Last Thursday we went to Pawsabilities for RallyFrEe practice. I thought these were damn good efforts, especially considering Gimme is getting into a false pregnancy. Her "baby" is a very large stuffed Racoon toy. I initially named it Rocky, but apparently its a girl. Gimme only gets it if I ask here "Where's Rockette?" And here I thought a toy was just a toy.
I brought my timer, but discovered the battery was dead. So had to rely on J'Anna to tell me the time.
Session 1 video - Sorry for the glare, we moved the camera location for later sessions. Her stays are usually pretty good, but sometimes she forgets what she's there for. I really should take her back to the car after our potty walk, then go in the building, take off the treat pouch and load my pockets, then get her - so we can get directly to work when we come in. I wasn't too concerned about her early distractions as we approached the sides of the room - its such a far cry from where we started with several minutes sniffing perimeter walk. I spent a bit of time working on her 180° turns, getting her to maintain focus. No consequences for failure, just no rewards either. I gave her a jackpot for mostly keeping her attention on me as we approached J'Anna behind the camera - this is very hard for Miss Social Butterfly. The stay in the middle was to reload treats and to shut the divider between our floor and the rest of the building. Interesting I notice she turns much tighter on a 180° turn when I turn toward her - possibly relates to earlier agility training. As we worked on finding "heel" and "side", we also did some of them moving. She had one spot where she seemed to get distracted, though I couldn't tell why and one time when she went to the wrong position. We tried a bit of finding "center" from "heel" and "side" and this proved difficult. We haven't worked on it anywhere near as much as finding "heel" and "side", so I shouldn't have put it at the end of the training session. Overall I was very happy with this session. Gimme was trying really hard and its clear how much improvement we are getting with Kathy's coaching.
Session 2 video - I put the camera on a tripod to make it easier for J'Anna and smoother overall. She started out really good and then 30 seconds later was Miss Distracted. She's doing good with the up-"touch" and seems to like it better. It helped a lot when I started using the clicker to mark it, plus I think she's building stamina. She did much better finding "center" this time. J'Anna is having trouble getting a good back-up with her dog, so I showed her how Gimme did it - using the platform as a target. And yes, I did tell her to go check it out. J'Anna was suitably impressed with how Gimme looks for the platform with her back feet. Of course she's got amazing rear end awareness - its one of the first things she learned. We are at the stage of fading the target, so this huge target was totally too easy for Gimme. [BTW if you look at our back in the Parkour Novice compilation, Gimme barks at me because she's frustrated by there suddenly being no target - she's not shy about expressing her opinions.] We worked on tightening her turns on some other behaviors - with a bit of heeling thrown in as needed. I sure wish I had someone who could click for me at times, so all I'd have to do is manage treat delivery where it would do the most good. J'Anna cut the video when I was going to reload, so I've clipped on the little end bit.
Session 3 video - Gimme was more distracted this time by J'Anna being so close to the door than she was the first time. My plan was a quick session focused on 180° turns. Since Gimme was distracted at the door, it was really no surprise to have trouble for the first turn. The first click was mostly to prime the pump. Since she hadn't had a good turn yet (thus no reward), I picked a moment when she was turning to mark - even if the turn was late. Many of these turns included momentary ganders, but I tried to click the moment she turned her attention back to me. When she did particularly nice ones, then she got a jackpot. From there to the end was just some doodling, finding position and the like. We ended when I ran out of treats - with just 15 seconds left on the disk. While she started distracted, I was really happy with the focus I was getting at the end.
I'm really pleased with how this is coming along. I really appreciate how hard Gimme is trying, even when she can't quite do it. I am really blessed to have such a great dog. And, to have Kathy so willing to invest the time in helping us be our best.