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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Thursday, December 29, 2016

RFE Practice (32)

These videos are from two weeks ago.  I figured I needed to get them posted before I post the videos from today.  ☺

My whole goal for the session was to come up with a plan for 25 seconds of video for the dog's of freestyle workshop with MDSA.  You'd think 25 seconds wouldn't be hard, right?  Wrong!  And its really only 20 seconds with the pauses at the beginning and the end.  I had to make a couple of changes to my plan to get in something good to look at and still end up where I wanted to be. 

My changes:
♥    took out an "around" on the first leg,
♥    changed the turn from a 270° back-around, to a simple "around" to center
♥    took out one pass through on the second leg
♥    changed the end position from an up-kisses to a sit with a paw on my knee

Session 1A video - I started with some focus work.  BTW I am trying to break Gimme's habit of being the bouncing-babe when it comes to treats, but first I have to break my habit of responding to it.  Its been a challenge to become mindful of it, but I'm making progress at home and on walks.  I do think I did better at it during today's sessions, but I also see times I rewarded her bouncing and mugging my hand.  After a little bit of heeling, I start practicing the around-to-center move, which was smooth and took a lot less time than the 270° back-around.  While this turn-transition worked well here, it works even better later when I speed up my heeling and the momentum carries Gimme around and into position.  My goal was to work on each of the pieces and then put them together.  Of course, a big part of what needed to be worked through was keeping my third foot from tripping up the other two - I have no clue how Gimme manages her four feet.  Our first run-through was 45 seconds.  As I muddle through this, if you feel inclined to comment, do so gently.  I've never been described as graceful - just sayin...  While I was learning what number of steps to take and how to cue it in my head, as well as how to present it to Gimme, she was learning what I wanted and what paid.  For example, I put a lot of treats into the paw-on-knee bank account.  She learns fast so this became a very valuable behavior in short order.  Part of figuring this out was me learning when to give cues so Gimme could do the behavior with more flow.  Plus I had to learn Gimme did the paw-on-knee faster and could hold it better if I cued a sit first.

Session 1B video - After a bit of a break to discuss camera and other stuff, we did another very short session.  Our first run through here was 40 seconds, still need to trim.  We did a couple runs, trying to sort out the footwork, but it wasn't getting smoother.  So I put Gimme up and we did a couple with just me.

While J'Anna was working her dog, I played with the camera viewfinder to determine the best position/angle for the camera.  I also moved the cones farther down the room.  My goal was to have a single position so its consistent with others who might have to video with their camera on a static tripod.

Session 2 video - During the session without Gimme I decided to drop one "thru", just doing the two on the side which put Gimme toward the camera.  Even with that change it was still taking far too long.  Part of the issue was how I saunter along.  Kathy will no doubt love my discovery of how much better it went when I move out like I'm going somewhere.  Part of this session was teaching Gimme the body cue for paw-on-knee is just the bending of the near leg after a stop.  We worked this a few times with the better timing.  

Session 3 video - To begin this session I worked more on the body cue for paw-on-knee.  Gimme is so smart, so anything which gets her treats is quickly learned.  By the time we are done with this session, Gimme is raising her paw as she is sitting.  If you watch her as we are doing the sequences, when she knows its coming she's trying to raise her paw up while we are still moving.  Anything to get to the treat faster, doncha know.  Since we'd already worked for 21 minutes before we even started this session, I tossed treats between sequence runs to bleed off any pressure. 

MDSA 5 takes video - These are the final five best takes.  I knew right away the best takes were 2, 4 and 5.  Later I watched very critically and decided 4 was the best one for both Gimme and me.  Can you tell why? 

I'm looking forward to seeing the final product when all 15 teams are combined and will post the link when its available.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nosework (3/22)

Getting caught up on blogging again.

This is the last class for the year.  We were told the week before to bring a Christmas container with a distraction in it.   I brought a large Christmas tin with an open container of cinnamon in it.  The key thing with distractions is for them to be novel scents.  None of the dogs were taken in by my cinnamon.

Containers 1 video - This was a blind search of 16 chairs with 16 boxes.  We were given just one minute.  Gimme only found one hide.  To me she was still struggling to follow her nose, which I attribute to her being on antibiotics.  She has another 8 days before she takes the last of them.  We were told after these searches that we all showed a disinclination to go between the chairs, especially between the row of backs.  I see on this video I went through a row of backs and the row of fronts.

Containers 2 video - This is the search with our Christmas containers and distractions.  The hides were all in the green brick boxes.  Gimme did better with this, partly because these boxes have loose seams (especially compared to the red boxes), so I think there was more scent available.  She was still a little distracted by non-container things, but wasn't sucked in by any of the intentional distractions.  Not even the paper bag with the chicken sandwich in it!  Good girl Gimme!

