So sad to think we only have one more night of class. I think I already mentioned we won't be continuing with the group class. Its on a Sunday night and with this being the show season, I'd be missing so many classes. I tried to work a deal with the owner, but she's unwilling to compromise and I'm unwilling to pay the full amount for something I'll only get half of. I'm talking with the instructor about taking a monthly private lesson.
Class last night was challenging in so many ways. I had a migraine after going to see my Dad for Memorial Day. Its always emotional for me and this was no exception. Things which are hard for me always affect Gimme and she was quite upset. Probably not the best idea to go to Tahoma on the way to class. Gimme and I had a big hug-fest and agreed we'd let-it-go and have fun in class. Despite my best intentions, the migraine declined to be let go.
I also decided not to take Gimme's soft crate into class. I brought lots of bedding to put under her matt, so it would be inviting. I also set up a visual barrier for her. She actually did quite well in this respect, even though at times the other dogs were only 6 feet away while they did the course.
Class was all about getting the dogs to be more controlled, stimulus control vs offering whatever behavior they want. Session 1 video For the first session, we had a board and were to start with having the dog sit before getting on. I was very proud of Gimme for not reacting to Jo's dog which barked loudly when she approached the board. She did well, learning to win by waiting for me to suggest what was going to work. As we all know, this is against her natural inclination.
Note the woman moving her dog - I love this gal. She never has to be asked, is always on top of things, thus I never have to worry about her dog. In our first class her dog wanted to give-eye to Gimme and she put a stop to it right away. Jo is always so good about reminding me to feed the right behaviors, as I have a tendency to feed everything. She's really a very good instructor and has a good eye for details. Session 2 video At one point Gimme is in a down and I keep cuing "stand", but she's so busy offering me sits and downs, she doesn't actually tune in to what I want.
Gimme is usually very good on the ladder, but she had trouble tonight. Session 3 video Partly she was in food mode and partly its because there is another dog so close (about 6 feet). When she started getting really tense, I pulled her off the ladder and massaged her for a short bit and then she shook it off and was much better. Jo suggested I deliver the treats to the far side so she would be less likely to turn toward me and would be more balanced. I couldn't see Gimme's back feet to know when she had them up on the ladder rungs, so Jo was saying yes" for me. She also suggested I make Gimme wait for the treat to come to her instead of always moving toward it. This will be a hard habit to break for both of us. I did a little Doggie Zen to help Gimme understand what I wanted.
Session 4 video For this fourth session, Gimme got on the board before I cued it. So I had her get off and then got sits, over and over, closer each time - just to help her understand to wait for me. You know how she loves to drive the train. Still, she did really well with this - you can see she's getting the idea.
Session 5 video Gimme likes getting on things. I'm not sure why she got so tense on the one disc, since this normally doesn't faze her in the least. I think sometimes when they get tense and the surface starts vibrating with them, its not easy to stop. I wish I had massaged her sooner. It seemed to help right away.
Session 6 video Gimme always likes to use any opportunity to give Jo kisses and being on the scaffold is always a good one. Besides, she deserved a reward after bypassing the chance to offer "box", her favorite Parkour activity.
This time she was cued to "box". Its was a challenge to not go on ramp straight ahead as she exited the box. She did a nice job all around here and its obvious she is really thinking about what she is doing. Session 7 video
We had a whole course for the last video. Session 8 video There is a blue page in the middle where I cut out 40 seconds which fell outside the camera range. We were to leave the props and get our dogs to go around a large cone. Gimme just had the absolute hardest time with this - not even able to follow a lure. She really was confused and didn't know what to do. To a large extent I think her brain was simply used up. This is also the behavior we discovered had disappeared following her seizure March 25th. Both "cane" and "orbit", behaviors to circle around something (CCW and CW) have completely disappeared. Following prior seizures, behaviors lost their link to the verbal cue and had to be refreshed in each training session for awhile. For these two, its not a matter of refreshing, rather I am teaching them from scratch and its been a very slow process. Ordinarily I would have given her a break, but I knew we'd be moving to easier stuff and she'd get to end on a good note. So I lured really slow to get her through it and then we went on to the easy stuff.
I've never seen Gimme this brain-tired. She slept soundly all the way home. I called her name once and didn't even get an eye flicker. I think this was a really good class for her and one with potential to help her learn to think in other situations. Sure wish we could continue in Jo's classes.
BTW when I got home last night, it was to a notice we'd gotten into the Salem, Oregon, NW3 trial next weekend. I sure never thought we'd get in there, since we started at #55 on the waitlist. Start crossing your fingers now - we'll need all the help we can get.