One of my goals for this practice was to run through each of the behaviors I needed for a novice trick dog title. I asked J'Anna to be our witness. All the behaviors I chose from the list are things Gimme already knows, so it was a matter of warming up her brain and then demonstrating them to J'Anna's satisfaction. I have to get the novice title before I can proceed. Gimme already knows most of what she'll need for the intermediate title. Then for advanced and expert we'll start learning new stuff.
I have to say I did get the alarm on my phone to work right this time, but still ended up with each session running 9-10 minutes, when my goal is no more than 8 minutes. It doesn't seem like I'm working this long after the alarm goes off at 7 minutes, but clearly I am. So next time will set the alarm for a shorter time, since my own sense of time is hopelessly skewed. <sigh>
Session 1 video - We start by Gimme getting completely tangled in her leash. Normally I can cue "tangle" and she'll stop and step her feet out of the leash, but not today. We started with a bit of "with me", which is loose leash walking (not heel). Then we did "kisses", where Gimme puts her feet up on my arm (butler style) to give me a kiss. From there we did "down" and then worked on our doggie pushups, "down"/"stand". Gimme is strong on "down"/"sit", but the "stand" is harder for her. I thought she'd done it well enough, so I moved on to the pedestal trick, which is her "pivot" on a prop. From there we demonstrated her "sit", then did a bit of heeling. This is followed by a demonstration of her "spin" and "turn", and then "come".
I thought the figure-8 would be so easy, but have discovered a problem. She does sometimes miss the space, but I understand this. However, since we started working on going "thru" a smaller space, we've lost the movement to the other side during the figure-8, while the walking weave is unaffected. The problem is more noticeable with "thru-heel" and you'll see there is a back spin behind me before she shows up on the correct side - probably because she is more limber curving her body in the other direction. I think the reason is because a smaller space requires her to curve her body more, so there is a tendency to continue the same curved-body movement. This results in "right" or "left" (leg circles) instead of "thru-heel" or "thru-side". With the bigger space, she was basically slicing the space between my legs, so it was pointing her right toward the other position. This was very frustrating for both of us and something we'll have to work at. Kind of amazing how much difference a small change can make in how the dog is able to perform a behavior which was well-known. Also makes me wonder just what she "knew" about this behavior, eh.
After this we demonstrate following a pointed finger, hand touch, pushups, and finished with paws up on an object.
Session 2 video - We did the last three behaviors we needed for the title. First was shake hands, which she gets right away, even though we haven't done it in a very long time. Then I showed J'Anna our food refusal version, which is a self-control exercise I started teaching Gimme when she was only a couple months old. It took her a long time to get enough self-control to be successful at this when she was a baby, but now she nails it. I love how she self-regulates by not even looking at the "mine" treats. Then we did the fetch. Gimme gets rather toy-manic right after a false pregnancy. Remember how she went to the table when I took the leash off - it was to check out the toy I'd placed there for this exercise. It wasn't one of ours, but she still knew it was there. It occurs to me I should be using her toy-mania. One of the things I've wanted to get started on was to end the continual stream of treats since she's no longer in Mommy-brain. Using toy-play could be part of this.
For the balance of the session we worked on some heeling then finding position. J'Anna's prop becomes a huge distraction, as would be anything one could use for "bacon", doncha know. We did a little work with "under" and then revisited the figure-8. She got it much faster this time, but its going to take some time to get it solid again. I tried to get some good "under" behaviors, but Gimme was unfocused and not listening to cues. Listening skills is one of the things which disappears when she's worked too long and it should have been a dead giveaway about the time (8:30). We finished up with some heeling and then pivoting in side position.
Session 3 video - In an effort to start weaning Gimme off the non-stop treats, I brought in our special bowl. Its been a long time, but she definitely remembered it. One of the cool aspects of using it is how it is both a reward and a distraction. Mostly we did some doodling. One rule I've established is - the click marks the behavior as correct, but only "yours" releases her to the bowl. After all, I might reward her from treats I have on me. As a reminder, Gimme has her own rule about special bowl. If the bowl is on the floor and I add treats to it, those are hers right away. If I pick it up, add treats to it and then set it on the floor, then she has to work to earn those. As you can see heeling right by the bowl is very hard work, but you have to love her determination. Special bowl brings out her work ethic - mostly. She is briefly distracted by the beginning of a puppy play session in the next area over. Sometimes Gimme thinks it is time and she can go to the bowl on her own. Mostly she rethinks it and turns back to me. Occasionally its clear no rethinking is going to happen and a sharp "no" escapes my lips. I don't intentionally use "no", it just happens. She's heard it seldom and mostly its just an interrupting sound, her name would work just as well.