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, August 26, 2016

RFE Practice (25)

Up front - some this video is poor quality.  I managed to get the camera to work a bit longer and the banging you hear is J'Anna "tapping" the camera when it starts to go south.  I've already purchased a new camera, very similar but with some cool upgrades.

Session 1 video - There was a lot of screeching coming from the day care room, so Gimme was distracted by that.  I thought she did very well.  We had about three minutes of relaxing on the matt in the middle of the session (blue screen) while I set up the gates.

Session 2 video - Please notice her reaction now when the dog squeals in the day care room and compare it to just two weeks ago.  I thought she did well.  There are times when her attention is diverted, but she was trying to work with me and seemed to be having fun.

Session 3 video - For the third session I wanted to do different behaviors and keep it pretty active.  We did a bunch of finding position and it went well.  I've added finding "center" to the mix, since its a weak concept for her ever since her last seizure (March).   You'll see at times she doesn't seem to be actually listening, throwing behaviors at me instead, but then goes "oh yahhh, Mom said..." and then gives me what I cued.  I had her in "center" and asked her to back and she kept giving me "spin".  I wasn't sure why, but I decided to give her a target to work with.  She has a great back - always straight and as she does it a few times, it gets faster.  I think its straight because we've always worked it with a target.  We've never done "back" from "heel" or "side", so I was impressed with how quickly she put it together with only two helps - she's a damn-smart cookie.  She only needed one help on the second side.  The last time I told her "matt" and since we'd been working on "back", she backed up to the matt and then laid down, which wasn't really wrong.

Overall I was really pleased with her efforts.  There were some focus/distraction issues, but she kept on trying.  I see accuracy of "heel" and "side" position have fallen - she tending to go wide.  There were times when she wasn't actually listening to my cues and just throwing behaviors at me.  Still I compare this to where we've been during previous false pregnancies and I can't help but be very happy.  I think I'll be able to push her more next time, get the accuracy back and then move on to other stuff.  It'll be glorious to not have to back way up - instead we get to move on.  Woo hoo...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Parkour (3/4)

Gimme did much better tonight.  Although slow to start, we were able engage her brain during the warm-up period at the start of class and overall she stayed focused.  I started to lose her toward the end of class when the next class was showing up and either watching from the doorway and/or walking their dogs in the training yard, which she could see.  Even then I was able to get her to work with me again.  Overall it was a substantial improvement from last week.

All started out well recording and then periodically the view screen would turn monochromatic purple and kinda blurry.  Later it went back to normal and then back and forth between purple and normal.  Quick scan of the recordings shows what I saw on screen was how it was recording, so I suspect the camera is dying - I've had it ten years and have really used it a lot for the last few years.  I'll tinker with it tonight and see if it can be resurrected, otherwise I'll be camera shopping tomorrow night.  I definitely want to have a camera for our tracking weekend with Sil Sanders.

Balance 1 video - As you can see, Gimme is easily distracted - again with the toys.  You might be inclined to ask why I gave her the first treat.  Really I was just priming the pump, so I picked a moment when she responded to her name.  Then she gets to work with me better, and better.  The turn I asked her for just after 1:00 was hard for her because she normally turns the other direction, but she also wanted to turn toward me, so it was a challenge.  Obviously we need to work on that so she can turn comfortably in both directions.

Balance 2 video - Just a bit more balance work.  I've never gotten Gimme to get used to the center sway thing.  Most moving stuff doesn't bother her, but this does.  She gets tense and then it really vibrates, so she tenses more and then it gets worse.  I think if I could have an hour alone and freeshape interaction, she could get comfortable with it. Perhaps some night when no one else shows up for class, I'll ask Jo to just let me play with it and see how it goes.

Balance 3 video - Here you can see what the camera was doing - I cut off the end of this recording because it was unreadable garbage.  Anyway, Gimme showed at the beginning she wasn't thinking about her feet.  So I slowed her down and just tried to get her thinking.  The part you miss is where I asked her to stop and sit on the inclined board.  It was hard for her, but she did it.

Then we put them all together.  Gimme was getting her head fully into what we were doing and its too bad you don't get to see it.  We did it twice.

Balance 6 video - More bad video, but readable.  Here Gimme does the sequence we just did, plus some added go-arounds and 4-on with obstacles near the path.  She is really paying attention and does very well.

