Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Monday, May 13, 2019

UKC trial - New Title


Master PreTrial - Gimme did not pass this. She alerted on a box four boxes past the odor box, despite going back and forth and checking them all thoroughly. I think she may have been smelling lingering odor from one of the three prior PTs - which are much more familiar scents. J'Anna says Myrrh is much harder than the other odors.  She thinks it's heavy, while I'm betting it's less volatile. Gimme has only been exposed to Myrrh twice and did very well, but there were no lingering odor distractions. I guess I'll actually have to train it, eh.  [especially now that we move up to Masters in the interior element]

Superior Containers - Gimme Q'd for fourth place in 38.07 seconds. I thought sure she would have faulted, but she didn't. There is supposed to be a distraction, but she gave no sign she noticed it.  J'Anna's dog false alerted on the first box off the startline, so it was likely there. The first place dog was 11 seconds faster than we were. We had 3 minutes for this search.



Superior Vehicles - There were 5 vehicles, one of which was a red self-propelled cart. Gimme went off the start line angling right to two vehicles. She didn't' act interested, and then pulled me to the cart and indicated off the back of it. From there I had her finish searching the first two cars then we went to the other two. Gimme showed interest between them on the white vehicle, then pulled me around the front to the other side, where she went back and forth briefly before indicating on the back wheel. Gimme got 3rd place with this Q in 2:15.07. It didn't seem like it took that long - we had 4 minutes to search. The first place dog was a full minute faster.


Superior Interiors - Gimme Q'd for second place and a new title. She finished this search in 1:15.06 and we got favorable comments all day - there were a lot of people watching. The first place dog beat us with just 9 seconds. There were two search areas, with two hides and one distraction. Gimme paid no attention to the distraction, a Triscuit cracker at the leading edge of the first table in the first search area. I learned we could leave one area and go to the other whenever, provided we first did the search areas in order and starting between the cones. The first area was a 64' long line of tables next to the wall and about 8' wide.

Then perpendicular to the far end was a slightly rectangular area with some benches and a stack of trashcans.

We started in the first area, walking the length of the table and Gimme never brought her nose up off the floor. We walked back down the line and she did the same thing, so we went on to the second area. I really shouldn't have bothered with the second walk down the line, since I knew I could go back to the first area if we didn't find two hides in the second area. If I hadn't wasted the time on a second walk, we likely would have gotten first place, since there was less than 9 seconds separating us.

In the second area, Gimme passed through the area to the back side, then up between those tables against the wall to the end of the last bench, where she alerted under the end/edge of the seat. From there we checked the other two benches, then went to check out the other bench and trashcans. Gimme alerted at the bottom of the trash can (the hide was in an indentation on the bottom, a grip for fingers when dumping the trash). This was a second place Q and finished Gimme's Superior Interior (SI) title.

start line 2 large cones at right
Superior Exterior -

red arrow to hide on bench pile
The judge put the hides exactly where I thought they'd be. During the walk-through I noticed a pile of 3 fist-sized rocks at the base of a tree, clean and looking like they hadn't been there long. And then next to the wall in the corner was a large pile of benches and tables, an obvious place for a hide. When we started the search, Gimme got quickly around the trees to an orange cone and the judge said it marked a spot where a dog had peed. I told Gimme "don't even think about it". She gave me an annoyed look for interrupting her in the process of reading pee-mail, but she did leave it.
red arrows show hides
yellow arrow points to pee cone behind rock

The judge said the benches and between them
and the wall, but not including the wall, was all in play.
Clearly only the smallest dogs could get in there,
so I was sure there wouldn't be a hide there.
As we went around the trees again I saw her look at the rock pile and then obviously veer away from them. As we moved a little further, she made a sudden bee-line to the bench/table pile and alerted within 2 seconds. I was still pretty certain there was a hide under the rock pile, which was just 2 feet from the pee cone. So I took her around and had her check all four utility covers in the ground, then around a big rock and back to the trees, presenting the rock pile again. Gimme indicated, but I wasn't fast enough calling it to suit her, so she swiped the rocks away, exposing the q-tips. She looked at me, looked at the hide and then rolled her eyes and I managed to get "alert" out before she had to be even more obvious. Poor Gimme. It's a good thing she loves me or she might have traded me in long ago...

