On Thursday, 9/8, we met at Pawsabilities for RallyFrEe practice. My goal was to see where Gimme was mentally. During the last day of the tracking seminar the weekend before, I'd decided she was nearly out of the false pregnancy, but of course, that is tracking and its very different from RFE.
Session 1 video - We started with a couple of good reorients in the doorway, edited out because of glaring backlight. Noticed a strong tendency to heel wide, so I side-stepped away to encourage her to get closer. I did the same when she turned her attention away from me. I worked some changes of behavior (down, sit, stand) and change of position (heel, center, side). We also did a center front pivot, first time in quite awhile. I need to do a better job of pivoting in place, each time I moved about a foot to the side as I pivoted. Gimme was really confused about backing out of the center position from the pivot, we always back from center. She offers a lot of behaviors, which she does when she's confused. Bringing out the target pad helped quite a bit. I noticed she decided "side" can be with her butt swung out 45º, so we worked on this too. My attempts to lure it didn't work well and just made her food focused instead of thinking. Maybe because I'd fallen back into food in my hands. She did well when moving, but swung the butt out every time we stopped. I notice she was doing setup in side position well, but the moment she stood - the butt went out. Interesting when we did the pivot with her at side, she kept alignment really good. I want to revisit "side" on the platform and with barriers at home and then without, as well as in the different behaviors, to reestablish the idea of alignment. She loved destroying the big red sock - a satisfying ripping sound really charges her up.
About backing: we've worked on fading the target at home and in the yard and she does a great job there. I think I need to fade the target in more locations. And I probably also need to do "back" directly after other behaviors more often, rather than as a stand alone.
Session 2 video - I started with focusing on her side position and more stepping away when she turned her attention away. We played at finding position using heel, side and center, sometimes with me moving. I did see when she is coming in wide I have a tendency to close the gap for her - bad me. I added in spins, turns, around, behind and thru - trying to reward good end positions. Then we added under (from behind me) which we haven't done in ages; I was pleased she remembered.
Session 3 video - Because the other two sessions had been longer than intended, I intended to make this one short, but it actually turned out to be more like what I'm aiming for - clearly my sense of time is skewed. What was left of the red sock was in my back pocket and Gimme pokes it with her nose at 1:00 (does the same in nosework class). Looking at this its clear she wasn't really focused, probably brain tired from the other sessions. There were a bunch of people coming, going and standing around the daycare door and someone running the vacuum - all big distractions. I do notice in this and the other videos - I had my shoulders out of alignment a lot of the time. It was really obvious when she was in "side" and I asked for a "turn" (spin from side) and she started to back around me, because she reads the shoulder turn as her cue to back in side/heel pivot toward her. I need to work on "spin" and "turn" from center, since she gives me "spin" regardless of which I cue. She did get it, but we need to have it more consistent (i.e. without reminder). She did well with around-under, but was inconsistent with behind-under. I finally realized it was because of how I was opening up the gap. Once I got my part right, behind-under was perfect.
At the time this was a rather frustrating session, but in looking over the videos with a critical eye - Gimme was actually doing well. We are miles ahead of where we've been following every other false pregnancy.
I think this coming week I want to review the early exercises Kathy gave me, to clean up Gimme's understanding and our performance. Then I know Kathy has some other exercises she wants to give me, which I hope we'll be ready for the time after.