten complacent and need to put some money in the wait bank account.  Clearly my treat spitting technique needs a lot of work - Gimme said she's willing to help me practice any time I want.  I'm not telling her, but I'm planning to practice this without her, using successively smaller pans on the floor.  I doubt I'm fooling her by turning my face away to reload the treat-spitter, but humor me, eh.  I like the look of the up-"touch" for the first step of heel, need to practice it some more.  I was trying to focus on making sure she was looking up at me when I marked and then treated heeling and I think I did do a better job there.  She is still drawn to corners, even when I am not heading into them (and thus not slowing down, 4:26 & 4:35).   After a bit of heeling, we practiced our corners using Kathy's idea.  The plan is to walk directly toward corners, then make a sharp 180º turn and reward when she gets into heel.  Once she got the idea I found I had to clean up my footwork so she didn't have to go around an outstretched leg, i.e. I had to make the turn with my feet under me.  I know how to do it, just had to focus on it.  We actually have a cue for an emergency 180º turn ("let's go), but I didn't want to use it until I talked to Kathy about it.  Once when Gimme did it especially well, I stopped and let her enjoy a jackpot.  Overall, I thought this went very well.  Next we practiced finding "heel" and "side" after a thrown treat.  She's still much better at "heel" than "side".

I think the reason this went better was because I was more organized.  I realized after our last session I still didn't have a mental big-picture of what to do.  Kathy has put all this effort into coaching me, but I hadn't really assimilated it in an organized way.  I have a particular learning style and I hadn't applied it yet.  So I went back through all the emails we've exchanged since we started this project and I dumped them into one big 18 page Word file.  Then I read and reread it, deleting duplication.  Now I'm in the phase of breaking it into sections/categories.  I'm even color-coding the file, so I can quickly identify instructions vs discussion.  I'm only about a third of the way through the information, but its already starting to gel better and this was reflected in how much better Gimme did.  She can only do as well as I can. 

Session 2 video - Another good session, though not quite as well focused as the first session.  I think I need to have a minimum brain warm-up routine for us.  I think the next step in treat spitting might be not letting Gimme get the ones she doesn't catch mid-air, and then she has to heel past them later as a distraction.  Ooooh mean Mommy.  I am debating whether I should continue to reward finding "heel" or "side" when Gimme goes around me before coming into the cued position.  I'm thinking it muddies the water, since we have a separate cue for that ("behind" for circling/coming into "side" and "around" for circling/coming into "heel").  It leads to her thinking its okay to overshoot when I pivot 90º, since she can just continue around me and come up into position.  Saw this a couple of times and I rewarded each one - bad trainer.  I did see the reason for the period toward the end where I thought she did a bunch of lagging.  I basically took off and never cued her to "side".  Video is our friend - even if it does show me doing a lot of stuff wrong, eh.

Things I want to practice before our next session on Monday (or at least soon):
  • more door reorientation
  • treat spitting
  • up "touch"
  • with her in "heel" or "side", I step away sideways and then re-cue it, so she moves back into position without me luring her
  • finding "side"
  • backing up in "heel" or "side" and remaining standing
  • "heel" or "side" stops
  •  finding "center"
  • my footwork on front cross - handler
  • a tighter "turn" (where she doesn't take a step forward before starting it)
  • more duration on right side "take-a" bow
  • and of course, "cane" and "orbit"
Overall I was very happy with this.  Gimme seemed to really enjoy the clarity...

News Flash

This morning Gimme brought SuperCow to me while I was in the tub.  She apparently has forgiven my recent transgression.  It only took 36 hours...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Parkour (make-up & 1/3)

I have two parkour classes to talk about.  We had the last of our Sunday evening classes this weekend and then switched to a 6:00 class on Wednesday night.  I should be able to make almost all classes on Wednesdays and when I can't, I can select a Sunday to do a make-up.  There won't be any advanced classes on Sunday, but we can still come and train on stuff she knows with strange dogs.  Its all good. 

I don't know yet what the drive time is going to look like for Wednesdays.  This week I left here at 4:00 and arrived at 5:10.  I'd like to leave later and arrive closer to class start.  But the problem is getting through all the rush hour traffic between here and there.  I'll try 4:15 and see what happens.  But based on what happens coming and going from my Mom's house (which goes through the same area), 15 minutes can make a big difference.  The no-traffic drive time to Mom's takes 55 minutes.  The some traffic drive is 1:10, which is what I usually get coming home provided I leave at 3:00.  Today I was 15 minutes late getting out of there and so it took 2:30 to get home.  Ouch!