Even with my doltery, Gimme finished this search in 1:52.08 for third place, we were allotted 5 minutes. When I was checking times, one of the Division A people was bragging about how all the Division A qualifiers had faster times than the fastest Division B qualifier. I just had to point out that all the Division B dogs had to deal with the pee in the search area, left by one of the A dogs. It takes a lot of time to maneuver around a search area, get your dog to all the hides and not present the pee contamination over and over again.

It was a really nice weekend. And Gimme gave me a very nice Mother's Day present.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Nosework class (4/37)

This is our first Tuesday with RallyFrEe practice in the morning and Nosework class in the evening. I was curious to see how Gimme would do. It didn't seem to make a difference.

Interior 1 search video - For this search they had two paired hides placed in a way where the dogs could access them, but only if they were pushy. I didn't think this would be an issue for Gimme and I was right. Dorothy always wants to pick up the toys, but I prefer us to have the chance to work through it. Mostly she leaves them on her own and will definitely leave them if I call her away from them. I love how willing she is to just shove the boxes aside and get in to source the hide. You'll note I take the opportunity to add treats to the paired hide. If I don't she starts ignoring me. I'd rather she wait to see what I will add. As a classmate noted, Gimme doesn't care if there's a box on her head, she's gonna do what she's gonna do. How can anyone not love such attitude?

Interior 2 search video - This time they removed both hides and the dogs got to search for about a minute with no hides available. Then surreptitiously they brought a hide in. I love how Gimme rushes in, then when she doesn't quickly find something to track down, she slows herself down and searches more carefully. For the other dogs they brought an odor box in and placed it on one of the stools - Gimme was last, so Dorothy just opened the door to the bathroom.

Interior 3 search videoGimme solved this search in no time flat. There was just one hide in one of the ORT boxes and she found it very quickly. I went barefoot for this search because we had to do it on leash and moving fast in the thongs was very uncomfortable. I didn't realize the search area would be so small. Clearly I won't wear thongs to class again, eh.

Interior 4 search video - This time they piled all the boxes in the middle of the room with an odor box in a middle. Gimme got right to it and seemed to be considering jumping in, until she found a "crack" she could push through to get to the hide. Again she was totally unconcerned about the large box falling on her head.

Fun class and good to see the RFE practice every other Tuesday won't be hampering her in nosework class.

We have a UKC trial this weekend at the Superior level. We have one Superior Interior, so it's possible we could get another title. We are also doing the Master PreTrial, so we could get it as well. Wish us luck...

Thursday, May 9, 2019

RFE practice (93)

This is the first time we've done RallyFrEe practice on Tuesday when it wasn't an RFE entry video day. It feels very odd and I really wasn't mentally prepared. It'll take a bit before I get into this new routine.

Freeshape "tivo" in a bucket video - She still offers a couple of CCW "pivot" instead of CW "tivo", but I just ignore them. Sometimes I click and she starts to move her feet out and the reward hand gets pulled back until she gets both feet in the bucket. She gives me the first full "tivo" in the bucket in 16 seconds (it was 42 seconds last time). Awesome improvement. She did much better keeping both front feet in the bucket. You'll note sometimes she gets rewarded for just putting her feet in it - which I consider unpredictably easy rewards on a variable schedule of reinforcement. My click timing is awful - it's a wonder she learns anything.

Freeshape back-weave macaroni video - I've decided to only shape one macaroni back-weave through 2 cones. It makes no sense to go further for two reasons. First, I'd have to shape it to four cones to complete the behavior, and second, there is no telling which side they will ask me to do it from, so I'd have to shape the full four cone behavior twice. It makes more sense to shape and put a cue on two discreet behaviors, which can be cued to create the full behavior.

This is the first time we've worked it with the starting cone on Gimme's left, so she struggles getting started. This is the first time I've set the cones up straight, which was too much, especially since I was changing her direction. Gimme is the only dog I've ever known who I can't steer her rear by turning/luring her nose. I don't know why this is. I was so proud of her at 3:42 when she figures out without my help to go around the cone to set herself up.