Containers 3 video - For this search, the green box hides were replaced with hides in large "candy canes".  Because the hides were inside the canes (toward one end or the other), they tended to channel and direct the scent.  It was interesting to watch all the dogs.  Gimme did a really nice job at this, indicating the first hide in 13 seconds.  This time Gimme did show attention to one of the distraction containers, which happened to be the one I brought and was close to one hide.  Whether it was the cinnamon or my scent on the container, we don't know and Gimme isn't telling.  It took 25 seconds to find the second hide and then 13 seconds to find the third hide.

Containers 4 video - This time we got to repeat the search of 16 chairs with 16 boxes.  After we were done, we learned there were 8 hides out there - two per row, one in each red box.  This time Gimme found two hides, doubling what she'd done before.  If you watch the video carefully, you can see she spends a fraction more time sniffing the red boxes, but doesn't commit or indicate.  I think the antibiotics were interfering and with these tight boxes, there just wasn't enough scent to convince her they were source.

I'd love to do this search again when class resumes next year, to see how she does when her abilities aren't being interfered with.  In any case, I made sure everyone knew "Gimme doubled the number of hides she found".  They were impressed... I didn't give them any other details.  Its all in the presentation, doncha know.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my Mommy
gave to me...  a big basket for all of my
new toys.

On the second day of Christmas my Mommy gave to me...
a second Mr. Inchworm toy,
in the basket for all of my new toys...

On the third day of Christmas my Mommy gave to me...
three stuffed duckies,
with Mr. Inchworm,
in the basket for all of my new toys...

On the fourth day of Christmas my Mommy gave to me...
four tug toys,
with the three stuffed duckies
and Mr. Inchworm,
in the basket for all of my new toys...

[And then Mommy couldn't stand the torture any more, so we jumped ahead to the Twelfth Day]

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Mommy gave to me...
a stuffed dog, a moose, a rabbit, a Magpie duck, a stuffed purple dog, a zebra, two new balls, a squeaky Santa, a sailor, a purple bear, a squeaky ball, a yellow Poodle, a skunk, a lion, an orange squirrel and a spotted elephant...
all with my four tug toys, three stuffed duckies and Mr. Inchworm,
in the basket for all of my new toys...

 Let the play-fest begin...

Let it be known....

Gimme is not spoiled
     she deserves every one of these

Let it also be known...
     Carla needs hearing protection
     there's a whole lotta
     squeakin' going on...

We sincerely hope you get everything you deserve for Christmas and in the coming year.

Merry Christmas...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Toy

Naturally, everyone knows Gimme is all about toys.

Her friends General Patton and Allikat gave her a cool new ball for Christmas.  It has a name, Boinga, and she knows it.  If I say "Where is Boinga?"  She'll go to where it is and point it out to me.  Sometimes she even retrieves it.  She's given it so much attention in the last two days, it already looks well-loved.

The other day I was in a store and they had some great animated stuff on clearance.  I couldn't pass up the singing dog with the flopping ears at just $12.  I think he's adorable.  Gimme is pretty certain he's offensive.

Singing dog toy video

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Number 22!

Today we got the notice - Gimme met the requirements for her All Dogs Parkour Level 3 title. We are both having so much fun with this.  I love the creativity aspect of finding ways to use a single location in twelve different ways.  So fun.  Of course Gimme loves just getting out and do, do, doing.

For Level 3 we had to do three qualifying entries:

Chehalis Trail - ADP-L3(a) - We did this video on the Chehalis Trail between Pacific and 14th Avenue.  Gimme and I walk there 2 or 3 times a week.

Little Baseball Park - ADP-L3(b) - This video was created in the upper ballpark area of Little Baseball Association park.  There is another section of the park for playground and picnic use and we will do another video submission there someday.

Our Yard - ADP-L3(c) - Our third video for this title was done entirely in my yard.  I had to submit a revised video because I made a mistake, so I was lucky it was this one.  It only took a few minutes to go outside and shoot another video and I had it turned around (and title confirmation) in about two hours.

We will definitely be going on with this, but probably not until after the first of the year.  And come Spring I'll get back to training toward our Intermediate IDPKA title.  Some of those behaviors are a bit trickier, so I want to make sure the equipment we train on isn't slippery due to rain or ice.

Also, I will start teaching Parkour at Pawsabilities in late January.
I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Nosework (2/22)

This class was this week, so now I'm caught up with blogging.  I'm nowhere near being caught up for Christmas.

