Our return to parkour class was long awaited and Gimme and I were both excited. Unfortunately I couldn't find the tripod in the car, so didn't get videos. This class has four other students, making it bigger than before and all are unfamiliar dogs. It didn't help when one owner let her 14 month yellow Lab stand behind our car barking before class started. Gimme pretty much ignored the other three dogs, but has decided this one needs to be given what-for, which is aggravated by the dog's tendency to bark shrilly and repeatedly at anything strange to her. With both dogs wanting to get to the other, it made it very challenging to move around class. I finally got my brain in gear and played "whazzat" with Gimme, using the other dog to look at. So then the last time we walked by it was better.
Personally I think the other dog is a bit reactive and could get worse if not dealt with, but she's not my student. I am going to look up some references and share them with Jo, suggesting, at the very least, they should teach her the Look-At-That game, which could be used to get her off the shrill barking.
To start with, we were each to warm up our dogs using equipment in the room. Since I didn't know the other people/dogs, there was no way I was going to venture onto the floor among them. I got a box and an upside down tub and we played with those within our space (behind a barrier). It took a bit for Gimme to really get to work, but then she did nicely.
Our next task was to teach our dog to start from a 4-on position on a prop and step just the front feet off. It was very easy to get Gimme to do this. I'm sure Gimme thought I was having a senior moment, because if this is what I wanted, I should have cued "bacon", which she repeatedly showed me. Still trying to drive the train. I did get her to do the exercise my way and we started naming it "step".
Jo had set up 2 boards (stripes) with the 2 scaffolds (orange), so the dogs got to walk
them in sequence. Gimme loves this kind of stuff. I was happy to see
she remembered "flip" (180º turn) cue, even though we haven't done it
since we were last in class, 4 months ago.
Then we had a series of distance exercises. The basic setup was the PVC
flap thing - I call it the carwash (pink), because there are about 20
straps hanging down the dog has to push through. On both sides were PVC
barriers (zigzag pattern), angled back toward the handler. There was a
prop on the other side of the carwash and we were supposed to teach the
dog to interact with it, even though
we didn't go with them.
The first time there was a cone about 4 feet past the carwash which she needed to go "out" around. Gimme did it twice really nicely, but when we tried to get her to go the other direction, then she got confused. For the second direction, she was turning toward other dogs and I'm sure it was just too distracting. To her credit she didn't leave me, she just couldn't focus. I went ahead and broke it off since she was wildly throwing behaviors at me and we weren't accomplishing anything. She can do sends, but it seems the barrier confused her. I have a LOT of old PVC, so I may make a carwash to train this option (and then will have it when I start teaching).
I don't think Jo's way of teaching this send exercise to the dogs was effective. She basically
had us standing behind the carwash, gesturing and repeating the cue. If
the dog couldn't do it even when we leaned way over the carwash, she
moved the prop. I will teach this entirely different. In Gimme's case, she will do a send to "out" from 15 feet, but its always been with a different approach - the PVC barriers prevented the approach angle she was used to, adding to the difficulty. So I'll be factoring this in to how I teach it.
The second time the send was to a "box" and this was beyond easy for her. The third time there was the barrel part of an agility chute. She was supposed to go "thru" the carwash, "thru" the barrel, then turn right or left to come back to me "thru" the carwash. This was a little more challenging, but a few tossed treats solved the problem and she was able to do it nicely afterward without tossing treats.
Then we did a longer sequence starting with the boards and scaffolds.
As we came off, the dog was sent around a cone and then to do 4-on with a
low platform. They were supposed to "wait" on the platform for ten
seconds. Gimme didn't do her stay very well, starting to come with me.
Its quite possible I didn't pause as I was giving her the cue, so she
was following my motion and not really hearing the verbal cue.
To end class we were to pick a prop and work whatever we wanted on it. Gimme was pretty tired, so I thought she'd enjoy doing "bacon". She did it nicely into a chair, pretty high seat so she had to put extra effort into getting her front feet up. I wanted to do it on the wall too to show off for Jo, but Gimme wasn't very enthused, plus the wall is not textured, so it was slippery. I just encouraged her and rewarded strongly for trying, even though she only kept her feet up for half a second. The floor was slick too, making it even harder.
We'd ended up on the far end of the room from the door and Gimme was really done by this point. So, I waited until the yellow Lab left before we moved through the room. She'd worked so hard and I didn't want to risk ending on a poor note.