What you don't see because the camera p.o.v. drifted off of us, is my effort to insert myself into the two cones and how Gimme is able (in just three tries) to do a "boop" out in the open. Before she's only been able to "boop" or "beep" with a barrier limiting her to just one option, so this is a HUGE step forward. Looks like this idea is going to work - Thank You Ilona!!!

Platform work video - I am continuing this work so Gimme can get comfortable standing on the platform while facing away from me - since she always wants to turn it into a spin. Since I'm now consistently farther behind her - I'm noodling about creating a curved target stick, so she can stand normally while I'm behind her, and maybe smear peanut butter on the end and stick cheese pieces to it. This might be just the ticket to bridging the gap between the target stick as a target/lure to becoming treat delivery for a completed behavior. It'll also get rid of her tendency to turn back to me while waiting for the treat after I click (which is worse when I'm on her right and begins the behavior I'm trying to get rid of) and or backing up a step to get closer to the treats.

Back in center & wait on handler return video - We've only done this once before. She knows to "back" on cue, but we haven't done it in a very long time, so I have to refresh her memory. Gimme does fine when I move to her and pivot into position. When I go behind her (as in obedience return) then she turns with me - training required, eh. As always with this girl, she always likes to show me her ideas, ie. "scoot" instead of "back".

Alternative position, "west" & "east" video - J'Anna said I'd used "izzy" when it should have been "otto" and the video shows she was correct. Some dogs can learn a behavior in both directions, but I prefer to have separate cues for each direction, though this shows Gimme will extrapolate when my cuing doesn't make sense - she's so smart. We've only trained this a couple of times and I'm adding cues already because I don't want to muddy the meaning of "izzy" & "otto". She picks these cues up very quickly.
Gimme did well this day - even despite the wiggle-butt tendency.

By the way, the trial J'Anna is talking about is the World Wide I event. I'm not entering Advanced until we can do backward weaves without a lot of gyrations. If she wants to enter Ginger, who she says isn't ready, it's her decision. We clearly aren't ready and I'm not wasting money on the speculation that we could be by mid-June. I don't see any benefit to trying to get the behavior for a video when I haven't trained it enough to be strong in the middle of a course.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Not-freestyle day...

I went to Pawsabilities expecting a workshop on Canine Musical Freestyle and RallyFrEe, but no one signed up, so they didn't hold it. I'd emailed Lezlie that I was coming, but she never replied - so now I wonder if she ever got my email. It turns out the people most interested in the Freestyle class can't do daytime classes, so it's not happening either. They are going to promote it more and see if they can find a mutual time for the instructor and students. Time will tell if we'll be able to attend.

This means we can go back to our regular Thursday schedule for RFE practice and tracking. Unfortunately, J'Anna had already signed up for an advanced obedience class, so she's now unavailable for Thursdays. I've talked to Nadine and we'll be moving all of our tracking to Thursdays so I only make the drive twice in one week, instead of three times.

Since we were already there and the big floor wasn't being used, I set the camera on a tripod and brought in Gimme's bucket prop for a quick practice.

Freeshaping "bucket" video - We hadn't done this for a month, so I was pleased to see how quickly she got to giving me a full "tivo" at just 42 seconds into the video. Interestingly, she offered me "pivot" (CCW) a few times to start. Since she first decided to do "tivo" (CW) in the bucket, even though it doesn't matter which direction she goes, I want to maintain what we originally trained - for the sake of clarity. When she fishtails (back and forth) so quickly it is hard to get a click in and so I miss good opportunities to reward what I want. Of course we are still working on her keeping both feet in the prop - I have to remember to only give her rewards when they are both in.

I love seeing all the progress Gimme is making.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Urban Tracking (138) and field

On Sunday, April 30th, I laid a track for Gimme at Flaming Geyser. It aged for 1:55 and the temperature when we ran it was 60°. Gimme did a particularly nice job with this track, which had interesting challenges.