Backing-on video - We spent some time backing-on things.  Gimme is really quite talented at this.  I love the way she looks for things with her back feet.  We worked on not sitting as she gets on.  And we ended with a stellar "bacon" sideways onto the narrow balance board.  Sadly you don't get to see any but the very first.

Then we were each tasked to pick 4 obstacles in the room and perform a flowing sequence of 6 behaviors.  Gimme did "walkies", "flip", "walkies", then "bacon" partway up the balance board, "hands", "table" and "pivot".  We did this without any warm-up and Gimme was able to focus and follow cues throughout.

Next we worked on some "pivot" on objects taller than she's accustomed to.  This is when I started losing her.  There was a short time when she was able to pull it together, but then it was gone again.  As good as she was doing, she just wasn't ready to introduce something so new.

Jumping-on video - I had to laugh at Gimme's response when I first cued her to "table" on the scaffold.  She really wasn't wrong - clever girl.  After her first solution, she condescended to do it my way.  The last time I actually got the cue out ahead of getting there, so she was able to jump more normally.

For our last exercise we did a bit more balance work.  I had Gimme slow down and do several turns and then left it at that, since she was doing it despite the strange dog in plain view.

Overall I was very happy with her efforts.  I think she is really starting to find her way out of this false pregnancy and I'm eager to have her back to normal.  I can't wait to see how she does tomorrow at RallyFrEe practice.  We probably won't have any video for it.  I'll definitely have a camera for the weekend or my name isn't Visa-Girl-Baker.  Just sayin'...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nosework (1/20)

First I must start by telling on Gimme.  My weekend was horrendously busy and when I got home late on Sunday with a migraine, Gimme was decidedly miffed about not getting to DO SOMETHING.  So she took her frustration out on PurplePuppy.  Sometimes a girl just has to express herself...


In nosework class tonight, we did another series of progression searches.  The classroom area was divided into two areas.  One area was small and jam packed with stuff.  The other area was about 3 times as big and very open.  The searches were done in pairs.

Interior 1 video - With all the stuff in the search area, it was very hard to keep Gimme in the camera f.o.v.  There was only one hide.  I was really kinda surprised how long this took, but in hindsight it makes sense.  Because the area was so crowded, it restricts her movement, so once she started sourcing, she's doing a lot of moving in a small area and basically stirring up the scent picture, making it harder and harder to sort out.

Interior 2 video - Open area with 1 hide.  Gimme was immediately fascinated by the toys on the floor, though she mostly ignores them.  She became obsessed with one toy and the advice was to let her satiate on it.  She's never been interested in bottle-inside toys before.  After a minute, I knew she was not going to satiate, so I tried gently walking through/over it, hoping to split her off it.  Didn't work.  So then I had to basically tell her to leave it and "find odor".  I stood near it to discourage her from returning to it.  It took her almost another minute to find odor because she was so distracted by the toy.  I was in the middle of praising and being very generous with treats and everyone erupted in laughter because while I was digging for more treats, Gimme looked over at the toy once more.  <sigh>

She's so mistreated - she only has 4 baskets of toys at home.  She says:
Everyone knows two-hundred toys is not enough.

Interior 3 video - Crowded area with 2 hides.  This wouldn't have taken so long, but Gimme really wanted to get to the toy in the other area and had to be reminded to get to work.  She does get to work, but then after finding the first hide, has to be reminded again.  She thought finding one should be enough. Its so hard to concentrate on work when a girl is so deprived and knows toy-paradise is just on the other side of the divider.

Interior 4 video - Open area with 2 hides.  Dorothy picked up the toy and was holding it under her arm while she recorded the search.  Gimme knew immediately where the toy was; note the "look" less than 2 seconds into the search.  Dorothy gets the "look" several times (not always caught on camera).  Gimme does pretty good in this search.  I think knowing the toy was unavailable made it less distracting (compare this to how it goes in the 6th search when it was on the toy shelf, which Gimme thinks could be available).

Interior 5 video - Crowded area with 3 hides set close together to form a converging odor puzzle, basically the vortex-from-hell.  She scans the area and finds the first one very quickly.  For some reason all the dogs thought the other two hides were higher than they were and kept checking the table edges.  Of course, she now thinks once she finds 2 hides its time to go play with the toy and had to be reminded to get back to work. This is a really hard challenge normally and with this level of distraction, it was beyond hard.  Still she did well.

