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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

RFE practice (66)

You can't tell it from watching, but Gimme had a jammed toe. I knew she'd been a little off for a couple days, had scheduled her for the chiropractor later in the day, and was prepared to take things easy on her. I had no idea what was wrong and she isn't limping or anything, she was just off her game and I was hopeful Dr. Powell would be able to help.

Distraction work video - We had set up a prop weave and I used stuffed animals for the props, knowing it would be a distraction challenge. She does pretty good overall. She had one moment when she needed a lot of help to not get sucked in by the distraction. Probably the hardest part was when I was asking her to sit/setup near them. The third time was the best, with a much faster response to the cue. After this we heeled through the course, stopping for every sign, but not doing the behaviors.

Behavior warm-up video - This was just a quick doodling session with different behaviors to end the heeling/distraction session. Looks like "otto" and "izzy" are back - amazing, especially given how little we've worked on them.

Down-stand video - I wanted to focus both on alignment and getting a full down (butt and elbows down). Remember, since I wasn't sure what was going on with her physically, I was trying to keep things short and sweet - getting a couple good reps and then moving on. It went nicely.

Alternating front cross video - This is mostly for me to practice making sure I take a full step forward before pivoting around her. Gimme does her front cross beautifully. The only other thing I see we need to practice is her not moving as I step into place. Since she had a sore toe, it's possible she was worried about it, but I seem to remember seeing this before.

Step back center video - We hadn't done this in a very long time, so I thought it would be a good one to practice. Gimme did fine at it. I need to practice the transitions to/from "heel" or "side" to "center" more, but the step back is fine.

Switch-back video - Just a couple of switchbacks because we haven't done them in a long time.

Paw lift video - My goal was to click when only one paw was off the ground - easier said than done. She's much better at keeping her other foot on the ground when lifting her right paw "high". I also did some treats when she was not offering. Getting her to wait for the cue is always a challenge. I did discover fiddling with my fingers distracted her from offering so I could get the cue in. Gimme is pretty certain waiting for the cue is a bunch of crap.

We were running over time, as we often do, and there were others scheduled to use the big floor, so we moved to the puppy room. We haven't worked in there for well over a year, so Gimme was distracted by the change.

Circle the cane video - It may be the distraction of the environment was affecting her concentration and since it was our last session, she may have been mentally tired. However, seeing this video and knowing about her sore toe, I also think she may have been reluctant to move so close to my big clodhoppers. In any case, this proved very challenging. I want to practice it at home a few times before bringing it to Pawsabilities again.

About U 180 video - We hadn't done this in too long to remember, so I tried it out. The key is to let the dog get started on their circle before the handler starts their turn. So Gimme did it flawlessly.

Alternate position, no video - I had planned to teach Gimme to stand in front of me and perpendicular as an alternate position, but it wasn't working this day. Gimme just didn't want to do it. It may have been the toe thing or maybe something else. I'll try it again at home and if she still objects, we'll try a different position. She'd likely do fine with a reverse "heel" or reverse "side", which may be more useful in any case.

Fortunately Dr. Powell was able to un-jam her toe. Then he went over the rest of her in great detail and found nothing but minor adjustments. We spent the full 30 minutes and he petted her and she got cookies. So then at the end of the appointment, Gimme let him check her foot/toe again and happily the adjustment was holding. I'll be watching her and if I see anything, I will get her in to see him when he comes to town again (8 days from now). So far, so good...

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