The first leg was pretty straight forward, though Gimme did go to the right side a few times - going out about 25' and then coming back to the track. She overran the corner, but then came back and made the turn. On the top of the plateau was a large-game bedding spot with our track passing through the middle of it. Gimme stopped right at the edge of it and smelled it for a long time, without stepping further into it. Then when she was done she marched right through it and found the first article 20 feet away.

The second and third turns were both 45° degree turns. On the second turn, she started to follow the track, then turned and went the opposite direction. She checked there several times before committing to the downhill trail. She overran the turn at the bottom of the trail, but turned back and got to the next article quickly.

When I laid the track I walked about 15 feet up the wrong trail. I didn't know where it went, so had to turn back and go on to the right trail. I was curious to see what Gimme would do there. She went just 15 feet up the wrong trail and then without lifting her head, turned back on her track, came back to where I stood and followed the track to where it went onto the next (correct) trail.

She dithered a little bit straight ahead as we came down the trail and out of the woods, but then turned and followed the track. Where it proved most interesting was when we got to the road. The track turned right and followed down the edge of the asphalt. Gimme was certain it had to have crossed the road straight ahead of her. I went with her and let her check things out. She was very interested in continuing straight to the toy-plane flight building, but I didn't go with her. I think in a test where I didn't know the track was behind us and to the right, I might well have followed her. When I didn't go with her she came back to me, crossed back over the road and picked up the track along the edge of the asphalt to the nearby article

The rest of the track was mostly uneventful. There were a couple of excursions to the side here and there, but she wasn't too determined to follow them. She did parallel the track in one long segment, but given the breeze, she may well have smelled track blown out there from the track in front of us.

I'm pleased with how she did and I think I've finally decided what I'd like to do in my free lesson with Sil. At the last seminar I told him she sometimes commits to a line that isn't the track and pulls me hard in a wrong direction. After watching her showcase track, he said she did this when I didn't follow her first, subtler line out. He recommended we only do marked/known tracks. Since I've been doing only marked/known tracks I see she is better, but still sometimes does the false line out. It's possible I'm missing a subtle line out down the track, but I need Sil's expert eye to tell me what I'm doing wrong. After all it can't possibly be her mistake, eh.

On Tuesday, May 1st, Nadine and I met at Auburn Cinema. I asked her to lay a track around the building, sometimes close and sometimes further away. The track was 245 yards long, aged 45 minutes and it was 58°. Nadine laid it in 14 minutes and Gimme ran it in 25 minutes. The breeze was strong and continually changing direction, so it ended up being more challenging than what we expected/planned.

Gimme started out well (upper left starting on grass). She crossed the road readily, but then couldn't' decide what to do from there. She went back and forth along the leading edge of the grass repeatedly and then finally took the plunge and was quickly rewarded by the first article.

The first turn was about 30°, going under the marquee overhang. She did well with this and then was presented with a line of people waiting to get tickets to track through. They were kind enough to move apart a little bit so she could get through. From there we turned 30° in the other direction, down the grass strip, across sidewalk and then into the parking lot. The track basically bounced against the curb turning 90° to the right. Instead Gimme was sure it went along the curb and she followed it quite a distance before she indicated she might not have the track. Right after she turned back, she caught scent of the next article and got across the side lot to it. She picked up the turn there and got through the next turn easily enough.

The next turn proved to be a big challenge. It was a turn away from a landscaping strip back toward the building. Gimme was interested in every direction except back toward the building. She finally did go toward the building and made the next turn easily. The track went along the sidewalk, right at the edge. Gimme followed along somewhat parallel to the track, but in the landscaping and grass between the sidewalk and the building, at varying distances.

She overshot the turn at the end of the sidewalk, but then turned back, took the turn and was rewarded by an article. Our next turn was a left turn between two industrial size garbage containers. One was leaking something particularly foul and it was running right across our track. Gimme went back and forth and wasn't at all interested in going through the stench. (I always thought dogs liked stinky stuff, but apparently not dogs of the Empress persuasion) From there to the end of the track she did a lovely job.

This wasn't a very clean track, but the strong and variable breeze presented us with challenges beyond what I intended. So, overall she did well, given the conditions.

I continue to be amazed at her persistence.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

RFE practice (92)

This is our last Thursday practice. I hope the freestyle class is all the hype.