Container 1 - The first search was a container search outside, with three hides.  It was about 28º, so I was feeling pretty whiny about it.  Gimme didn't seem very focused, gave me a two false alerts and missed one hide.  Dorothy forgot to video, so I don't have anything to look at.  In hindsight we concluded the cold was keeping odor really close to the cans, so there wasn't much scent plume to work with.  Gimme wasn't getting much scent, so she just started alerting any time she did smell odor.

Container 2 video - Our instructions were to take them down the line of luggage and then move on to the containers (boxes) on chairs.  There were no hides in the luggage and 2 in the boxes.  You can see Gimme was initially attracted by the luggage, but then had no interest in it.  She finds the white box hide pretty quickly, but then really struggles to find the red box hide.  The red boxes have extra flaps, so they hold odor in more.  I was confused and thought they were both in white boxes, so when she did find it, I didn't believe her.  Dorothy cut off the video so you don't get to see Gimme get six treats for being so persistent.  Its probably criminal how inept her handler is.

Container 3 video - Two rows of luggage and buckets, with three hides.  The comment "we left those deliberately" refers to two balls on the floor, which Gimme  has been distracted by in the past.  She certainly noticed them this time.  She gets them all, but not as fast as I've come to expect. 

Container 4 video - Again 2 hides in boxes on chairs. Gimme quickly finds the hide in the white box.  It takes her a little longer to find the red box hide and I needed to keep bringing her near it. 

Gimme was not her usual stellar self this evening.  She usually aces her searches, leading the class.  Instead she was having more trouble in the hard parts than her classmates.  She was tending to get "distracted" more than usual and initially I thought it was a focus issue.  But then I realized its probably related to the antibiotics she's getting for an anal sac infection.  She was taking antibiotics last week and had no problem, which is why I initially discounted the impact.  Then it occurred to me, there's been a switch to a different antibiotic since then.  She'll be on this one for another two weeks.

BTW expressing her anal sacs and antibiotics haven't been enough to get this under control.  So Wednesday morning she had to be sedated so they could flush her anal sacs and fill them with an antibiotic gel.  Please do pray this does the trick.  Otherwise it may become necessary to have them surgically removed - which, like all surgery, is risky.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

RFE practice (31)

This practice was last Thursday.  Overall it went well.  At the time I wasn't very happy with the third session, but now having seen what was really going on in the video, I feel better about it.

Session 1 video - I used the clicker this time to improve her understanding of what I was rewarding, since I wanted to work on the 180º turn and was planning to break it down better than before.  I started doing the 180º turn well away from the distracting corner and I thought it went well.  I jack-potted the especially nice efforts.  After I took her leash off, I backed up to a somewhat easier challenge.  She had one where she just lost focus entirely and I just walked away from her.  The next time she was still distracted - looking out, looking back, looking out, then back.  She was trying really hard, so I rewarded her effort and changed gears.  We did some positions ("heel", "center", "side").  She has a tendency to assume I want a "turn" when in "side" position, so she gives me "turn" the moment I speak without listening to the cue. I know she understands what the cue words mean, she just turns off her listening ears; its very frustrating.  We did center-front-pivots, which she's good at - she does better counter-clockwise.  Then we did heeling in reverse around me and the same with side in reverse - she's better in heel position.  We ended with some nice loops of heeling.

Session 2 - For the second session, we worked on being still.  This is really challenging for Gimme unless she's in an active stay.  And she doesn't truly believe this is a payable behavior.  Unfortunately J'Anna did something and stopped recording 40 seconds into the session, so I don't have anything to review closely. 

From memory though, I think Gimme needs platforms or some other stations to help her understand to just stand in one place between behaviors.  If there were sits between each station (more like obedience), I think she would do better, but RallyFrEe requires a stand.  I think its also complicated by them wanting a slight pause in the end position before moving on.  For instance, if we are doing a spin from heel position, the requirement is for the dog to spin 360º, then pause briefly in "heel" position before we proceed.  This feels unnatural to Gimme, and to me.  When Gimme doesn't get reinforcement right after the behavior is finished (moving forward again is a reinforcement too) then she thinks she should do something more.  Remember, she's a doer.  So part of the issue is about delayed reinforcement as well.

Her default is to keep throwing behaviors at me.  I need to teach her being still is a valuable behavior.  I plan to make a foam platform and they have a bunch of carpet samples there, so I will try to use them next time to give her a grounding target.  I'm hoping I can move her around between these and end on them, I just have to think through what I want to do and how, so I'm teaching her the right thing.  Meanwhile I'm doing Relaxation Protocol with her, to put a bunch of rewards into the being-still-bank-account.  Maybe I can arrive early enough to do a set of relaxation protocol on one of them before J'Anna arrives.

