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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
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Monday, January 2, 2017

RFE Practice (33)

Once I started seeing the videos other participants did for the MDSA tribute, I realized my instructions to J'Anna to keep the whole working space in the field of view made our video look very different.  So I decided to try again.  While I was at it, I wanted to add a bit more movement to my body. 

Session 1 video - I was surprised to see we worked for almost 12 minutes.  Gimme often has so much fun and is willing to work so much, that its hard to have a sense of passing time.  I see I did not do as well about not rewarding the bouncing-babe behavior.  As I said before, this is very much about changing my behavior before I change Gimme's.  Interesting she is doing better about it in some of our daily behavior.  I started with a little warm-up at heeling, attention, and then refreshed the behaviors in our segment.  I learned I've created an unintended problem and Gimme now thinks when she's in center position, paw-on-knee is always what I want.  So I worked to clarify the bent knee is the cue, not the center position; its going to take more work.  This is what happens when I make something pay so well.  So now I need to make being still in any position pay well, to make stillness equally valuable.  (there is some weirdness in the video while J'Anna moves to a different position).  I ended with trying to teach Gimme a new behavior.  I want her to circle me like "around" and "behind, but with distance.  I set up some props for her to "out" around and got mixed results.  She didn't seem inclined to stay out there and J'Anna commented how all the rewards were coming close to me - good point.  I may try this again on our next session.  I don't have enough room to do this indoors and wouldn't want to waste all the time of her searching for treats in the grass.  Though I could try using her special bowl as a distance reward point. 

Session 2 video - If I was surprised to see 12 minutes for the last session, then 18 minutes for this one was even more surprising.  The first thing I noticed was how low my jacket hung.  I wondered if Gimme would object to it.  While she seems distracted at first, I think it was really because she'd just noticed the raw steak on the counter.  Note how she very pointedly sniffs in the direction of the counter.  I reminded her what I wanted once and then she was fine with it.  I can see on the video, there are slits on the side aligned right where she would come through - certainly no more challenging than an agility chute.  We ran through the sequence several times.  I think J'Anna had the field of view too close, but will wait to see what Kim thinks.   Then we did some more work on our new "loop" behavior.  In hindsight - we were already 10 minutes into this session, so Gimme may have been mentally tired.  And I don't know what I was thinking to try to fade four props down to two when she hadn't been correct doing the four.  I'm also wondering if the jacket sleeves weren't somehow changing the look of my hand/arm gestures and confusing her.  She was clearly confused.  We did finally get some nice figure-8-sends, but not consistently.  I wanted to end on a more positive note, so I pulled in the baby chair so she could do some "bacon" to it (one of her favorite behaviors.  Note how unconcerned she is about the chair tipping a bit while she's using it. 

MDSA takes video - I ended up with 7 takes... some are better than others.  The best are 3, 5, 6, and 7.  Of them, I thought 3 and 7 were better and we ended up using #7.

Session 3 video - Because she'd already worked so long (I didn't realize how long), I wanted to make this session simple and short.  I started out with easy behaviors, ones she knows well.  Then I switched to putting some money in the being-still account.  This was only moderately successful.  I should have stopped much sooner.

Gimme seemed off today.  I noticed she had a warm spot along her spine, about 4 inches in front of her hips.  She sometimes seemed unable to focus or listen.  Some cues she knows well were simply not available today.  And I noticed at times she seemed a little clumsy and she was tending to stand splay-legged in the rear.  She also nipped my finger in the course of taking a treat, something she never does.  Being a worried Mommy, I was concerned these could be symptoms from a pre-seizure aura.

Luckily we had a chiropractic appointment today with Dr. Powell.  He found the warm spot and fixed it, along with some adjustments to her hip joints.  These together could certainly explain what I was seeing in her movement.  The warm spot is gone now.  Doc also found her atlas vertebrae was out of alignment.  The atlas vertebrae is always suspect when there are issues with thinking.  He told me there is a probable connection between atlas misalignment and seizures - its just not known which comes first.  He said the atlas misalignment could cause a seizure and equally likely, the intense physical response during a seizure could cause the misalignment.

In any case, Gimme simply loves him.  He didn't have anyone in the slot before out appointment and was sitting on the couch reading a book when we walked in early.  Gimme climbed right up in his lap.  I am so happy we found him; what a blessing...

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