Last Thursday we got together with J'Anna and her dog for RallyFrEe practice. Overall I think it went very well and I was happy with how Gimme worked. I made a concerted effort to keep the sessions to around 8 minutes.
Session 1 video - The idea was to warm-up in the corridor outside the ring gates, then stand still at the gates as if waiting to enter, then enter and when you get a moment of good attention - go into reward mode. Gimme started out with little focus, but got better. It had been a month since our last practice. I was using stopping and/or backing up/away a few steps to encourage her to pay attention on her own. She has learned to like the up-touch game because I put a lot of early value into it. After the center-front-pivot, I tried to make the reward period last longer by talking to her between treats (which Kathy suggested). Gimme found this almost too exciting. The second time I stayed bent over, keeping more at her level to encourage her to stay down. When I entered the ring the first time, her attention wandered and I had to step away to get her to look to me, which I was able to reward. I noticed she held attention better while we waited to go in the second time. The third and fourth time were much better - showing it was working.
Session 2 video - This time I wanted to do "exploding tree". Basically be still and wait for focus, then explode into excited play, carefully extending the time of focus needing to get the explosion and games. I have some dead socks I meant to bring so Gimme could tear them up, but forgot. You can see how much she loved this game, since she was about to explode herself in anticipation. After the exploding, we got to work practicing our "out" behavior. Gimme kept going the wrong way around the post.
I got the feeling she didn't really understand why one try was rewarded and the other not rewarded, it was like she was just guessing. It was getting worse, I think because she stops thinking when she's frustrated. So I put up a ring gate to set her up for success and make it clearer. Thus we were able to end correctly.
I realized after watching this - I'm oriented toward the prop the same
way I am when I ask her to "cane" or "orbit". For those behaviors I
want her to go between me and the prop and then loop around it. For
"out" I want her to go directly around it. (diagram) I've been
teaching "out" for parkour, so Gimme may also have been confused by
seeing this new behavior in a different context. Most often the way she was
going wrong was when I was starting with her on my left, which is "cane"
the stronger behavior of the two.
Session 3 video - Gimme started this session with a little more focus than before. I think keeping the sessions shorter leaves her wanting more. I started out with an exploding tree as soon as I could, to get her fully into the game. We ended the session working on her backing between two props, "tween" will be the final cue. She sure has a cute tushy when she's backing up. She was getting it really nicely toward the end.
It occurs to me after watching this - I need to be throwing a treat to her when she backs up. She looks to be developing a habit of taking a certain number of steps back and then coming forward again automatically. I'd like her to go at least double the distance she is doing there.