This was our last day available to video runs for our RFE intermediate West 1 entries. J'Anna got a good video for Glory on Thursday, so she brought Ginger. Those two dogs are as different as night and day.
Session 1 video - Gimme was highly distracted by the open garage door. I'm sure it doesn't help that this is where are the mouse smells are. We closed it because the bright back light made the video hard to see. Even after we shut the door Gimme was still distracted. Trying to work on "pivot" was unsuccessful, so switched to a bit of off "side" heeling. I'm sure with all the focus I've put on learning these intermediate behaviors, I haven't been rewarding enough "heel" and "side". After just a bit of heeling, Gimme does a much better job on "pivot". When I take her over to work on "izzy" I showed Gimme the nuggies waiting for her. I know she was well aware of where here nuggies were the moment she came in the door; just wanted to make sure she knew I knew where they were, as well as their availability to be earned. I've noticed recently she isn't stopping with me during heeling, so I put some rewards into the stopping bank account. I also started using "halt", a parkour cue, to help her know what to do. I love her ability to apply a cue from one sport to another. Sometimes her "izzy" is a two-part behavior. It's something we are working on and when she does it without turning the wrong way and then flipping back into it, then she gets a huge jackpot. Remember, "izzy" is hard because the turn is in her less comfortable direction - so uncurling in the middle of it surely feels more natural. It was a big step for her to simply stop for a treat and then finish for the next treat without uncurling. She did a lovely job on the reverse pivot. Unfortunately we will earn a substantial deduction since the sign is for a pivot. I've been doing it wrong a long time and J'Anna has never noticed. The good news is - I can now go back to using it as a free choice move. We work on some more of the course before we get to sidestep right. As I watch this video I realize how food obsessed she is getting - which I now know is related to her impending false pregnancy.
Session 2 video - J'Anna thought she needed to make different videos of each of my course attempts because she doesn't know how to edit hers, thus the blip early in. For this session we mostly did run-throughs, with focus on the problem areas as they cropped up. When I was trying to get a "center-sit", Gimme gave me the best "izzy" ever and of course, I rewarded it. I sure wasn't going to let it slip by. Thinking Gimme might be confused by the proximity of where I wanted "izzy" and where I wanted "center-sit-paw" I rearranged the location of my free choice behaviors. In hindsight I realize she was actually confused by her location relative to me, not the room. Moving this helped, but it didn't clear up the "bacon". Later in the week I get her an adjustment, since I had noticed a warm area in her back over the barn hunt weekend. J'Anna comes up with the idea to abandon "bacon" and just go for "table", because the judge doesn't know what you planned. This morphs into "pivot" because she resists getting all four feet on the prop. She usually will do almost anything for treats, so I assume she's uncomfortable with it.
Session 3 video - This time I started with backing up in heel; given how much she loves backing up you'd think she'd be totally into this. I have to believe she just doesn't yet understand what I want. One time we got two-thirds of the way through before the first completely failed behavior.
I took the opportunity to reward two weak points and then did another run-through. It wasn't perfect, but I felt it was as close as we were going to get. Knowing now how I was doing the pivot wrong, it's even further than I thought. It's okay to not pass... we've learned a lot in the last couple of months getting ready for it and I've learned a lot from the video attempts. RFE West 1 Intermediate Entry video.
Gimme is pretty much in a false pregnancy now, even though early stage. So we'll be focusing on basics with a lot of motivation for the next six weeks. I can work gently on improving the intermediate behaviors as well. The timing should work out for us to enter the RFE World Wide video show in December.
Meanwhile I'm studying up on RFE judging parameters. I plan to analyze my video, one behavior at a time, and see how my critique stacks up with the report I get from the judge. I think it will be a good exercise to improve my scores over the long haul.