We met today for RallyFrEe practice. I thought it went MUCH better. Its been better over the last couple of practices, but the difference today was huge. I credit this to Kathy's help, cleaning up my training and developing training games Gimme loves.
Session 1 video
Our first session lasted 12 minutes, but it didn't seem that long. I had so much more focus from Gimme, she was like a completely different dog. I decided she doesn't need a perimeter walk anymore. She's been in the building 40 times, so its time for both of us to let it go. I fully expected to spend the entire time in the middle of the floor, but Gimme did much better with this than I expected. I had J'Anna video from the moment we came in the door. There were a couple of times I'd have to back away from distractions, but overall she seemed to enjoy the new challenge. Oddly, I think having her do a sit-stay as I went to latch the door had the effect of helping her focus.
We had a prop weave in the course and I knew the stuffed animals would be distracting. I backed away a couple of times when she pulled toward the stuffed toys, but I think the most meaningful moment for her was when she started toward one and I stepped in front of her - body blocking (at about 2:40). This seemed to really make it clear to her to resist the distraction.
We played the get-it-and-find game. I used 5-treat jackpots for finding "heel" or "side", with a piece of raw steak thrown in when she did a really good job. If there was something I didn't like about her effort (see 11:00), she still got rewarded, but only with 1 piece of cheese, the usual. At the time, it feels like I am racing around the room and yet on video it looks like a casual saunter most of the time. Gimme would like more speed, but its hard in RallyFrEe with all the stops/starts.
With this brain warm-up, even without perimeter walk, I thought she did a lot better on the course work. The down-stand was better, but not as good as I'm getting at home. The side-passes we've not done much of and I probably shouldn't have put it in here. She had a real challenge with the circle-left-turn which was down in the corner close to the daycare room. She got distracted, but I didn't lose her completely, as I have before. Her mind wandered at the 270-right in the other corner, so I did a couple loops of heeling to get her focused, then it went better. I don't know what it is about corners, but I lost her briefly at the other corner too. I just remembered, I used to loose Michael in the corners of agility courses - so if anyone has an explanation, do share.
Session 2 video
On the second session she was again a bit less focused, but still did really well and started right out resisting distractions. I sure like seeing her run back to me when we play the get-it-and-find game. There were pieces of this which were good and some needs work. Overall its still good improvement. I think the drop off in focus for the second session is an indication she doesn't have mental stamina for focusing, yet. I think it will come as we re-lay a good foundation.
J'Anna had to leave early so she wasn't there to video our third session. I made it very short and sweet. I came in with enough treats in my pockets to do four repetitions of the get-it-and-find game. I wish I did have it on video since Gimme was charging back to me at full speed.
I am so thankful for Kathy's efforts helping us get this stuff sorted out. As you can see its working well.
Now I have to get off this computer and get busy pre-packing for our NW3 trial on Saturday (I plan to go up tomorrow night, so we'll be well rested). We have field tracking tomorrow morning, then back home. I'll have to work a couple of hours in one account, but then I want to come home and get out the door as quickly as I can. If I can get everything done tonight except packing her supplements and the cooler, I should be able to get on the road by mid-afternoon.
Again, feel free to start crossing body parts any time now.