Sunday

We did a lot of sequence work, which I can't really video since I don't have a wide angle.  This First video clip is a short sequence practicing a send to the table.  Sadly I set the camera down wrong and didn't get the table in the clip.  Still you can see she did it readily.  We continue to have difficulty reinstalling "cane" and "orbit" (going around the cone) since we lost them to the late March seizure.  I had already done some individual warm-up of them before this exercise, so was surprised she didn't know at all what I wanted. 

The second time we had both "table" and "box" options at the end of the board, so we could practice sending to either.  Second video clip  Gimme did well sending to the table, but wasn't so sure about the box which is normally her favorite.  It was very close to and in a direct line to where I'd set up her matt, so she may have been confused. 

Wednesday

Again we were doing a lot of sequencing using the whole room, which I can't really video.  This First video clip presented a bit of a challenge, which I didn't understand at the time, since she's done it before.  But in watching it, the first time through she was looking down at all the stuff underfoot and then suddenly BAM! into the strap thingy, meanwhile from camera view you can see I'd probably disappeared from view.  And coming back, I think I again disappeared on her.  I think the solution is to talk to her throughout, so she will know where I am.

This Second video clip shows Gimme walking the ladder.  The first time she was distracted by Jo walking by - who she really likes.  Gimme does very well with the ladder and you can see she is very thoughtful about her foot placement.

When we were doing the sequences, Gimme and I stationed ourselves at the other end of the room and we were right next to a big toy bucket.  Gimme snooped in it, but was only a little bit interested and didn't want to play with any of them.  Later another handler used a toy from the bucket to motivate his dog on the TicTac board.  Suddenly Gimme was VERY interested in those toys.  For our next turn on the TicTac board, Gimme just had to have a toy and not just any toy, but the same toy.  Suddenly she was a toy maniac and did a couple of nice repetitions, but then got too over the top.  Jo was impressed that she could switch back to food and still work.

Gimme was just sure she was going to get to take the toy home - made more-better because she had effectively stolen it from the other dog.  When I made her leave it in the bucket, she was quite peeved.  She turned her nose up at SkinnySquirrel which was in the car.  She sulked for much of the ride home. 

All last night she wouldn't play with any of her toys and any attempt on my part to interest her in one of her toys was met with utter disdain.  Apparently I violated a significant cosmic edict and who better to point out my gross failing than the Empress of the Cosmos.  Just sayin...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Tracking Genius (30)

We met Friday for field tracking.  It was a challenging day for the dogs.  We thought we'd have to use the park area at the far end of Flaming Geyser, since Nadine's knee wasn't up to fighting through the waist high grasses.  When we arrived, we discovered one of the fields we usually use had been mowed very recently - probably the day before.  Nadine laid a track for Gimme in the field.  It was dry, but cool and we aged the track about 40 minutes.

There was nothing particularly challenging about the shape, but the recently mowed grass was quite difficult.  Nadine marked corners with little piles of cut grass, so I wouldn't know where the track was.  The trouble was, when we got out there even Nadine couldn't tell most of her piles from the piles the mower made.  I gave her a class afterward in Remedial Haystack Making, sharing tricks I learned from Sil.

Gimme had a lot of difficulty finding the track and the corners.  She never even thought about giving up, but it was quite the challenge.  When we got to the end, the track crossed over the path which is always mowed short and then the glove was placed right into the edge of the long (unmowed) grass. 

I could tell she knew there was a glove there somewhere, but it was a real challenge for her to find it.  She went back and forth along the edge of the long grass and made a couple of forays into it.  I could see the glove, but let her solve the challenge on her own and then gave her a huge reward when she did.

Nadine ran the same track with Sugar, who found it equally challenging, even though it had just been walked by the three of us.  She is not as persistent as Gimme, so Nadine had to encourage her a lot. 

Earlier I laid a track down in the park area.  I saw a worker riding around on a big mower so I made sure to place articles where they wouldn't get mowed over, even though I couldn't tell where the mower had and had not been.  I selected mole hills for turn points - not thinking what would happen to these markers when the mower went over them.  Cricket really struggled with her track, which was 90 minutes old.  Her best effort was as she crossed the road.  When we got across the road, the area from there to the end had not been mowed, so we expected her to do better, but such was not the case.  Later I thought about it and realized the track where no mowing had taken place just didn't smell like what she'd been following.  In hindsight - Nadine probably should have rescented her.