Interior 6 video - Open area, 2 hides.  Gimme knew exactly where the toy was, which she shows 20 seconds into the search by checking out the toy shelf (the one she wanted was on the top shelf).  She'll go back repeatedly to check it - after all, its really just out of reach.  She finds the first hide pretty quickly, but then really has to work to locate the other hide, which was closer to the toy shelf.  Because she worked through it without having to be really reminded to leave the toy shelf (she decided each time on her own), I again rewarded her with the toy.

So the question everyone always asks is: Since Gimme clearly loves toys, why don't I reward her with them?  The answer is: Because she loses interest in them.  I think part of the reason she loses interest is because she always has to give up the toy so soon.  I'd love to reward Gimme with toys since she loves to play, so I asked Dorothy after class for a suggestion of how to work with this.  Her idea is that I should have a special nosework toy that I use to reward the last hide, so Gimme can tug all the way to the car if she likes.

I'm going to have to make a toy which is both easy for me to carry and to tug with, as well as being enticing for Gimme.  I have an idea and hopefully I can get it done before the next class. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Urban Tracking (19)

We met this morning at the Game Farm Park in Auburn.  Its a really large sports complex where we've been alternating with the cinema for our urban tracking.  It was fairly warm - low 70's.  While its been dry, much of the area where this track was laid had just been watered and Nadine's shoes were wet from walking through the wet grass to lay our track.  It was about 400 yards and just 40 minutes old.  There are lines of trees alongside most of the paved walkways (the green circles) and the wide grey lines represent those paved walkways.

Gimme really struggled to get focused for most of this track.  She'd just stop and look around and really have trouble getting back on task.  There were things going on nearby, but nothing really unusual, so I really think it was just Mommy-brain zapping her concentration.  From the start sock to the green "X" it was a continuing issue for her - I even threw an extra article ahead of her to give her something to work with and get rewarded for (right before the green "X").

From there to the red "X", Gimme was her usual self, dragging me along and then, she just stopped.  After the red "X" I did loving-the-track to help her get into the game again (I could see where the glove was hidden) and she did finally find it (though my knees will never be the same).  I would have done loving-the-track before the green "X", but Nadine hadn't really marked the track in a way where I could be sure exactly where to show my love.

Because this was so frustrating for Gimme, we set up a motivational track for her - in a giant arc around the outside of a fenced ball field.  There was the start sock and then five more articles spaced 30 yards apart.  The track included a 30 foot segment on pavement along a building.  Each article had some of Nadine's special sweet pork in it.  We ran the track at just 20 minutes, on ground which was drier than earlier.  Even though by then the temps had climbed to the high 70's, she went through this track like a steamroller.  She never even blinked at the paved section or the transition back to grass.  Perhaps the building acted like a curb.

I'm inclined to think much of the problem was just Mommy-brain, which I hope will be gone by next weekend's urban tracking seminar.  We were in a rush when we left home this morning and I forgot to grab baby-Rockette.  I didn't see anything to suggest Gimme was really worried about not having baby with her, even though from the time we left until we go home was 9½ hours.  Still the hormones could still be messing with her ability to concentrate and resist distraction.

Since she did so well on the motivational track, despite the lack of moisture and higher temperature, I'm also wondering if she needs a motivational track and then 15-30 minutes back in the car to think about it before the real deal.  We went through a period where she needed a motivational track (article circles) for her field tracking.  Counting the urban times at seminars and the clinic, she's only done urban tracking about 25 times.  So I'm also pondering whether we've missed some foundation and need to back up and re-do from the beginning.  I'll be eager to hear Sil's assessment next weekend.  I'll do whatever it takes to help Gimme be successful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Nosework (6/19) & Parkour (2/4)

Yesterday for nosework class Gimme's mommy brain was much less intense and she declined to take baby Rockette out to the car.  She did well on her searches and enjoyed stomping boxes now and again and again and again. 

Containers 1 video - Our first search was three lines of boxes, with one hide and off leash.  Then we were to move to the end of the room and turn away while they added a box and then search immediately.   After which we again moved away while they added a third box.  Gimme did really well at finding her boxes.  I got a bit spacey at the beginning of the second part, but otherwise we did well. 

Containers 2 video - For the second session, many boxes were removed and the pattern resembled a large "C".  Again it was three searches with 1, 2 and then 3 hides.  This time on leash.  Gimme was a bit faster this time.  I don't know if it was because she was on leash or because it was the second search session.  Still she did well.

