Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
NW1, NW2, L1I, L1E, L1C, RATI, RATN, RATO, RATS, L1V, L2C, L2I, L2E, RATM, R-FE/N, PKD-TL, PKD-N, ADPL1, ADPL2, TD, UWP, ADPL3, NTD, TKN, L2V, ADPL4, SDS-N, ADPL5, ADPCH, ADP1(2), ADPL1(GC), ADPL2(2), ADPL2(GC), VPN, AP, UWPCH, ADPL3(2), ADPL3(GC), NC, NI, NE, SCN, SIN, SEN, CZ8B, NV, NN, ADPL4(2), ADPL4GC), ADPGCH, ADPL5(2), RATCH, CZ8S, AI, TKI, AV, AE, AC, and AN... 59 and counting...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dead "Bug"

My back is all screwed up right now, so I wanted to give Gimme a training session without having to move from the couch.  I thought free-shaping a "bug" behavior, as in "what does a dead 'bug' look like?" would do it. I had some specifics that I wanted to be part of the new behavior.

First, I don't want to start by cuing "down" because I don't want there to be any vagueness of what the behavior means; i.e. I don't want her to get the idea that she can use it as a transition to other behaviors.  The last thing I need is to be in the obedience ring some day and have her show her dead "bug" behavior during a drop on recall, or to "grape" during stays.

Second, I wanted her to roll the other direction.  For "grape" she rolls onto her right hip and then rolls over.  So for "bug" I wanted her to roll onto her left hip and then stop on her back and hold the position.  She almost always rolls onto the right hip when relaxed and curls in that direction when napping, so I also wanted this specificity for her flexibility.

I thought I'd free-shape it all the way through, but hadn't counted on how really challenging it would be to overcome the pre-existing motor pattern.  Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  I was able to shape a down with ever so slight of a lean toward the left hip, but that was as far as we could get.  She just couldn't seem to wrap her mind around the idea of actually rolling onto her left hip and she was getting very frustrated and basically yelling at me.

So I resorted to luring her from there to get that roll and then from there onto her back.  I clicked any time she was on her back with all four feet upward.  She's so muscular that she tended to continue the roll on over and that wasn't what I wanted.  So a couple of times, I didn't click, instead just feeding her treat-after-treat-after-treat in position.  She'd use my hands to steady herself, otherwise she'd just flop on over.  Then she figured out on her own that if she curved her body in a c-shape, that it would steady her in position and she got more treats that way.

Then she leapt up and had to show me that she could do "bug" by rolling onto her right hip.  You may well imagine how frustrated she got and how much doggie yelling ensued when I didn't reward her version.  After she calmed down, I lured her the way I wanted it twice more - rewarding a lot in position.

After that she demo'd her way again.  Then she stood there talking to me - I'm sure if I could speak dog that she made a eloquent case for her approach.  Naturally I let her speak her mind, after which she just stood there staring at me as if I was bereft of any understanding regarding her plight.  Then, to humor me, she dropped and gave me "bug" the way I wanted it and got at least twenty treats in position.  After which we ended the training session.

I'm sure she finds my insistence on doing things my way, to be my most annoying and frustrating character flaw.  Fortunately I have redeeming qualities - like believing that the sun rises and sets in her shadow.  Not to mention that I pay well...

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