Skookum had a cracked toenail so we laid her a very short very fresh track in the shade, so she could play along.  Including the turn, the whole track was only 50 yards.  I think Skookum's foot hurt more than we realized.  She's normally very steady, but she wasn't her usual focused self.

We won't have tracking next week since Nadine will be out of town.  I may take Gimme to the park and do an article circle for her.  And we'll make sure all the girls have easier tracks next time.

Friday, June 17, 2016

RFE Practice (18)

We are getting ready to video for the West1 Regional.  J'Anna has to do an off leash submission and her dog is highly reactive, so we needed the safety of the enclosed puppy room.  I didn't enter West1 because I don't want to risk getting distracted from the focus work we are doing.  We really have to get this foundation in place if we are going to make long term progress.  We've only used this space once, a long time ago, so with the very noisy with dog and people sounds in the background, it was very distracting for Gimme.

Session 1 video  I was trying to get Gimme to give me a reorientation as she came through the door, but she didn't really get it.  I went ahead when she showed she remembered I was there.  Because it was so different, I gave her one trip around the room, but far enough from the edges so she couldn't sniff.  This floor is really slick, so I couldn't do some of the focus games we've worked on.  When she was really distracted by the stuffed-kitty prop, we worked it until she got over it.  What I saw was her trying to work with me, but also quite a bit of gandering.  Better than in the past, but she wasn't as focused as the last practice here.  I completely misjudged her level of focus (in the moment - its totally clear on video) so ended up putting her back on leash.  She seemed almost relieved with the leash back on, possibly because she didn't have to work as hard to be right. 

I also used her special bowl for the last 6 minutes.  The bowl when I first bring it out is a distraction, but it seemed to distract her from the other distractions.  This is the point when I started doing the next phase of our work - where I move away from her 45 degrees when she's distracted. Sometimes it turned into 90 degrees and often it was late as I was getting my rhythm for it.  She started getting really focused toward the end.

Session 2 video  Again I tried to get reorientation at the door.  Clearly we need to practice this in a more familiar setting.  The second time in I didn't give her any time to look about.  When I got Gimme from the car she insisted on bringing her Mini-Skineez in with her, so I put it in special bowl as her reward.  This is the first time we've done this, so it seemed she wasn't clear at first what she was supposed to do.  She loves tugging, but doesn't like it when we stop to work some more - so we only used the tug a few times.  She seemed to like it.  The thru-side issue was timing on my part - I wasn't cuing "side" soon enough, when I did she got it right.  It should come as no surprise how much better she did with "heel" and "side" when I started moving more purposefully.  It was hard for Gimme to move past her special bowl without looking at it, so we worked on this for a bit.  I thought the last four minutes were the best of this session.

Session 3 video  My intention for the last session was to keep it short and repeat the best part of session 2.  I think I should have started with some "setup" to get her in the game.  She did pretty good with finding "heel", but had to be reminded about where "side" was.

One thing I really see in her is no matter how distracted she is, all of her sit-waits are rock solid.  This is certainly a good thing.

I think we are making good progress.  I'm sure it would go faster if obedience was a stronger skill for me.  I do love how Gimme never stops trying.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nosework (5/18)

They had set up a very interesting set of searches.  Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera.

The searches were for separate search areas with open gates between them.  The first area was the lobby, with 3 hides and an open door into the next area.  The second area was the front third of the main room, with 3 hides.  It was separated from the next area by freestanding PVC-construction-fence dividers.  The third area was the middle and largest third with 4 hides and expens to separate it from the next area.  The fourth area was the back third with 3 hides.  So, there were 13 hides total.  The search was off leash and once a dog passed through the gate into the next area, it was closed and they couldn't go back.  We had 3:30 for the search.  After the search we were to walk out on a short leash and not let them investigate any odor they might notice along the way.

For the first search Gimme briefly checked some shelving in the lobby (where the toys are).  There was a hide there but she didn't spend enough time to justify calling "alert", before she went through the open door.  By the time I got into the big room, she was already into the third area.  She did get all 4 hides in this area before moving into the last area.  She spent time on a chair that didn't have a hide, so when she was sourcing a hide, she ran out of time.  She got 4 out of 13.  She pulled toward a couple of hides on the way out.

