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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

RFE practice (63)

Gimme was very much bothered by high-pitched barking from daycare. This may be residual from false pregnancy. She's no longer carrying a baby around, but she is still toy obsessed, which happens at the end of a false pregnancy. At times she had real difficulty focusing. I started with trying to work the course. It wasn't really helpful because Gimme was so concerned by the dog sounds.

There is a lot of work we did you won't see in the videos. We took many heeling breaks because moving is a stress reliever. We also did a few sessions of treat-tossing for the same stress relief. I did play "whazzat" (look-at-that game) when the dog was barking a lot and it helped for a little while.

These first two videos I prepared for the MDSA list to demonstrate a concept I mentioned. The concept is an interesting take on how to teach and create duration in a wait/stay or creating duration in any stationary behavior (such as bow). The idea is to reward-the-release, instead of directly rewarding duration of the behavior you are releasing from. I first learned this idea from my friend Chris, when teaching Gimme to stay. I admit I don't use it, but it's effective and does work. I find my own method, a variable schedule combined with two-fers, to be effective. Still it never hurts to have a back-up plan since every dog has their own way of learning and if my usual method didn't work for a dog, I'd certainly try this.

The first video on "wait" is an example demonstrating a more developed understanding of the rewarding-the-release concept. The video on "take-a" is a short example of how you might apply it to creating duration in the bow, since the discussion where I mentioned this was about bow duration.
MDSA "wait" video    -    MDSA "take-a" video 

"Izzy" video - The first station was Opposite Backward Circles Around x2 (dog does back around twice while handler turns opposite direction). With all the barking as we were warming up Gimme couldn't seem to remember how to do "izzy". She was just starting to get into it when the yapping started again. We did some refresh and she was able to do it next to the wall. In the open she couldn't do it, so we went back by the wall. Then she was concerned about the wall, so we had to work through this first. Then we got the "izzy" going well and were able to do it out in the open. 

Backing in heel video - With all the distraction she is losing her heel/side positions when I stop for signs, which I definitely need to focus on. We did the back in heel two times and she got better on the second one. 

Rolling a prop video - Gimme is learning to roll J'Anna's prop toward me. The most challenging part is she has to move her front feet back toward herself as she moves it forward. She does this, but not until it has rolled and her feet are too far forward. She needs practice to learn to control it. I should be clicking as she moves her feet back. I need to get a round prop of our own so Gimme can practice at home. 

Finding "fanny" video - I tried something I've been thinking of for "fanny" the position where she is behind me facing my fanny. I set out four platforms in heel, side, center and fanny positions, with a space for me to stand between them. I put the largest one in fanny. I thought having a platform to target would help her get the position more accurately. I also expected it to inhibit offering "otto" repeatedly. I used treat tossing and cuing her to find a position as she returned. Hands on my hips is intended to be a visual cue to her for "fanny", but I don't think she's made the association yet. Because of where I set it up and all the intrusive noise, I did have to be careful where I tossed the treats. I think this was an effective idea and I'll certainly be trying it again.

BTW in this video you get a big dose of the yappy-screeching we endured. It was so bad, it still bothers Gimme to listen to it as I'm editing these video's and she keeps leaving the room. I think it's harder for her because she doesn't know where it's coming from.

Step over video - I tried to do a bit of backward weave and Gimme suddenly seemed concerned about me stepping over her, though it hasn't seemed to bother her before. So I put a little time into just the step over part. Some of this was okay, but some was not. I should have taken it MUCH slower and/or left it for a time/place when she had less concerns about the environment. My rate of reinforcement was  far too low as well. I tried this at Mom's later in the day and she was suddenly just fine with me stepping over, so I'm sure the environment was a huge factor.

Down Stand video - Since her response to "down" was getting worse in the step over session, I decided to put time into down-stand, where there would be no creepy stepping over. I see I need to say "stand" with a little lift/chirp in the sound and then she is better about responding.

Observation... when doing coursework, most rewards happen at behaviors and I need to give equal time to heeling rewards. Or break off after a behavior and just move to the next behavior, set up and do the behavior. Also it might be helpful to work heeling in 15 foot stretches, since this is the distance between signs. When I work heeling I tend to go for larger circles and such, so by shortening the distance I could be rewarding the halt before the behavior.

In two days we'll be practicing at Pawsabilities again.  I sure hope we have a better session.  I want to see Gimme having a LOT more fun.

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