This afternoon we did a 1.5 hour jaunt around the local forest trails and worked on some parkour videos. Here is a fun excerpt:
Today our lunch training session was short and did not go quite as expected. We were working on an exercise from an online course we are currently taking at the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy (Behavioural Wellness for Performance Dogs, taught by Sarah Stremming). The exercise, called ‘Mind Your Beeswax’, involves turning distractions into a cue for the dog to orient to the handler. It is very similar to Leslie McDevitt’s LAT game, but uses a tactile cue instead of a verbal one.
Perrin is has no issues with the exercise in the house, and in the apartment it is hard to add enough distraction to continue the exercise progression, so we headed out onto the front yard of the apartment building. This is an area that he is quite familiar with and is comfortable in, but there is lots of noisy traffic going by and smelly things to sniff.
I quickly made 2 mistakes:
- My first session of distraction work for this particular exercise should have been a controlled distraction in an otherwise neutral environment. Waiting until group training later this week would have been a smarter move.
- To start, I let him go about sniffing, then touched his side (the tactile cue for ‘look at me’), then waited for him to look, which he didn’t. I had started with the criteria level we are working at in the house. Because I moved him into a tougher environment, I should have dropped my criteria, and started back down at the beginning by immediately pairing the side touch with a mark and reward
I did about 5 rounds of “Touch -> Mark-> Treat” and called it a session.
Today I also did a bad thing and registered for the Foundation Disk Dog course with FDSA. The trailer (which can be found here) fuelled my dreams of activities that I would one day like to do with dogs, so I ended up getting it, even though there were other courses I ‘needed’ more. I don’t even have a dog for it! (Perrin doing rebounds, dog catches, or vaults would just not end well for either of us). Some times you just have to go with your heart!