For the second search they took down the barriers and the dogs could go anywhere they wanted.  Gimme got 1 hide in area two, all 4 in area three and all 3 in area four, for a total of 8 out of 13.  She could have found more, but she again spent time on a chair that didn't have a hide.  Still, she doubled how many hides she found, in the same amount of time.  August got 9 this time, but he was sourcing a hide and they let him finish even though his time ran out.

For the last search they pulled hides, leaving only one per "area".  Gimme found 3 hides, but then she again wasted time on the chair that didn't have a hide. When our time ran out, Dorothy had me wait while she turned over the chair and sure enough, there was a hide there from an earlier class.  So we took Gimme back to it and then we rewarded her a lot when she found it.

The two times I got Gimme to leave the non-existent-hide, I had to be well away from her before she left it.  She didn't indicate, probably because odor was back against the wall and I didn't give her enough time to get to it.  Dorothy made the point about the advantage to having a dog who is independent enough to pursue what she knows is right; but, of course, it does require the handler to trust the dog.  None of the other dogs paid much attention to the chair with the non-existent-hide, being easily drawn away by their handlers.  

Gimme is strong enough in her confidence and sense of self to persist when she knows she has something.  Good girl!  I paid her a LOT to reinforce her persistence and independence.  Good good girl...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Urban Tracking (15)

We met at the Auburn theater last Thursday for urban tracking.  The first thing I did was get Nadine to video Gimme and I moving together for the MDSA Music Match challenge.  J'Anna had done it before for me, but I wasn't moving fast enough and so Gimme was doing an awkward transition gait between a walk and a trot.  Gimme's SLOW trot has me race walking, which I can't keep up for very long, so I had to loop a good segment of it.

Clearly I wouldn't be able to hold up that pace for a couple of minutes for a freestyle routine, so they are going to try to find music with a bunch of speed changes.  Should be very interesting and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

For tracking we set up the same as we did before, but with all right turns.  So the dogs started in the open and tracked up to the curb and then turned along the curb.  It was cooler, it had rained recently, and we aged it only 15 minutes.  Since we run the tracks in reverse order from how they are laid, the first one is 15 minutes and each one gets a little older.  I asked Nadine to shoot one long video including all four tracks and the time walking between them, which was just over 5 minutes.  So I know the first track was aged 15 minutes and the fourth track was aged about 20 minutes.

Here is a little video of Gimme doing her set of 4 tracks.  Right Turns Against the Curb video  You'll see she isn't quite tracking at the start of her first track, but she gets better with each one.  Right as we start the second track a woman walks by and Gimme didn't even notice her.  This time she tracked right from the start, but overran the curb into the landscaping.  Lots of people in motorhomes park overnight in this parking lot and walk their dogs, so I'm sure she was reading pee-mail.  I kept pressure on the line until she got out of the landscaping and back to tracking.  The third track she did nicely and didn't get sucked into pee-mail and made a very nice turn.  On the fourth track Gimme overran the turn, but did a very nice job self-correcting and getting right on the track.

Overall I think she liked this exercise and it was the right level of difficulty.  So next time we do it, I want to age 20 minutes, which will make the last track 25 minutes old.  Gimme sure does love to use her nose.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Nosework (4/18)

We had two interior searches tonight, 7 hides each.

For the first search, we were to stay inside the chalk line (drawn on the floor).  Once the dog committed to a direction, we were to stick with it all the way around.  After which, we'd reverse course and go the other way.  All the hides were on the perimeter.  If they bypassed a hide we were to let them.  Interior search 1 video  Gimme did a good job with this - basically 12 hides in 5 minutes.

Most dogs didn't do really consistent searching until they got halfway around the room.  I think this is because we don't have warm-up boxes most of the time at classes.  When we do, I notice Gimme does better on her first search.  I always use the warm-up box before the first search in a grouping at trials.  For instance its usual to have to back-to-back elements in the morning and then again in the afternoon.  So I would do warm-up boxes before each.  At this trial I did them before all the elements, except the last one, because they were done individually.

For the second search they moved all the hides to the middle of the room and we had to stay outside the chalk line.  Interior search 2 video  Gimme did really well, missing two hides on the first loop.  Dorothy had me come back to get the one on the recycle bin, but then didn't let me continue; I think she forgot Gimme had bypassed the black stool.  Still, Gimme got 6 hides in under 3 minutes, even with all the leg licking.

Even though my plan was to stay in the search area after she finds all the hides, obviously I couldn't do this in tonight's searches.  There was no place I could have directed her to search in the area far enough from an actual hide.  So I didn't think it would accomplish anything toward our goal.  I could always set up some 1 hide searches on my own.

