Practice, Nov 29, 2011

Tonight Tasha and I played with our behaviors for Freestyle. We worked on several but not all. First up I set up the xpen for swish training. She is really getting this idea now and is eager to go in the pen with me. She will back up in half circles now with slight prompting but once she gets in front of me, she needs slightly more. We practiced both directions and at this time I am using the same cue for both directions.

We also practiced Paw and Hand. Putting raising of the left and right paws on cue is a precursor to doing this on cue when I raise my legs. I have started standing or half bending, because up until now I have either been sitting or kneeling on the floor.

We then moved on to Ports and Turns, spins left and right. She still needs help with Turn so I need to keep that in mind and work more on that.

Crawling is coming along too. I still have to prompt the down and use my hand but she no longer gets up when I say Crawl and she’ll do two “paces” at the crawl now.

We worked on Roll Over and Play Dead too. Then moved on to platform work. She is really good at these and loves the platforms! She is quite eager to play and I began tonight to not turn my head as much to indicate the side I want her on. So trying to transition to more verbal awareness instead of physical cues of where I’m looking. I used most of her dinner in one session tonight and she was eager to keep playing these games with me! This is the best she has ever done and her stamina for “playing” is growing which is great if we’re going to do a 2 minute routine!

I then played with Shadow. She still needs so much prompting! Legs, which is our weave the legs cue, still needs prompting and physical cues to get her started. I’m not sure where we went wrong with her on her shaping. She is the queen of ADD for dogs. She is so busy trying things she doesn’t stop on those things that work! Platform work for example. She is just now, after 5 sessions, beginning to just stand on the platform. Tasha had that part down in 2! If I move to the side to begin preparations for Heel and Side, she shifts off the platform and can’t get back on. I need to give her time to think but also need to do more proofing of the platform and build more value for being on it. If I am too far away with the cookie, she pops off the platform when I click. A frustrating challenge to work through.

Then I did some Roll Over and Play Dead work and the dog has to shift 20 times before laying down to do either behavior. So more work with just the down, then cue the RO or PD.

Then Kota. I found out tonight that he won’t Left (roll over going left) anymore. I think it’s because of his leg. Our last session before Thanksgiving, he was resistant to Lefts whereas Roll Overs are fine. Now he won’t do them at all. :(. He was still very eager to play games and threw out his Ports and Turns with ease, but Left, not anymore.

He gets the Legs cue though and he will still offer his Say Hi behavior. He’s also getting the platform work though I’m not asking him for a stand so he sits on it. Other than those we did a free shape with my shoe. I want to teach him to just stand in my shoes because I think it would be cute. And the little brainiac needs *something* to do!

I watched Susan Garret’s Stand Is Fun video tonight. This is a behavior that Tasha and I have struggled so mightily with. Susan’s demonstration will be tried tomorrow and since Tasha already knows a hand target, perhaps this will go better than everything else we’ve tried!

I also like what she said about games and how they need to be fun. If what you are trying isn’t working, break it down into smaller pieces that could be used to create the desired end behavior. This is what I’m trying to do with the swish behavior by teaching her a cue for backing around me. I spent an hour doing all these sessions tonight and had fun doing it!