Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What We're Working on 2

Still working on building heeling back up. He's starting to be more enthusiastic about it and has even been offering a sit in heel position when he's not sure what I want! I consider that major progress! It means the concept of sitting at heel doesn't stress him out anymore. Along with using a tug reward, I went back to the very, very basics and have been just liberally rewarding for sitting in heel position and for taking 1-3 steps in heel position with attention.

Working on "down." I find it funny that if we are going out to play disc I can give Lok a "down" from all the way across the field and he complies instantly, but sometimes inside right next to me, he balks. I went back to basics on the "down" also. I started with "shaping" it with no command until he was offering me enthusiastic downs. Lok likes shaping--he gets to be right all the time and there is no pressure! Then I put reinforcement of his downs on a variable schedule. Now I am working on bringing them under stimulus control, that is rewarding downs on cue and not rewarding those I don't cue. So far, he hasn't balked at a down in 3 days, so that's cool.

As of the past two days, Lok's "bow" is fixed and he will now do it at a distance from me! Woot! I was pretty excited about that one.

Still trying to figure out how to keep him from bolting out doors.

Still working on stays. I think we have had a breakthrough in the past couple days though. At obedience last week, the instructor said two things that resonated with me: 1) a student commented on how attentive Jun is to me and the instructor pointed out that it is because I am so attentive to her, and 2) the instructor noted that sniffing or looking away is just as much a violation of a stay command as getting up and walking away, because it's a break in concentration. Well, previously, after cueing a stay and walking out, I would turn and face Jun with my arms crossed and look off to the side, not giving her any eye contact. Eye contact, I had heard, can cause a dog to break a stay. Well, this week, I decided to give Jun eye contact on her stays and require that she give me eye contact. She is such an eye-contact oriented dog, and I think the fact that I'm giving her eye contact indicates to her that I am just as invested in her stay as I am asking her to be, whereas a lack of eye contact indicates to her that I have broken my concentration. I've also been only working on one type of stay per day, so, for example, not working a sit-stay after a down-stay. She's terrible about dropping on her sit-stays, so I think that makes it more clear for her.

Working on not forging on left turns when heeling. Getting lots better with this, but she's still trying to grasp the fact that she has to slow down to stay in heel position. Lots of rewarding behind my knee has helped.

Both of the dogs' "wait" commands before a formal recall have been awesome, since I've been returning to reward more often than calling them out of the "wait."

In disc, Jun is working on flip catches, back overs, not crowding me, and not biting stacks of discs in my hands.

Jun's sit pretty has gotten stronger and now she lifts her paws up and it's really cute!

Jun has her first Rally trial on August 1st and I am hoping she will be ready. I'm not sure if I should enter Lok yet. I don't want to rush him and un-do all of our progress, but the next trial is not until January. There are only two a year in MN, and we're not going out of state for Rally. So I don't know what to do. I suspect I will enter him in one run, take an NQ and only do as many signs as I can keep his attention for. We'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment