Gimme is going into her false pregnancy. The baby isn't supposed to be due for another week, but she decided to bring bunny-baby to bed last night. My plan was to work on basics and on some new stuff, making sure I broke stuff down to small increments and kept up a high rate of reward. I forgot my camera, so asked J'Anna to make a summary list of what we worked on. Based on her list, this is what I remember.
Door entry with automatic reorientation - I worked on some attention before we ever came through the door, so this went well.
"Set-up" - We did two on the way to the table. We haven't done these for awhile and Gimme was excited to do them again. I think she really likes it when she knows how to win.
"Wait" - I planned to use my phone to alert me when seven minutes had passed, so I could keep our sessions short. I put Gimme in a sit stay while I went to the counter to get my phone and as I was moving -back toward her she broke her stay, so we worked on stays. She just didn't seem clear in her head to resist distraction, so I kept having to break it down further and further. When we finally got a couple good waits, I moved on other stuff. But first I did some treat tossing, to bleed off frustration. In hindsight, I should have done more active stuff and then come back to stays.
Heeling - We worked heel on both sides. Gimme's left side "set-up" and "heel" was really nice. She was giving me nice position and was tight and attentive. On the right side, "set-up" was really good, "side" moving wasn't as good. So we worked it a bit more. We ended with some treat tossing.
"Center" - We did some center stand work, first holding position and then center-pivot in both directions. Gimme really likes this and did well.
"Far-out" - I wanted to try what Kathy had suggested for teaching the distance "around" and "behind" (circling me). Her plan is to first teach the dog to stay "out" by keeping the cones close enough to each other so they don't try to edge in between them. I first set up 4 cones with about 3 feet between them. Gimme couldn't do these consistently and seemed to be trying to weave them. I'm sure from her perspective this seemed reasonable, especially with the hardscape weaves we've been doing in Parkour. So I filled in the gaps with more cones, so the gaps were smaller and less attractive. Then I stayed closer until she got the idea. I did find she still tended to want to drift in between the last two cones, which was easily solved when I started tossing the rewards out in front of her. Once we got the technical bits worked out, Gimme really liked this - lots of reward and movement always makes her happy.
Between sessions I set up some chairs and ring fencing to create a square space with barriers around it our back around training (I left my set of guides at home).
The green squares are chairs and the blue dotted lines are ring
fencing. I didn't want to use just ring fencing because I don't think its stable enough.
Door entry with automatic reorientation - Again went well.
"Set-up" - We did two on the way to the table.
"Wait" - One quick stay while I got the phone. I gave Gimme a reminder cue as I moved toward her and she did well.
"Side" - We began with right side heeling, big lines, then around the chair square and around some of the course numbers.
"Far-out" - We did some in both directions. Then I took out one cone creating a gap in the center of the line. I wanted to start spreading them out, being sure to keep the spacing at the end of the line the same until she's sure on the behavior. I tried to click faster movement, since I'd like her end behavior to be done at a very quick pace.
"Can" and "Pivot" - We used a prop J'Anna had set up to practice Gimme's "can" and "pivot" (forehand CCW pivot). It took a bit to convince Gimme to actually listen to my cues and do those. She assumed I wanted her to back
onto the prop - which we've been doing a lot of with Parkour. It
occurs to me I should drop the "can" cue since its the same as the
"table" cue I use in Parkour. I should also use "hands" before "pivot"
to clarify to front feet, since it shouldn't make a difference whether
the prop is low or tall.
"Otto" - Gimme is just learning to
back around me, starting and ending in heel position. I've started
fading the guides at home and learned then I needed to be slower about
fading them behind me - probably using other barriers would help, though
I have to be careful not to pick something she'd think she could back onto. For these I just stood in the chair square and cued
her to get into heel position, then a clicked any movement backward -
the one time her fidgety feet come in handy. Since she'd been doing
full back arounds at home, it didn't take her long to work up to them
here. I am also starting to attach the cue.
In case you wonder how
I came up with the "Otto" cue. I went online to translate "around" and
"behind" into other languages. I tried several and came up with
Croation. "Around" becomes "oto" and "behind" becomes "izu". Both of
which would be fine as cues, but to make them easier to remember I
changed them to "Otto" and "Izzy". This may all seem weird, but
remember, cues only have to make sense to the person using them - me.
"Spin" "Turn" "Around"
- The phone alarm had just gone off and I don't want Gimme to associate
it with an end to work, so I wanted to do a couple of behaviors I
expected her to know well.
"Otto" - For the last
back-around I had her do a twofer and then she got a huge reward, lots
of cheese on the way to the table where she got several pieces of raw
Door entry with automatic reorientation - Solid. I kept the phone in my pocket, so I just set it while she waited beside me.
"Can" and "Pivot" - We did a couple reps and then moved on.
"Far-out" - We did half a dozen repetitions with the gap in the center of the line.
"Otto" - I faded the barriers a
little more in two separate steps. For the first one I removed the front and side ring fencing. The main reason for the ring fencing had been so Gimme didn't think she was supposed to be doing something with the chairs. We did a few repetitions and then I removed one of the side chairs. Gimme really progressed nicely with this, especially since its the first time she's done it outside our living room.
"Table" and "Bacon” - We used the chair I'd removed as a prop for "table" (4 feet on) and "bacon" (back onto prop). "Bacon" has become one of her favorite behaviors.
Honestly backing up has become one of the things she really likes to do. I'd tried to teach her the back-around before, but it just wasn't working for her. I need to have it for the intermediate level of RallyFrEe (she has all the other intermediate skills), so decided to try it again. Using the guides and free-shaping, she was giving me a full back-around in one session. Its a lot of fun working with a canine genius.
Our sessions were much better timing than I've been doing. The first two sessions were around 8 minutes. We finished the third session before the timer went off, so it was probably around 6:30.
Since she's been getting woofy in the evenings, I know she's moving into Mommy-brain. Thus I was very pleased with how she did. Too bad I didn't get it on video.