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.
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.
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.
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.