Containers 3 video - This time we had an "H" shape, with all three hides out for one search.  I had pretty much planned my search pattern, the blue line, to cover the search area efficiently.  As luck would have it, Gimme "walked" the first hide she came to and I let her, then when she found the second one and I made my turn to search the middle of the "H", it basically re-presented the missed hide.  Then as I turned back to the right upright side of the pattern, she quickly got another hide.

Dorothy thought our turn across the middle was to give her another chance at the hide she walked and especially liked the way I did it right after she found a hide.  I really had in my head to turn right at the end of my pattern and go up the left side again for the missed hide and hadn't thought about the possibility that swinging across to catch the middle boxes would re-present it.  I don't often get called "moderately brilliant", so I shamelessly accepted the praise without divulging why I made the turn there.

Tonight was Parkour class and Gimme again declined to take her baby along, but since its a long time from when we leave until when we get home again (4.5 to 5 hours), I brought Rockette anyway.  Class was outside and the area for the sequences wasn't conducive to recording from a stationary tripod, so no videos.

Despite how well she did last night, Gimme was not present for duty much of tonight.  She started class unable to follow a simple lure.   In order to help her be successful, I had to lure her with her peanut butter go toob the first time around the course.  Of course she was flinging her body every which way - thinking only about the PB and not about what she was doing.  After the first run, I kept the PB in my treat pouch and brought it out only when I wanted to reward her, but by then she knew it would be her reward, so she was able to work better.  At some points she did well and then would pretty much go lost-in-space on me.

On a positive note, the last thing we did was a little practice on the balance beams.  Gimme went back and forth with several "flips" (180º turn).  Then I had her sit aligned on the beam, which was only 5½ inches wide.  Its hard since her butt is wider and it really required her to squeeze her feet up under her heiney, which is unnatural.  Then I got her to sit turned 90º to the board, which is tricky because of how she has to align her feet.  She did well on all of this.

As our last thing to do, I asked her to "bacon" to the beam.  She turned a couple of times to get on forward and got paid nothing.  Then she tried what I asked for and backed all 4 feet on, and was able to stay on while I started rewarding her, but then snuck one foot down to the ground.  We did it again and she kept them up throughout the reward.  I was very proud of her for pulling it together for this very challenging effort.  As I recall, last week her best effort was when it got really challenging.  Anyway, I decided to stop with this special effort, even though there was time left in class.

Friday, August 12, 2016

RFE Practice (24)

Given how distracted she was in Parkour class the night before, I wasn't expecting much, but she did better than I thought she would.  I think it made a big difference for her to have the place to herself and not have to wonder about other dogs, like in Parkour class.  Luckily the doggie daycare was amazingly quiet.  I never did get a battery for the waist timer, so I just had to go by the clock on the wall.  I tried really hard to keep these sessions shorter.  The first session was shorter, the second - not so much.

Session 1 video - I mostly planned to just do things she knew.  I tried to keep things moving along for her and I relaxed on precision a bit.  She was a little distracted, so I focused on catching those times when she turned her attention back to me.  She was happy to do her up-touches.  I realized I hadn't closed the divider between the practice area and the rest of the building, so I left Gimme on a stay while I took care of it.  Also had to help J'Anna adjust the tripod (the blue screen).  There were a few spots where I had to help Gimme re-connect, but over all it went well.  While she was doing well, we switched to game mode - finding "heel", "side" and "center".  She loves action and I just have to remember to make sure she gets more rewards for finding and being in position than for running out to "get it".  Her listening skills took a hit, but she remained enthusiastic to play the game - ya gotta love her running to me. 

Session 2 video - We got one distance "spin"... a whole three feet.  She was a little distracted, but did get better focused once I moved out more.  For our practicing of the 180º turns, I brought out the raw steak.  While Gimme isn't too worried about me eating her cheese when she does a poor turn, she was really concerned about me eating her steak.  After the second turn, which was weak, I faked eating her steak.  The next turn was much tighter.  She does have her priorities, eh.  After a few good reps, we switched to finding position game.  I don't know why she offered "back" when I was asking for "side", other than we have been training it lately and I think the position I was in was where we'd done it in the first session.  I did follow up a couple minutes later with some backing up.  She's decided she likes it, though I do need to get rid of the barking, (which I unintentionally rewarded when I was in a hurry to get video for her novice Parkour title submission).  Her center-front-pivot is still stronger counter-clockwise than clockwise.  We got more raw steak to work her 180º turns in "side" position.  Right around 10:30 is where she starts loosing focus.  I played around with it until we got some nice successes, then quit.  If I kept better track of time, we could have avoided it altogether. 

