School has gotten busy and we had house guests over the weekend, so my recording of our dog activities has been anything but consistant.
Perrin has been continuing to work on his fitness activities, and some fun things like working on ‘find my keys’. He is so happy doing service dog type tasks. I’m not sure why exactly, but asking him to go retrieve my mittens or my keys is done with much more joy and enthusiasm than he has if we try to play fetch with a ball for fun. I wonder if it is me. When he does something for me that helps me out, I am genuinely appreciative on top of letting him know “hey, that thing you did was super cool!”.Maybe he feels that and it works as a reinforcer? We also started hidden keys for the first time and he rocked it! Way better than what I had prepared him for (which, to be honest, was nothing). Who knows. We are still waiting to get his novice parkour results back, but after seeing a video on the facebook page that was failed because of a lure, I realized that I did something similar in several of my clips. Basically having a treat in your hand counts as a lure depending on where you are standing, regardless of if you are using your hand motion or just standing there. Good to know! Maybe we will work on it again later when I have access to environmental features again.
Sei has really reached a brain growth spurt or something. Ever since he came home, he has been super clear about when he is ready to work on things. I can push and break things down tiny and work on a skill for weeks, and get very little accomplished, or I can wait until he reaches the right developmental stage and he picks it up in moments. His most recent ‘readiness’ has been verbals. I had been working on adding a verbal to a spin that was on a hand signal for weeks, and never made any progress. Downs I was working on adding a verbal to by capturing with similar results. On Friday, he suddenly put it all together and now CONSISTENTLY has spins AND downs on a verbal cue! I was shocked! Perrin learns verbals much differently, and it takes quite a lot of work with him to get anywhere near the level of consistency that Sei had within 10 minutes of doing the behaviour on a verbal cue for the first time. Its really interesting to compare their different learning styles and strengths. He also suddenly understood shaping this morning in a way that he did not before. We have also been working on sit stays, tugging and a tiny bit of loose leash walking. I really need to get him a collar to start teaching pressure yielding.
I think that Sei is going to be a lesson in ‘waiting until the dog is ready’. I feel like we are behind other dogs his age, but trying to push training was sucking the fun out of it for me and frustrating him, so I had quit working on specific things and started just playing and working on life/house skills. I struggled with feeling guilty/behind/like a bad trainer over not teaching him all sorts of new skills in that time while other people and their puppies were doing all sorts of cool tricks and foundations for their sports. But now Sei is learning those things at warp speed and with joy instead of frustration. I just need to trust him to let me know when he is ready and we will get where we want to go 🙂 I keep reminding myself that Perrin didn’t know anything beyond pet things until he was almost 2 and he learned all sorts of amazing things in a year. It really takes the pressure off.