She's contentedly snoozing in front of the fan.  Fortunately its supposed to cool off quite a bit for the rest of the week.

Parkour (6/2)

It was 98 degrees when were driving in for class.  Because the site is in Maple Valley, it was probably only 93 during class, but humid and I was wilting.  Jo moved class outside to the parking lot so we'd have some breeze to cool us down.  She started with three individual exercises.

The first was to move around the area and find a dozen things we could practice 2-on "hands".  One thing I will have to work on is getting true stimulus control between "hands" and "table".  If its something she could get all four feet on, Gimme stops listening and assumes it is "table".  Still this was easy for Gimme, she thinks she invented it. 

The second was to plan and execute a creativity course for ourselves, with 5 different behaviors, using at least 4 props (and we couldn't use the same prop twice in a row).  This was a little harder for me to think it up.  I planned "hands", "below", "g'won" (go between two close props), "table" and "walkies".  Gimme found it easy. 

The third exercise was in the shady courtyard, we each had a chair and were to work on as many different things as we could.  First I had Gimme do "hands", "below" and "table".  Then I took advantage of the opportunity to refresh her brain on "cane" and "orbit" (move around a prop).  This presented the challenge of making sure I positioned us so she was starting her circle on the back side of the chair, otherwise she'd get on the chair.  So once we get "cane" and "orbit" back, I'll have to put them on the list of cues to get true stimulus control on.  One classmate with a small dog turned her chair over and had her dog jump it.  Not willing to be outdone, I had Gimme get up in the seat and then jump over the chair-back to the ground. She wasn't entirely sure she could do this, but with some encouragement she did it and did well.  Since this jumping was from a sit, it was not physically an easy thing to do. I made it worth her while.

For the rest of class we did short sequences... 

Sequence 1 video  The first was "walkies", "sit" on platform, "walkies", turn around on platform, "walkies, "sit" and "walkies".  Kisses were free. 

Sequence 2 video  This is the somewhat narrower board, so Gimme has to be focused on it.  (I really must get a board set up at home to practice on)  "Walkies", pause on platform, "walkies", "g'won" between telephone pole and building, "below" (which someone substituted a table for), "below".

Sequence 3 video  You don't see the beginning of this because I couldn't figure out a way to get it all on the camera.  The beginning is "hands" on a split rail fence, "walkies" on a low board, then "cane" around a giant cone.  "Cane" was the hardest because there were dogs nearby which were distracting.  From there (on screen), "below", "below", "g'won", "table", "walkies" and "walkies".

Sequence 4 video  The lady with the little dog had picked him up and he was wiggling, which Gimme found even more distracting.  The exercise was to do some moving around the base of the ramp and teach the dog to wait for a cue before getting on.  Control work is so important for safety and will be THE hardest thing for Gimme to master.  After the dogs waited, they got rewarded with "walkies", pause, and "walkies".

Sequence 5 video  This was more of the same and Jo complimented Gimme on what a well trained dog she is.  As well trained as she is, she still thinks control work is a bunch of hooey.  Her control efforts were rewarded with "walkies", pause-turn, and "walkies".

I was sad to think this would be our last class, but happy news was delivered.  They are changing the class structure to a month-at-a-time basis for the advanced group.  So we'll continue a little longer on Sundays.  And... they hope to add another advanced group late on Wednesday night.  I wouldn't get home until nearly 11p.m. only to turn around and drive back on Thursday morning for either tracking or RFE practice.  Still I'm happy to go for this if we can continue in class and not throw away a bunch of money on classes I can't attend.  Cross your fingers the Wednesday night class materializes.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Second NW3 Attempt

Upfront - we didn't title - didn't even come close.  <sigh>  Lots of lessons learned, but you know my motto: I'd rather be dumber and more successful.

The trial site was great and the hosts did a really nice job.  It was at Chemawa Indian School a boarding school for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.  I didn't realize such a thing even existed in this day and age.  I did find the English translation for Chemawa is "mourn", but couldn't find anything on their website talking about the school philosophy.

It was a verrrry hot day.  The forecast said it would get to 98 degrees, but it was 100 degrees before noon and was still 100 when I left at 4:30.  I parked in shade, but it didn't last.  I have a few good things for keeping the car cool, but I think I'm going to have to break down and get some of those wonderful and expensive silver mesh shade cloths.  It seems like the weather is trending toward hotter and hotter.  I might only use them a couple times a year, but when I need them, it would be worth it.  I need to measure the van and decide what sizes I need, before ordering them for my birthday...