Session 3 video - Gimme was a little reluctant to leave Rockette in the van, so I wanted to keep this session short and easy.  I figured we couldn't get much easier than me practicing my treat-spitting and Gimme certainly enjoyed it.  Around 2:30 there was a puppy-squeal from doggie daycare and this proved to be a big distraction.  It didn't repeat, but it was just hard for Gimme to get past it.  I tried to get her back and had her for a little bit with treat-spitting practice to center.  I thought the fun history for finding position would be enough, but even this required a bit of help to keep her in it.  When I got some good effort from her I quit.  After watching the video, I let this go on too long.  She wasn't panicked like the other night at nosework class, but she was concerned, so I don't think it was good training. 

We were supposed to meet Nadine for tracking this morning, but I overslept.  When she called me I could have gotten there before she left, but it was already getting really warm.  It got up to 95º today, so it was probably just as well.  We plan to meet there next Thursday.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Parkour (1/4)

Last night was challenging for Gimme.  We took baby Rockette along and she was able to leave her in the car.  However, she had some difficulty focusing.  It got better toward the middle of class for a few exercises.  Of course when the super barky dog showed up for agility on the other side of the wall, this made it again hard for her to concentrate. 

Jo set up class to follow a progression of exercises... starting with an easy balance beam exercise and then adding one thing at a time.  When she added something challenging, we did that independently before putting it into the sequence.  Many of these were far too easy for Gimme, but she has the most experience in this class, so its often a bit simpler when the other dogs are there.  Of course with Gimme's mommy-brain it worked out well.

Sequence 1 video - Easy balance board sequence.  Gimme did the "flip" (180º turn) on the verbal.  The box wasn't part of it, but this kid has never met a box she didn't feel the need to walk through.

Sequence 2 video - Again with walking through the box.  This time we added an around of the cone.  Gimme was a bit distracted there.  Jo thought I gave her the cue too late and went too close to the cone, which normally might be true.  This time I think it was mommy-brain.  

Sequence 3 video - This time we added an around of the cone on the other side.  Gimme is distracted at the end and can't focus to sit on the first cue. 

Sequence 4 video - Here we put the balance board and both arounds all together.  Gimme was a bit distracted by the younger dog before we started.  He's an adolescent idjit boy and his owners aren't as careful as I'd like, so Gimme watches him.  She pays a lot less attention to the other dog, who is calm, well-trained and with a careful owner. 

Sequence 5 video - For this sequence, Jo added "below", "box", "below" on one side of the end and "hands" on the other side of the end.  Gimme kept giving me "table" instead of listening to the "hands" cue.  Stimulus control between "hands" and "table" continues to be a challenge and always shows up when she's distracted.  What worked was to really slow her down so her thinking brain could catch up. 

Sequence 6 video - You'll immediately see Jo added a whole new strip of multiple obstacles for the dogs to put their feet on.  Gimme did excellently at this and I thought it was where she was the most focused.  It may be this was the first time she actually needed to focus. 

Sequence 7 video -  Jo switched the low table for "hands" with the bigger scaffold, which made it easier for us, though I had to be careful, since Gimme would be perfectly happy to leap up there and use it for "table".  This time included the side street strip of multiple surfaces.  I thought Gimme did really nice with this.

Sequence 8 video - As a little break from what we were doing, we were given three obstacles: chair, box and oil pan.  We were to create a sequence of 6 behaviors using them.  We did "box", "table", "table", "below", "hands" and... naturally I had to show off, so we ended with "bacon" (she's the only one in class who can do it).  Of course I didn't think it through when I positioned the camera, so you don't really get to see the "bacon".  Sorry 'bout that butt-side view...

Sequence 9 video - This time was when the barky dog next door arrived, so I started off with a bunch of treats to get Gimme thinking about me.  Much of the course was taken away, some was set up parallel to the first balance board, plus Jo added two dividers with poles running between them for the dogs to go under.  Gimme did well, but was anxious to get back to her matt and I had to bring her back for the "box", which is usually her favorite.  I think she was starting to tire of the hubbub. 

Sequence 10 video - This is the same sequence - with a little embellishment added by Gimme.  Jo points out, since I only told her "thru" she was perfectly correct to decide for herself and jump over on the way back.  This would be my girl - the over achiever...

