Runing and Stopped

Two months ago I decided to add a stop to Vito's dogwalk contact.  Vito LOVES his running but we still don't have turns off it and he would often shorten the last stride if I couldn't convince him we were just running straight into nothing.  Turn training just wasn't happening without regular access to train on a dogwalk.  Ignoring the issue has worked really well for NADAC :) but not so much if I'm still thinking of doing some USDAA with him.

There seems to be a bandwagon of people doing both running AND stopped dogwalks now and clearly I'm always one to be a part of the hip crowd!  I'm just really hoping that having either pure extension or pure collection on the dogwalk will make it simpler for both of us.

Vito already knows a 2o2o, kinda.  He has one for his teeter but I can't say he's ever really done one at speed.  Of course the main challenge to our turn training was the same: lack of equipment.  But once to twice a week we've been training.  Starting with a flat plank and slowly adding speed before it via a tunnel.  We then moved to the dogwalk doing just the down plank and there we have remained.  I think our problem is that I'm inadvertently rushing things.  I'm perfectly fine with taking things slow but because of our limited practice times it feels like we have been doing this forever when in reality the number of sessions have been few.

New training plan: help him out more.  Vito does NOT need to be thinking in his training.  I need to re scale back to getting rid of my handler motion.   I also need to make up my mind if I'm to reward him when he misses the 2o2o but does stop off the board.  Currently I'm about 50/50 whether I reward it or not.  I'm torn between setting black and white criteria for him or rewarding his effort and trying to keep his attitude up and brain out.


Lance Cambridge Obedience Trial

Utility- NQ
Lance seemed a bit off when we went in the ring and set up for articles.  Distracted or stressed not sure which one.  We NQed right off the bat as I sent him flying for the pile only to find that he didn't actually fly out.  He took a step and then looked back at me confused.  I resent him and he brought back the right one.  On the 2nd article he again didn't seem to know what to do and looked back at me for a second but this time he flew back out on his own.

The other exercises were ok but his offness continued as he didn't forge, not even much on the moving stand!  Crazy.

Lance still wasn't his spunky self but it was a pretty nice run.  And the best part is that he held both his stays again!!!!



I swear this is all my cat has been doing for the past month.  
 Yes, just sitting in a box.  I think his new hobby borders on obsession.
Annoyed kitty.
 You can't see me!


Bubba 7mo- Difficulties of a Stand

Bubba turned 7 months old this week!

Most skill work is going fantastic.  Drag this heavy laundry bag- no problem!  Close the drawer- I'll slam it!  He's even managed to learn some more controlled behaviors such as a nice hold of the dumbbell and a decent stay.

But one behavior that has managed to elude us and leave me scratching my head is a verbal kick back stand.  He actually has a decent stand stay where he will even resist movement while a treat goes slowly to his butt and back, but actually purposefully assuming the stand position is a no go.  Since this is not the first time I've taught a verbal only stand this perplexes me.

Lance learned it pretty crappily through a treat lure slowly pulling him forward.  He now has a kick back if he focuses really hard :) but at a distance it's still moving the front feet forward.

Vito I have no idea how I taught it  but he has an awesome verbal stand even at a distance.  I think I still lured but I was able to bring the treat to his chest to get the kick out versus step forward.

Chuck was the first dog I tried using his perch work to capture a stand.  I loved the simple brilliance of it so much that I used it again with Fiona.  Default on the perch is to stand, lure a sit/down and just wait half a second before that butt rises and you can click!  It also sets the criteria from day #1 that the front feet don't move.

At work I've experiment with a high hand touch (made more famous recently by Susan Garrett's video) to get a jumping stand.  It was  super fun for the dogs but I found it harder to transition to a stand at a distance and from all sides of me.  I've continued to use it though for many of the dogs.

I'm sure there are other fun methods out there that I'm not familiar with and I LOVE trying ways of teaching!  With Bubba I've attempted all the ones I know and have apparently failed.  So far the perch work has led to the most success in that there have been many days where he reaches a 80% success rate on all transitions of sit-down-stand.  But then the next day he tries to guess before I even open my mouth and rapidly flings himself through 3 changes before I can stop him.  Needless to say I've dropped the clicker for this exercise and we work on eye contact before each and every treat, working heavily on just being still!  I think the problem is that he's so eager to MOVE that he doesn't care enough whether his guess is wrong.

Having a verbal only stand really doesn't matter for Bubba's training.  Since the liklihood of him being a mobility dog is extremely low, and the chance of him being one for a complete quadriplegic is zero, I'm really just doing it to torture myself.  Ah well, there's a good chance Bubba may be going to prison this Friday for a week or two while we wait for one of the older dogs to come in for final training to take the trip down.    We will see if the prisoners are ready to deal with a crazy bear for a bit!


Fiona's Next Stage

Good bye  Fi Fi!

Fiona left me for good today.  The tiniest Labrador has completed her service dog training and was matched with a middle school teacher with type 1 Diabetes.  If all goes well Fiona will be going to school soon!
Photo by Jesse Ascher

Still her favorite trick,
Photo by Jesse Ascher

  My best birthday present ever :)



Vito may not be doing crazy acrobatics anymore, but he still loves his frisbee.

Rollers for life it is...

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