Our first search was Vehicles, with 2:30. Gimme went from the start line to the front tire on the silver truck, sniffed there, moved to the back tire and sniffed before moving to the trailer hitch and alerting.  The pink shows places she showed some interest and the blue arrow shows the direction of the breeze.  After the first hide I took her around all the vehicles and she showed a little bit of interest at the front tire on the middle vehicle but turned away on her own.  When she didn't show any more interest I called finished.  I was sure we'd passed vehicles, but learned later there were two hides.

I thought we'd covered the vehicles, and assumed heat was the issue.  The judge commented he was sure she would have found it if I had a "comprehensive" search pattern.  This diagram shows what I remember walking.  We only used half the time. I think I mentally checked off the front of the center car as we went by on the way to the silver truck.  Gimme did show slight interest in the front tire of the center car, but I thought it was scent blowing from the rear hitch of the truck, further confirmed when she came away on her own.  NOTE TO SELF - Go ALL the way around EVERY vehicle regardless.

Our next searches were Interiors.  We had three search areas.

Room 1 - 2:30
This was a barracks room with 3 beds, 3 lockers and 3 desks.  The hide was inside the nearest locker (open) in a bottom drawer.  Gimme found it right away, momentarily started to pass it and then whipped back to it.  We toured the rest of the room and called "finish" in 1:04.  Easy peasy.





Room 2 - 2:30
This too was a barracks room with 3 beds, 3 lockers and 3 desks.  The hide was under the chair in front of the locker and desk on the right side.  Gimme checked the lockers on the left side first, then was drawn to the hide on the chair.  We toured the rest of the room and I was about to call "finish" when she showed interest at the foot of the bed (orange dot) and then alerted.  I called it and heard the dreaded "no".

At first I thought she just was trying to get out of there, which doesn't make sense, since this building was much cooler than the car.  I've also thought she might have been trying to please me.  But I also note we were in the room only 2 seconds longer than the first room, so its not like I was prolonging the search.  The more I think about it, probably there was a bit of scent drifting from the chair to the corner of the bed (toward the open door) and I was too ready to call alert, when she was only checking it out.  She did look up at me, but didn't lift her foot.

Room 3 - 3:00
This recreation room was the hardest interior search of the three and frankly, Gimme aced it.  As you enter the room there is a wall directly in front of you, recessed from the hall, so we could enter to the left or right.  The start line tape included the area in front of the recessed wall as part of the search area, so I made a mental note to be sure we covered it.  The room had three couches, two upholstered chairs, end tables, lockers, 2 l-shaped book cases, a couple of desks and a tall audio-visual cart.

I centered Gimme on the start line and let her choose which way to go.  She went left and within seconds located the hide on the wheel of the AV cart.  From there we checked the left side of the room, finding nothing.  We passed between the couch/desk combo and the upholstered chairs to work the other side of the room.  Gimme was quickly drawn to the trash can next to the book case, she sniffed it and then alerted on the outside top edge.  I was going to take her from there to check the area between the start line and the recessed wall, but she had plans of her own and went directly to the two desks, quickly alerting again.  This search took her 1:05... which is very close to the time we spent in the other two rooms (1:04 & 1:06).  She clearly loves a challenge.  Most of the dogs who failed in interiors failed in this room.

We had a bit of a rest and time to cool down (relatively speaking, it was 100 degrees) before it was time for Containers, with 2:30.

There were a variety of boxes, two plastic shoeboxes, a black bag and an assortment of other containers.  Gimme left the start line and very quickly found the hide in the upper left plastic shoebox.  From there I started walking Gimme up and down the lines of boxes.  When we got to the box with the orange dot, the other plastic shoebox, she showed a little interest in it but didn't commit or indicate.  I finished the line and went back by it and this time she was all over it, so I called alert and we got another false alert.

During the judge's debrief I learned a number of dogs had this same false alert. I'm not sure why she chose to alert to it - surely she knew there was nothing there (not even a distraction).  Initially I thought maybe I belabored the tour of containers, but our time was only 1:13, so it doesn't seem to fit.  Inside the building was cooler than inside the car, so it doesn't make sense to think she was trying to get back to the car.