At the end of class we were to go outside and work on having the dog go around a tree.  I wasn't about to drop the leash with her lack of focus, so tried to practice on a small stump.  Sadly there was a woman from the next class watching, which was very distracting.  Gimme couldn't even follow a lure.  I concluded she was "used up" and took her through the building to head to the car.  I decided to see if she could work in the building.  I lured her around a cone a few times and then she was able to do it herself, until the woman showed up to watch again. 

Despite the recurring distraction, Gimme made good effort.  I know this can be really challenging for her, so I always appreciate how much she tries. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nosework (5/19)

Gimme is now fully into her false pregnancy, as of Sunday afternoon.  She's pretty obsessed with the baby and we had to take it along for the ride when we went to nosework class.  I got to class early enough to take Gimme for a long potty walk, however our walk was cut short.  When Linda arrived one of her small terriers made a squeaky-squealing racket and Gimme panicked and had to get back to the baby in the car.  I didn't realize this was going to come back to haunt us in her first search.

Exterior 1 video - We started with a long/narrow exterior search, four hides.  I was slow to remind Dorothy to start recording, so you miss about 10 seconds at the beginning.  The comment was about how Gimme's tail wags so much harder and it hits her sides when she's at odor - this could be a very helpful observation.  The comment about "poop hanging out the back" has to do with a story I told during the pre-search discussion about dogs marking in search areas.  I think if Gimme had finished her walk without getting worried because of Linda's dog, then we wouldn't have had this problem.  In any case, its not something I worry about.

Exterior 2 video - This was a really large search area with four hides.  Because the area was so big I used my 25 foot line.  Gimme went straight to the drain at her right front.  40 seconds into the search (including reward time) and she had the second hide on the wooden block under the trailer hitch.  She was surprised to find a hide right in the middle of the pavement, but not thrown by it.  Two other dogs struggled with this one.  Dorothy voiced a concern thinking I'd have trouble getting her past the drain hide to the other side of the search area, but Gimme knows I almost never pay twice for the same hide, so she only glanced at it as she went right past it.  It took her a bit longer to find the hide on the glass rack, but she did.  Another student mentioned she thought Gimme's tail wagged "higher" when she was smelling other dog smells - which would seem to go with the reactivity.  So - feel free to watch this video several times to see what her tail does - I've watched it three times myself.

Vehicle search video - Our third was a blind search of vehicles, with 0 to 6 hides.  Gimme didn't seem very interested in the two white trucks.  She did put a little more effort into one, but in hindsight I think it was because I kept her there so long.  Poor Dorothy just couldn't keep up with us on the big white trailer, so you miss Gimme's first find.  Then Gimme found a hide on the other trailer hitch, just as soon as we got there.  She kept wanting to go under this trailer, which told me it was likely on the other side.  Usually she takes herself around to the other side, but I think because this was so open, she just thought it might be okay to go under it.  She spent a fair amount of time sourcing this one - which tells me its inaccessible.  There were four hides and none of the dogs got all of them in the time allotted (4 minutes).  Gimme missed the one on the white trailer hitch.  She sniffs it, but doesn't stick or indicate it.

I can't recall if I've mentioned, we got into a Level 2 Vehicle trial in late September.  Wish us luck...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Urban Tracking (18) & stuff

Nadine and I and our girls met at Auburn Cinema on Thursday to do some urban tracking.  Based on the things I saw at the urban tracking clinic a few weeks ago and Sil's suggestions, we changed what we were doing with Gimme's tracks.  Skookum has much of the same issues, so we did the same for her.

And those changes were to set tracks with larger distances between the islands.  As handler, my job was to hold her back enough to make it harder for her to just rush across and solve the problem on the other side.  I used as much tension on the line as needed until/unless she had her head down working the problem.  She is a prodigious air-scenter, so if something isn't obvious, she switches gears and tries to solve the problem that way. 

Her first track was about 20 minutes old and she had a challenge to get her nose down, but was getting it by the time we finished.  Her second track had gotten too old - 50 minutes - and she just really didn't know what to do with it.  I spent a good bit of time on my knees "loving the track" and then she would get interested and the minute she'd get her nose down, I went right with her.  Because the second track was frustrating for her, we set another shorter track later and let her run it when it was just 15 minutes old, so she could end on a good note.  I should note it was pretty warm and very dry.

