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, ADP-L1, ADP-L2, TD, UWP, ADP-L3 and NTD...
23 and counting...

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...

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