So the thing I'm left with is thinking she was trying to please me.  I thought it was interesting on both false alerts, it was one-hide searches and after she'd found the only hide.  She may think I believe there is more hides and doesn't know I don't know how many there are.  The fix as I see it is to continue "searching" after she's found all the hides in class, so she gets used to the idea I may continue to wander around in the area as if I think there could be more.  Another plus is I will get more video footage of her searching when there are no more hides.  Perhaps then I can pick up on what her tell is to say there isn't more.

For the second time of the day we were called too early (turns out there were two handlers named Carla).  We had 10-15 minutes to wait until we would have been called for our last search, but I just didn't want to walk Gimme across the hot pavement back to the car.  Since there wasn't any other search still running and there was room for another team to loiter, we stayed near there.  Gimme and I relaxed in the shade of a big tree, resting on the cool grass.  There was the occasional dog going by, but far enough away it wasn't an issue.  Gimme got a tummy rub in the process.

Our last search was Exterior with 2:30.
 
This wasn't a particularly busy area, though the four columns presented a leash handling challenge.  There was a large wood pallet very near the start line, which was immediately suspicious to me. The brown area is landscaping, which had flags running through it showing what was included in the search.  The far end and right wall were brick and the grey area was under an overhang.  There was a large green picnic table.  At the far end were two doors, and along the wall was a spigot, a small electrical box and a floor to ceiling pipe. The three grey lines on the right wall represent huge air intake grates.  We were told they wouldn't be running, but I could hear the fans behind them while we searched.

Gimme started past the pallet, but then snapped back and quickly indicated the hide.  From there she went briefly into the wood chips, but then came right back and drove to the far end.  She checked both doors and then started down the right side, settling quickly on the second hide.  We continued down the wall and I had Gimme check the vents, but she wasn't really interested.  We made a loop around the picnic table, but she wasn't buying it either.  I called finish and we were done.  We finished this search in 1:24, which netted us 5th place.  The judge was confused by my "finish" call, so it may be we were faster.  Then again it would have been the timer to stop the clock, so perhaps not.  We were only 9 seconds behind the first place dog.  We also got a "pronounced" rating on this element.

We at least came away with a leg toward an NW3-E title.  And I have some ideas what to work on.  One is staying in the search area after she's found all the hides, so she gets used to it and/or I learn how to read when she is done.  The other thing I'm thinking of is teaching her to pull harder toward odor.  I'd like to see if I can get her to drag me to it and refuse to be led away.  I haven't completely formulated how I'll teach this - something along the lines of leash pressure on her harness while I reward her at source.  I have to play with this.

This is twice now we've ended up in NW3 trials where it was really hot, though Cherrybrook last June wasn't this bad.  I'm going to start entering more trials.  Even though we only qualified in one element, I still feel like we were really close.  Its just tiny details messing us up.  I'll try to enter more Winter and Spring trials, meanwhile ordering some shade cloths so we'll be more comfortable (and better rested) when it is hot.

I definitely came home with the cutest dog in the trial.  Just sayin...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tracking Genius (29)

On Friday we met Nadine at Flaming Geyser for field tracking.  There's been a bit of rain lately and the fields have grown so much.  The wild daisies where hip and waist high and the grasses higher still.  Mostly the grass was chest high, but there were places where it was over my head.  They should be mowing those fields any time now.  The worst part was the way the thick daisies would grab and tangle your feet, so as tracklayer, you had to step high to smash them from the side.  It was easier when we ran the track, since the cover had been "pre-smashed".  The best part was we sure didn't need no stinkin' track markers.

Nadine laid great tracks for us. We experimented with a warm-up track for Gimme - one 50 yard leg.  Then Nadine laid a humongous zig-zag of 6 legs.  She mis-read the instruction email I sent and put 3 articles on each leg!  The two green rectangles indicate hills, the first one up hill, and the second going down.  Good news - because I wanted to make sure Gimme had a fun tracking experience, we ran it when it was only 30 minutes old.  Bad news - even though the forecast was for 72 degrees at noon, when Gimme ran this track at 9:45 it was already 76 degrees.  It was 80 degrees when we left at 12:30.  Fortunately this super deep cover made it a scent freeway as all parts of the tracklayer was in contact with the cover as they pushed through it.

Gimme has a tendency to either do a saw-tooth to one side or cast back and forth on her first leg (depending on the breeze), so we decided to try a warm-up track.  It worked well for her, so when we got on the main track she was really plowing down the track.