Since then, Gimme and I have been trying to catch up on our walking schedule, which makes her very happy.  Today I decided we should work on her backing onto obstacles, "bacon" (a cue I invented by taking "back on" and dropping the "k" and space).  Something I noticed today and which has likely been going on all along is - Gimme will not back onto something unless she has gotten onto it frontward first.  Initially I tried making sure she had plenty of opportunity to look over the obstacle - she still wanted to get on it frontward first.  Then I tried restricting the leash so she couldn't do "table" first and she just won't back on.  At first I thought we had unintentionally created a behavior chain - "table" then "bacon".  But, after she's done it her way, "table" then "bacon", she's quite content to back on repeatedly without "table" again. 

I'm inclined to think she's just a very smart girl who wants to make sure for herself that its safe. Ya gotta love how she thinks for herself. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Parkour (7/3)

Last night was Parkour class.  Traffic was more like usual, so we had time to potty walk and I did some other things.  I saw one of the other students from our class come and potty walk his dog, then minutes later he drove off and didn't return.  Jo says he's involved in SAR (not the dog), so he must've gotten a call.  The other dog is still out for neuter recovery, so Gimme got another private lesson.

"Below" video - First we had to warm up Gimme's brain to remember to actually listen for my cues.  Then we had to clean up my body cues, such as motioning with the near hand and straightening my shoulders. 

"Jump" video - This was just a little "jump" warm-up.

Sequence 1 video - With this bit of sequencing, you get to see who Gimme really is.  She crashes the balance board while she is on it, not once, but twice, and is completely unconcerned.  Sometimes it takes a bit of extra effort to get her to exercise control, eh.  But it is sure a blessing to know she won't be 'scarred for life' when something unexpected happens.  There's a reason her nickname is Demolition Gimme.

Sequence 2 video - This time I made sure she slowed things down and was more controlled.  This is certainly NOT her first inclination.  I think its good for her in many ways, not just Parkour, to learn to be more thoughtful about what she is doing.

Control video - Even though Gimme didn't demolish the balance board last time, the board moved a bit and Jo wanted more control.  So she had me break down the part where Gimme gets on the balance board.  Then we added just one jump before the board and then two jumps before.

"Thru" video - We did a single warm-up on the "thru" hoops.  Since any and all equipment can change every time, Jo always likes to have us practice anything which may be different from what the dog expects.

Sequence 3 video - Now we put "thru" into a short sequence.

Tight jumping video - Jo set up the scaffolds in an "L" shape, so the raised end bar of one was a barrier as Gimme moved from one to the other.  Gimme's solution was to step across the inside corner of the "L", going around the bar (twice).  The goal was for her to learn to jump over the bar, even though spacing was tight and awkward.  It was completely doable, Gimme just didn't know it was.  I set up a lure in front of her to give her motivation to get there quickly, as well as blocking her go-around strategy with my body.  Then we just let her figure out how to get there from here.  Jo was suitably impressed with the way Gimme does something one time and then she has the confidence to do it repeatedly thereafter.  Six months from now we can set up this same thing and she'll remember and just do it.

Sequence 4 video - This was a nice sequence.  There is a large traffic cone just out of sight on the right side for Gimme to go around.  Gimme wasn't the least concerned when her leash caught under the edge of one of the chairs and caused it to chase after her. 

Sequence 5 video - Jo added some things to the sequence and I actually forgot one thing.  Gimme still got treats because she can't be held responsible for my screw ups.  Getting stimulus control between "hands" and "table" will likely be a long project.  In this case I think it was complicated by the fact I let her step on the "hands" obstacle with her back feet after her reward.  It probably seemed optional to her. 

Sequence 6 video - Here is the sequence with the missing piece using the bench.  When Gimme made a mistake, Jo had me start over because she thinks Gimme finds it rewarding to continue, thus reinforcing the mistake if we don't start over.  I'm sure she's right.  Note at the end I call the "hands" by the wrong cue, "walkies".  Be sure to catch the look Gimme tosses over her shoulder - it was very clear she knew I was wrong.  Fortunately she loves me anyway.

By this time, Gimme was getting tired.  She would have done it five more times if I asked her to, but what's the fun in that.  She'd done a lot of work, so we ended even though we still had 15 minutes left of class time.  She really slept soundly for most of the drive home.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Nosework (4/19)

Enjoyed class - the searches were easy.  Doing the handler part was hard.  Our job was to pick a body part and describe what we saw as the dog searched.  The long line was supposed to help so we could focus on the body part and not line handling.  Plus it gives a better chance that we could be in a position to see the body part even if it wasn't the dog's tail.  As we watched other teams, we were supposed to continue to watch our body part.  I picked Gimme's mouth, since its the one part I don't much notice.

