Broken Training Sessions

Yesterday Zumi had a horrible training session.  A session in which I attempted to go back to basics in order to try and fix a problem that's cropped up with her go out training.  But it didn't go as planned.  I attempted to make it even easier and it still didn't go as planned.  Finally, I scrapped it so I could step aside and really look at what might be some of the root issues.  I left the session feeling frustrated.  A good sign that I should have stopped even earlier than I did.  And a huge blinking neon sign that I need to break things down even further.

There will always be sessions where the unexpected happens.  Times where you feel like you're spinning your wheels.  But they

So I sat down and really looked at the problems I've been having with Zumi's obedience training.  Mainly it's in 2 areas.
1) Retrieves
2) Go outs

Both are "sends" away from me.  Both have similar symptoms of vulturing and vocalizing as soon as she is released.  And both have gotten worse.
I have mainly been focusing on the retrieve portion and have written about how I wanted to tackle her arousal levels though adding eye contact as a criteria to be sent, paying attention to her foot moving as a precursor to vulturing and scootching, working on calm duration before the send,  and when she vocalizes going into calming mode before the next rep with cookie scatters, duration hand touch, and/or a down stay with frequent slow cookie deliveries. 

But while progress seemed to be going well, it has lately gotten worse.  And since the go out has similar symptoms (and causes) it has effected it even though I have not been focusing on it.

If I had to guess where I went wrong I would point to focusing too much on her foot movement.  I don't think Zumi is consciously aware of moving her foot out and thus resetting her for a moved foot added too much stress and uncertainty. I should have noted the foot movement as a symptom of her arousal levels and made things easier the next rep, but not focus on it itself.

So the retrieve started to break with now actually moving her whole body on some short tosses as her frustration level rose.  Her eye contact criteria actually still remained pretty strong though!  I did find that stepping out of heel position seemed to help Zumi relax a bit more, less muddied waters compared to heel!

And then it makes sense that Zumi's go out mark started to get worse with the emphasis I've been putting on eye contact with her retrieve.  And with the stress of the  mark starting to creep in this led to more vocalizing on her sends even though she was still fairly straight and her nose touch still strong

When I attempted to just work on the mark portion yesterday I got this awfulness:


And sadly that wasn't the only rep I did.

Today I broke it back down more and went back to marking her cookie bowl.  That was pretty solid.  However I also saw that she's not completely confident on the duration portion.  Zumi moved that front foot and sometimes did her squeal on the release even with the short 5ft send.  We will stay with marking her a food bowl or a toy for awhile longer.  And maybe even add in a platform.

Wish us luck.

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