Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
ADPL4(2), ADPL4(GC), ADPGCH, ADPL5(2), RATCH, CZ8S and AI... 54 and counting...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Parkour (3/1)

Sadly I forgot to take my camera, so there are no videos this time.  Gimme was awesome, naturally.  Its really not fair to compare the other dogs to her, since I raised her with performance goals in mind, so she has oodles of body awareness and confidence.  There really isn't much she won't try to do for me.  

I do enjoy watching the progress of the other dogs when Gimme is taking a break in her soft crate.  I love how this sport focuses so much on taking each dog on his/her own merits and working them within their comfort zone.  There is a lot of emphasis on respecting the dog and providing for their emotional safety along with their physical safety.

We started class with our warm-up and I did a nearby ladder for cavaletti style work.  Then we did multiples of "spin", "turn", "around", "behind", "sit", "down", "stand", "thru" and "bow".  Gimme was still very distracted by the presence of the other dogs, so most of this was lured the first time or two.  In essence its a warm-up for her brain and her body.  Once her brain was warmed up, she was pestering me to let her do some stuff - she really likes this Parkour.

Our first exercise to work on was "hands" - putting 2-on something.  I really should have focused on this before I started so much rewarding of "table" (4-on).  Gimme has a lot of experience with getting on things, so its easy and fun for her.  It was challenging to find a way to lure just two feet on and get her to stop there.  I did find luring her onto surfaces where she couldn't get 4-on helped.  Such as the wall, back of chair or one of the dividers.  I was glad to see she had no angst about the dividers, especially after the first time when it moved.  One of the Parkour skills as we advance is for the dogs to have confidence about things which move.  I will be focusing during our walks on just putting her "hands" on things and rewarding heavily so it gains value.  I suspect I'll need to really work to get this one on a verbal cue, which we'll definitely need since discrimination is another Parkour skill.  I will have my hands full getting her listening for the difference.  After each set of skills we get to show-n-tell with what our dog did.  Gimme showed her feet on the wall and the top of the divider.

Our next exercise was 4-on, "table".  Gimme is very strong on this, so I picked some obstacles which were on the small side so she'd be challenged.  As I said, she's very enthusiastic and confident about getting on stuff.  Since everyone now kinda knows the drill, there is a lot more moving around and busy-ness, and this also makes the environment a little less predictable for Gimme.  All the other dogs are pleasant and well behaved, so I used this time to work a little closer to the other dogs.  I could see I was stretching her comfort zone, so I was watching her very carefully to be sure I didn't push her too far.  I was very proud when Gimme told me clearly she'd had enough and needed a break in her safe place (the soft crate).   I honored her desire, though I did stop before we got there and asked for one behavior.  I wanted to reiterate for her to make a calm decision to retreat - not a frantic dash.

While Gimme was taking a break I watched for a time when others were done with it and got the little round wobble board (about 16" across) and brought it into our area.  We have a corner of the room which is "ours".  Gimme has been on a wobble board before, but never one this small.  Mine is 40x40 inches, so it doesn't tip nearly as much.  Plus this is small enough to make it a challenge for a girl her size, even if it wasn't tipping.  Gimme enjoyed working on it.  She wasn't the least bit concerned by its movement, though it did take her a few tries to get all her feet on it.  Then we got on the bone-shaped balance disc.  It was a little challenging for Gimme to get all four feet on it and by then another dog was working nearby.  Gimme stopped to watch him for a few seconds, then turned back to what I was asking her to do, doing so successfully.  She assessed something which concerned her and then chose to go back to work.  I couldn't have been more proud.  For show-n-tell we showed her on the little platform (6"H, 6"W, 12"L), the wobble board and the bone-shaped balance disc.

Our third exercise was pivots.   Gimme knows to "pivot" on her brick, a 7-inch diameter octagon shape cut from a piece of 2x12.  She sees it and immediately knows to "pivot" CCW with her front feet on it.  I'd always intended to teach her "tivo" a CW pivot, but waited too long and I didn't have any good success free-shaping it, since the environmental cue of the brick was too strong.  So for Parkour we are learning two new things.  First Gimme needed to learn she could "pivot" using something besides our brick.  It took a few times of me luring it and then she got into it and was doing it on cue almost as fast as she does with the brick.  Of course these things were all taller, so its a different physical skill for her.

Then I switched to luring the CW "tivo" and she was getting this too.  I think it made a big difference to have a completely different prop.  Jo came over and watched us and suggested I slow her down on luring "tivo".  Gimme is so fast when she does things, she thought it was important for her to slow down and think about her foot placement and get as comfortable as she is going the other direction.  So now I'm hopeful we may one day get the other direction on cue.  Woo hoo.  

For show-n-tell she did pivots in both directions, one on verbal cue and one lured.  None of the other dogs had any experience with this behavior, so Gimme was able to show them what it will look like someday.

Gimme and I are both having a lot of fun with this.  She slept halfway home.   But then she woke up and fussed off and all the rest of the way home.  We'd left home in a hurry and I forgot to bring along SuperCow-baby (and the camera), and she was missing it.  The first thing she did when we got home was to get her baby and play with it for awhile.  Imagine squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeeeeeeak for about thirty minutes non-stop.  It took her a long time to settle down, but she finally did. 

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