Exterior 1 video - 1 Hide - All the other dogs went right from the startline.  Gimme was the only one to go up the left side and she did this search so quickly there wasn't much to see.  She closes her mouth when she is trying to get more scent information, like the interesting cone or near the hide in the grate, as opposed to when she was just moving around.  I was surprised to see on video just how long it was between the behavior and me saying it.  I knew there was a lag, I just didn't realize how long it was.  As good as I am at talking, you'd think this would be really easy for me.

Exterior 2 video - 1 Hide - For this search a couple of the dogs went right up the middle to the grate (where the hide was on the last search).  Gimme started up the right side almost on a direct line toward where the hide was now, but then veered to the left to the grate, at the gravel pile.  The wind was coming from the left, so she may have gotten a drift of lingering odor blown to her.  I think I did a little better at verbalizing what I was seeing.  But... and this is the big one, I don't see any difference between when she closes her mouth to check something and when she closes her mouth to source odor.  Looks the same to me.

Vehicle 1 video - 3 Hides - Gimme was eager to go and I forgot to remind Dorothy to start the camera, so you only get part of this search.  When the video starts, Gimme had already found one hide on a back wheel (big van).  She was the only dog in class to go straight down the side of the van, with one 2 second check on the caterpillar, and then nail this hide so quickly.  From there she chased odor back toward the building, which was the way the breeze was blowing.  You do get to see that she turned back to the search area on her own.  She checks another bit that I knew wasn't chasing odor (no breeze could get there) but comes back with a hint of encouragement from me.  Then comes up the side of the caterpillar and switches back over to the van.  The comment I made as she was getting rewarded at the license plate was about her closing her mouth as she got to the front tire and all the way around until she sourced odor.  I couldn't really see what she was doing with her mouth at the other hide, since the spacing prevented me from getting to her side.  I liked that she passed it and then whipped right back to it.

Vehicle 2 video - 1 Hide - For the last search they put a hide under the center of the basket for the people-lifter-crane-thing.  This was such an unusual search and we all got wrapped up watching how the different dogs approached it and none of us verbalized what we were seeing.  In fact it was so interesting, the instructors got wrapped up in it too and forgot to remind us to verbalize.  In my memory it took much longer than this.  Gimme was the fastest.  I like getting to see the video so I can see and appreciate how quickly and efficiently she eliminated the other vehicles on her way.  The other dogs spent more time on the big van, none of them paid any attention to the small van and some paid more attention to the caterpillar.

The people-lifter-crane-thing is such a different obstacle and so I just had to look it up and see if it would qualify for one of our Intermediate 4-Feet-On behaviors.  Good news, it does...
Dog approaches obstacle and gets all four feet on in a safe manner and holds on the obstacle for 2 seconds.  One obstacle must move when dog gets on and s/he must adjust to movement without getting off.
So, I plan to drive over there this weekend and if its still there will talk to the owner and see if we can train on it for a few minutes (then take a video).  It would be fun because its unique.

BTW I have entered an Element Specialty Trial for Vehicles (end of September), the only Level 2 title we don't have.  Gimme has three out of four Level 2 element titles and there is another Dalmatian with just the L2C.  So, we have a strong shot at being the first Dalmatian to get all four Level 2 element titles, just like we did for Level 1.  Of course, it isn't as if I am bragging, "Nothin' but the facts Ma'am."

Monday, August 1, 2016

Title Number 17!!!

Just got the word from International Dog Parkour Association - Gimme met the requirements for her Novice Parkour Dog title (PKD-N).  She got both the Training Level and Novice Parkour titles in 23 days.

I put all the individual title submission clips together into one youtube video.  Its a bit long because I added a lot of screens telling what you are seeing.  The final submission to IDPA is slightly different, since I discovered I'd made a mistake.  I would have changed it on the compilation video, but its already being used to promote the class I'll be teaching and I think if I change it, it gets saved to a new link. 

Novice Parkour Dog title submission video 

It'll take her a bit longer to get the Intermediate Parkour Dog title, though we can already do a number of the behaviors.  Some of them are much harder and we'll have to train up to them.

So proud of my girl - I guess I have to go to the grocery store and buy her a steak...