Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What We're Working On

Ok, so I HAVE been taking Jun out on leash. I decided it was worth it to me. Just like doing the RP every night and tethering her when she starts pacing or spinning. It's part of her OCD (for lack of a better term) behavior and it needs to get under control. Not to mention the fact that I want my grass to grow back this summer!! So I am committed.

Jun has been working on right and left finishes. I'm tightening up my criteria, trying to get rid of forgy finishes (It's not her fault--I didn't realize they were forgy until recently), and leaning on me. She's getting better. Next step, cleaning up my hand signals. We're also working on kick-back stands. She does them well in heel position on both sides, but tends to step forward when she's in front of me, so I'm working on fixing that.

Tricks-wise, Jun is learning to flop on both sides from a down position. I free shaped this and she caught onto the behavior right away, but putting it on cue has been slow going. I am using a "head signal"--tilting my head to either side. The hard part is, she is not used to taking cues from anything other than my hands. I have to put my clicker and treat hand behind my back or cue eye contact before I give her the "head signal." For the past couple weeks we've gotten inconsistent results, but last night we worked it very briefly and she got 4/4 right! I

Elo is working on kick-back stands. They're physically harder for him, because he only has one back leg. When we stopped working on cue discrimination daily a couple weeks ago he was probably about 90% accurate in discriminating between 4 commands in a variety of locations and body positions. I think that's fallen a bit since adding a 5th command and not working as often, but I'm encouraged by our success rate! I never thought he'd get it! Tricks-wise, Elo is working a handstand. We're working with a board propped against a wall and he's doing REALLY well! We don't do too many reps, since part of it is building skill and part of it is building the strength to pull up his hind end and to balance all his weight on his front end. But I am guessing we'll have this down within the next few months. He seems to really like working on it--usually he is pretty intense about working, but when we're doing the handstand he'll wag his tail when he gets it right!

Elo is also working on his set-up moves for freestyle--throughs, spins, squibs, scoots. He's got the spins and throughs down. I've recently started fading the lure for his scoot and he's doing really well with that--he sometimes loses his balance, but so far that hasn't seemed to be too aversive for him. I'm not sure if we'll do them in a disc routine because they are kind of hard for him physically, but we'll see. I've also been continuing with drive-building and working on multi-disc play. Using dismissal has worked out REALLY well for us! He hasn't disengaged to go sniff stuff in the past several weeks. When I dismiss him he lays down and stares at me, waiting for more. Still keeping it very short, mostly tug and rollers, with a few throws. He is doing mini two-disc sequences! He is drivey enough now that I sometimes have to ask him for a wait to keep him from snatching discs out of my hands and I'm able to ask him for behaviors and reward with a disc! Now if only we can get his reactivity under control, we might be able to get on the field someday!

I feel kinda bad, but I haven't really been doing anything with Lok. We're working on "active" sits (I don't know if this is a "real" thing, I kinda made it up, but when he sits his hind legs aren't doing any work--they're not really under him, and his core is saggy, he slouches--so I'm trying to build a stronger sit position), duration in a sit, and side-lying sit-ups to build up his core strength which is abysmal. But ever since he's been blind I've had trouble shaping new behaviors with him. I will sometimes review his old tricks and he seems to like that. He is diggin the RP--he doesn't have to do a thing and gets all kinds of treats! But I need to come up with with something to do with Lok.


  1. Yeah for obedience work! Vito leans on me too. leans on me a lot actually.

    Have you thought about doing kick-forward (???) stands with Elo. There's a famous swedish trainer who has the dog do all position changes while keeping their back feet in one spot, opposite of most trainers over here. The stand looks really cool that way!

  2. Kick-forward was how Elo did them at first. The reason I'm working the kick back is because the physical therapist recommended it as a rear-end strengthening exercise. I think it will also help with his habit of creeping forward on the stand.

    So if you do a kick-forward stand, isn't your dog out of position if it goes from sit to stand in heel?

  3. Well you don't ever need the dog to stand from a sit at heel in obedience. In novice you can take time to set your dog up however you choose. In utility there are two moving stands which I just say stay. Even overseas the stands are either done while moving in heel or at a distance. And since they're still not moving their back feet you can't get called for creeping during the distance signals.

  4. Oh yeah. Do you have to do it in Rally at all?

  5. There is a stand from a sit in rally. But rally also doesn't take off any points for what would be 1/2pt in obedience. So a little forge on the sit-stand is no big deal in rally. If the dog actually walked a few steps it might cost you a point, but if the dog overall kept its back feet in place it wouldn't cost you anything.