Session 3 video - For the third session, we worked the intermediate course we had set up for J'Anna's submission video.  Gimme knows a lot of intermediate level behaviors, but not all of them, so I haven't entered that level.  The two times J'Anna has entered, Gimme knew all the behaviors in the courses.  Of course, if I enter before she knows them all, then its a given the course will contain the behaviors she doesn't know. 

Gimme was unfocused because the course started in the distracting corner, thus I did three stations on leash before removing the leash and starting over.  We haven't done course work in awhile, so overall I was pleased with her efforts.  The third one is a series of 3 "thru" while stepping backward, which we hadn't ever tried and I did it just based on J'Anna's explanation.   Its a cobbly looking thing and I don't think I'd ever use it in a freestyle routine, certainly not for a large dog. 

On the second time through she did a better job with the first three stations.  For the free choice we were using J'Anna's hat prop and I wanted her to put her front feet on it and "pivot".  Obviously we've been doing a LOT of "bacon" (for Parkour) and she was just sure I wanted her to back-on the prop.  We need to do more "can" again.  I had to move in closer to help her understand what we were doing.  I see in the video I wasn't even using the "can" cue, just sending her and saying "pivot", so is surely added to the confusion. 

One thing I see in the video, which I didn't understand at the time, was how distracted she was by the clicker in my hand - more specifically by me moving it from one hand to the other - acting like she thought it might be a treat.  There are places where she is going to end a behavior right, but then is distracted by my hand movement.  I haven't' noticed this before, so I may need to carry the clicker (or some other small thing) even if I'm not using it, so the movements related to it become unimportant. 

The vacuum in the background was distracting and/or made it hard to hear.  I need to teach her to do "pretty" in heel/side positions.  I had to laugh when she offered a "take-a" at the course end before I cued it - obviously recognizing the picture on the sign.  She is scary smart.  We ended with a few "bacon" on the agility table leaned against the wall, since she loves doing it and had worked so hard.

We learn something every time.  I can't recommend highly enough the value of taping your training sessions so you can review the video.  I see something I didn't know was going on every time.  I invariably see something I thought was Gimme's doing, which has a different explanation.  Anyone who trains alone should be taping their sessions.  Likewise if you train with someone who isn't thoughtful about what they are seeing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Nosework (1/22)

Sorry to get so far behind - been busy at work and making Christmas presents.  This is from nosework class on 11/29.

Interior 1 video - This first search was of 2 hides on two chairs.  Our job as handler was to stay on the rug.  We could step in to reward at source, but then had to return to the rug.  Gimme did a nice job working through this.  She did her usual approach of checking things around the odor and then following the plume to source.  Note at 42 seconds how she sniffs the edge of a nearby table and then goes DIRECTLY to the hide 4 feet away.  A lot of people discourage their dogs from checking out other stuff, but I always remind myself this is just Gimme's way of searching and let her investigate other stuff (though I do cut her off more quickly when she's investigating the toy shelf).  She does this search in 45 seconds.

Interior 2 video - This search had three rows of chairs and 6 hides.  As handlers we were supposed to keep them on a set of chairs until they finished the problem, without letting them go back to a hide they'd already found.  There were two hides on pairs of chairs.  They were all close together in the pairs, with some closer than others.  Gimme went first to the set where the hides were the closest together.  She did a great job finding all six hides in 1:50.

Interior 3 video - This search was off leash, with 6 hides along the wall, either nose level (for Gimme) or at the floor.  All the dogs were drawn to the chairs and stuff because searches of stuff is what they've seen the most of.  Gimme was the fastest, finding all the hides in 1:28.

Interior 4 video - Again off leash with 6 hides.  Some of the chairs in the room were moved in front of the hides.  Gimme wasn't at all bothered by the chairs in front of hides, clearly not seeing them as "barriers" at all.  One hide was moved to a crack in the floor and Gimme found it second, which is unusual since her preference is high hides.  Another hide was moved to a chair, she found it fourth.  The fifth hide was again low and it took her awhile to find it, though if you watch her head carriage after the fourth hide, it gets lower and lower, as she scans around and around to find it.  The last hide was challenging, but she worked it out nicely. 

I'm always amazed when she trots around the room scanning for "another one" when she's already found some.  We've established before that the dogs are not using vision, so with 6 hides and only 3 different odors, she's looking for something different.  I don't understand what the quality of "different" is for her.

Merry Christmas One And All...