With the cover being so tall, much of the time I could just barely see her.  When she'd take a turn, the line would just sweep the grass tops in a big wave, which is the only way I knew where she was.  She never really circled at any corners and was right on them.  She did circle at the directional flag and then came in close to me and passed between me and the flag, stepping over her own line to go down track again.  This tied a perfect knot around the flag, so I had to stop her and untie it.  At the third corner she overshot it by 10 feet, then turned and paralleled the leg for 20 feet, before self-correcting to get right on the track again. I think plowing her own road through this heavy cover made being right on the track the easier choice.

Another interesting thing was being able to actually see the game trails and bedding spots, so I could tell what Gimme was doing.  She did investigate most of them, but always turned back to the track on her own, usually after no more than ten feet.

Gimme missed one article, a small cloth glove.  It was interesting how the deep cover made the dogs really have to search for the articles.  I could see Gimme looking for something, often as she was tromping on top of it while she searched.  Nadine ran this track with two of her dogs, Skookum and Sugar.  By then it was already hotter and her dogs aren't big article lovers, so they were less than enthused. Skookum is very obedient, so she found all but 2 articles (missing different ones).  Sugar prefers tracking more than finding, so she ignored many of the articles - only stopping for the leather ones. I'd laid a TD-like track for Nadine in the other field, which she ran with Cricket.  She did a nice job, partly because it hadn't gotten as hot yet.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

RFE Practice (17)

We met today for RallyFrEe practice.  I thought it went MUCH better.  Its been better over the last couple of practices, but the difference today was huge.  I credit this to Kathy's help, cleaning up my training and developing training games Gimme loves.

Session 1 video 
Our first session lasted 12 minutes, but it didn't seem that long.  I had so much more focus from Gimme, she was like a completely different dog.  I decided she doesn't need a perimeter walk anymore.  She's been in the building 40 times, so its time for both of us to let it go.  I fully expected to spend the entire time in the middle of the floor, but Gimme did much better with this than I expected. I had J'Anna video from the moment we came in the door.  There were a couple of times I'd have to back away from distractions, but overall she seemed to enjoy the new challenge.  Oddly, I think having her do a sit-stay as I went to latch the door had the effect of helping her focus.

We had a prop weave in the course and I knew the stuffed animals would be distracting.  I backed away a couple of times when she pulled toward the stuffed toys, but I think the most meaningful moment for her was when she started toward one and I stepped in front of her - body blocking (at about 2:40).  This seemed to really make it clear to her to resist the distraction.

We played the get-it-and-find game.  I used 5-treat jackpots for finding "heel" or "side", with a piece of raw steak thrown in when she did a really good job.  If there was something I didn't like about her effort (see 11:00), she still got rewarded, but only with 1 piece of cheese, the usual.  At the time, it feels like I am racing around the room and yet on video it looks like a casual saunter most of the time.  Gimme would like more speed, but its hard in RallyFrEe with all the stops/starts.

With this brain warm-up, even without perimeter walk, I thought she did a lot better on the course work.  The down-stand was better, but not as good as I'm getting at home. The side-passes we've not done much of and I probably shouldn't have put it in here.  She had a real challenge with the circle-left-turn which was down in the corner close to the daycare room.  She got distracted, but I didn't lose her completely, as I have before.  Her mind wandered at the 270-right in the other corner, so I did a couple loops of heeling to get her focused, then it went better.  I don't know what it is about corners, but I lost her briefly at the other corner too.  I just remembered, I used to loose Michael in the corners of agility courses - so if anyone has an explanation, do share.

Session 2 video
On the second session she was again a bit less focused, but still did really well and started right out resisting distractions.  I sure like seeing her run back to me when we play the get-it-and-find game.  There were pieces of this which were good and some needs work.  Overall its still good improvement.  I think the drop off in focus for the second session is an indication she doesn't have mental stamina for focusing, yet.  I think it will come as we re-lay a good foundation.

J'Anna had to leave early so she wasn't there to video our third session.  I made it very short and sweet.  I came in with enough treats in my pockets to do four repetitions of the get-it-and-find game.  I wish I did have it on video since Gimme was charging back to me at full speed.

I am so thankful for Kathy's efforts helping us get this stuff sorted out.  As you can see its working well.

Now I have to get off this computer and get busy pre-packing for our NW3 trial on Saturday (I plan to go up tomorrow night, so we'll be well rested).  We have field tracking tomorrow morning, then back home.  I'll have to work a couple of hours in one account, but then I want to come home and get out the door as quickly as I can.  If I can get everything done tonight except packing her supplements and the cooler, I should be able to get on the road by mid-afternoon.

Again, feel free to start crossing body parts any time now.