Gimme is fully into her false pregnancy now. She keeps changing her mind about which toy is "the baby" and brings a different toy to bed each night. I thought the bunny toy was going to be the winner, but she's been obsessed with the little purple dog toy for 24 hours. Today when we left home she insisted we bring it along and when I get her out of the car, she has it in her mouth and wants to take it into the building. I have to remind her it will be safe in the car.
First let me say I still have no recognition of the passage of time. I had set my phone to chime at 7 minutes. I thought then I'd spend another minute and then end the session at a nice 8 minutes. Instead, this session was nearly 11 minutes... so even "1 minute" takes on a life of its own. Next time I'll try setting it at 5 minutes.
Session 1 video - My goal was to keep her busy working, with a good rate of reinforcement and mostly work on things she knows well. I wanted to make it a point to start working heeling in "side" position. Most of the time I start in "heel" position and then switch and I don't think I give it equal time, which I think is part of why her right side heeling isn't as good. I kept the heeling short and sweet and then switched to other behaviors. Putting her feet on things is a big favorite and especially backing onto things. That is a high chair for her size and its hard to get her front feet up in it - takes a lot of core strength. She almost always has to put her front feet on it first, I guess so she knows its safe. I tried to work a bit on distance spins, but she wasn't getting it, so I went on to other things. She knows the difference between "spin" (CCW) and "turn" (CW) in "center" position and from watching this video, I think she though this was what we were doing. I'll work this at home using the wire guides to get success. We've been working on "Otto" (back around me) and so she gave me one when I asked for "behind"; it was a pretty nice one. She backs half the way and then tends to flip her rear out, so we still need the guides to clean it up while we make a correct habit. And with the guides, then I'll be able to really jackpot when she does it correctly. I'm surprised at how well this behavior is going - she does love backing up. She tends to get stuck on whatever we've been working on and then throws it in when I've asked for something else. Case in point, I was working a center-front-pivot and she turns it into "Otto". BTW I completely understand this tendency. If we've been working on something new, then it has a huge and recent reward history, so of course she'll be drawn to it. It certainly doesn't help when I sometimes get caught up in her ideas. :) I did get back onto the center-front-pivots and she did nice ones, in each direction. Then we worked on waiting for the cue for the paw-to-knee behavior. (she's never been convinced I should get to drive the train) We finally get back to "behind" which is what I'd cued when she offered "Otto" and successfully got me to play her game. We worked with "behind" and "around" to get to "under". Having her come up into my arm from "under" is completely new. I thought she did well at it. Its cute and simple. I want to work it where I'm not standing with such a wide stance.
Session 2a video - One
of my goals for today was to get posed freestyle picture of Gimme and
me for a photo tribute MDSA is doing. So this second session is a short
general warm up, a warm up of the paw-to-knee behavior and getting
Gimme used to what I wanted to do with the hat. Here's the photo we
got. [Sometimes her tail wags too fast to be captured on film]
Session 2b video - We did the intermediate course I'd set up for J'Anna. At the first station, Gimme started "Otto" very well, but then flipped her butt out to face me. Clearly it needs more work with the guides. I didn't really plan out which behaviors we'd do at the FreeChoice signs, so things weren't as smooth as they could have been. Right as I heeled off from Otto, Gimme heard a squeak toy (probably from the day care room). She would always be distracted by this sound and it is something we need to work through. But when she's having a false pregnancy, she is super distracted by squeaks. There was a toy on the table, but it wasn't the source of the sound. Just as I was getting her brain back, there was loud barking from daycare. We haven't done plain backing up, so she wasn't sure what I wanted after the corner. (you'll have to excuse J'Anna, she gets so involved watching beautiful Gimme, she forgets the camera) She got a bit more focused on the "thru" sequence, so I did a couple extra and she ended up on the wrong side. I messed up the switchback - you have to be smarter than a dog to train one.
Session 3 - Because the prior session went poorly, I wanted to end with one short session, with good focus, doing well known behaviors. Unfortunately J'Anna only thought she was taping us. Too bad, because it was a really nice session, about 4 minutes. We did ”side", "heel", "around", "behind", "under", "thru", "spin", "turn" and "pivot". It was a very good recovery session.
Overall, I thought Gimme did a nice job. There was a lot to like here, even with her being in Mommy-brain... We owe most of this to Kathy's great coaching. It has helped bring clarity to the training, so Gimme is doing better in her training. We didn't backslide during the last false pregnancy and I feel confident we'll do the same this time.
Sadly we didn't get any enrollment in the Parkour class I'm contracted to teach at Pawsabilities, so we are doing some other marketing things to promote it. One really cool thing - they've added Parkour as one of the electives (must do 2 electives) for their owner-trained service dog program. A lot of people in the program have PTSD, so getting them out and about with their dogs is a real plus. It'll be exciting once it gets going. BTW, as a Pawsabilities employee now, I don't have to pay for floor rental, saving me about $250 per year. Nice!