Freeshaping backward weaves video - Gimme did three bottles at home, but we were clearly starting over here. I made up some "cones" from empty juice bottles, so Gimme won't hurt herself again. Though, I think taller cones helped her remember which side to be on. She was so distracted by the barking, I decided to change the setup back to what we started with to help her get started.

Distance send video - Gimme is well versed in this behavior and I only decided to do it because there was one "cone" out. It's one of the advanced behaviors we use in ADP parkour.

Center front pivot video - Just a quick practice of this in both directions. I was focused on getting Gimme to stick with me on the CCW pivot. She prefers to go fast and will turn it into an "otto" in a nanosecond. Of all the things I've tried, spitting treats to her works best, probably because she has to watch my face, so she can't get too far out of position. 
Platform work video - My goals are for Gimme to be comfortable standing still on the platform while facing away from me. So I'm gradually getting her accustomed to touching the target stick with me in different positions (farther and farther back). I'm also working on a duration touch of the target stick. This is the farthest back I've been able to get, so we are making steady progress. I absolutely must focus on feeding for position. When I changed sides, she offered "turn" several times, so we worked through it.

J'Anna's done as much as she wants in RallyFrEe, so she often is working on different things than I am. Last time and this time, she brought stuff for UKC nosework. Both of her girls, and now Gimme< are entered in Master Pre-Trial for the upcoming trial. Last time we got together she set it up to practice with Glory in a strange location. I was curious what Gimme would do with Myrrh, which she'd never smelled before and she aced it. So I went home and sent in my entry for a master pre-trial test. This time J'Anna set up both interior and exterior searches and then a pre-trial run through.

Interior 1 video - A big challenge here was for Gimme to get into her nosework brain, since we always work other things in this location. Note how her whole demeanor changes when she really smells odor. She does a good job for such a large space. I give her time to get near the distraction, which she basically ignores.

Exterior 1 video - She does a good job with this search. Gimme is more interested in the distraction this time and while she paws at it, she doesn't look at me, so it's not an indication.

Master Pre-trial run-through video - We ran through it three times. I'd only planned to do it twice, but Gimme learned a new trick, sticking her nose in the box until it gets stuck on her face and then flinging the box off. Always entertaining this girl of mine. So we did it a third time to see if she'd indicate in a more normal way.

Next Thursday is the Freestyle and RallyFrEe workshop and then we start Freestyle class the following week.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Nosework class (3/37)

This class was just last week.  Gimme was bored to tears as I was working on taxes and annual filing, so she was verrrrry eager to get to class.  I haven't told her yet, but next week is a skip week.

Exterior 1 video - Gimme races from the startline to the first hide and indicates in 4½ seconds! It takes her much longer to find the other hide. The breeze picked up making it a very messy scent picture. Plus the second hide was only a few feet from the first and higher, so scent from it would have fallen on the first one. Note how Gimme goes back to the first one a couple of times and the second time she moves on by herself going right to the other hide. She's so smart.

Our interior searches focused on suspended hides again.

Interior 1 video - She finds the first hide in 18 seconds - clearly her nose is recovering from the pollen. Once we're at the back of the room, you can just barely see the suspended hide against the blue wall and to the right of the orange divider. Gimme is smelling scent in many places where it's falling and you'll see her sometimes look at me, not as an indication, but to see if I think it's there. Note how right before she indicates, she sniffs low on the green chair and then her nose goes in a straight line to indicate the hide. It took her nearly 2 minutes to solve the puzzle.

Interior 2 video - She races in the room and you'll see her tip her nose up to the hide, but for some reason it wasn't enough to indicate or she just overshot her nose because she was moving too fast. She wanted it to be on the cart. Then she goes back to the suspended hide, indicating in just 38 seconds. Amazing!

The last search was composed of regular hides. Dogs tend to get patterned train and Gimme especially so.

Interior 3 video - She finds the hide on the upturned table quickly and shows she's not the least bit concerned about walking on the icky surface. After Gimme finds the table hide, you'll see her sniff high where she found the last suspended hide. Then she quickly goes to the other hide. She gets both of them, including reward time in 33 seconds.

She was clearly on fire...