August 8th, 2017 Training Log

Things have been very busy lately, and I have been recording most of our work though our Fenzi homework. I figured I would make some notes for today before going off line again for a while (I am prepping to paint much of the house, thats going to be fun with two dogs!). I am also falling behind on the puppy genius homework with the two gold classes, and in life training. Gah. Got to catch up!

Perrin’s Heeling:

Fitness Trainer Homework:

Some of the videos are shared with Perrin’s heeling.

Sei’s Crucial Concepts Homework for the past few days:

I really, really hate luring. So that is what we are working on in this course right now. So far, we are struggling with tuck sits. I debated on whether or not to go down that rabbit hole, because tuck sits are a real challenge for Sei right now, and I don’t want to spend the entire rest of the course on them if we can’t get them worked out in the next few days (few things ever get worked out in a a matter of days). We will see how it goes. These are our progress so far, with my notes.

I struggle with luring quite a bit, and find it very frustrating. It seems to me like a strange thing to struggle with as much as I do because it should be intuitive. With my older dog, I shape pretty much everything and have so far followed this with Sei.

I find it difficult to make sure I am doing the right thing with the lure, observe what the dog is doing, adjust myself accordingly (which I often don’t know how to do, how my hand motion relates to the dog’s motion is not always obvious to me beyond the obvious ones like spins), see when criteria is met, AND get my markers and timing correct.

I took video of luring attempts of roll over, tuck sits and spins, all of which are completely new berhaviours for Sei. I made progress with the roll overs, and spins, but tuck sits were not as successful. The above video of tuck sits are a good example of the issues I tend to have when luring.

I had several problems here:

  • The biggest issue is that while I theoretically knew what to do with my hand, I did not know what I was doing in practice, nor how to modify it when what I was doing was not working and I was getting rock-back sits.
  • I wasn’t sure of the best way to handle the rock back sits. He tried something, and he is at the stage where I really want to reward the effort of trying, and for working with me. I defaulted to asking for a hand touch, rewarding that, then tossing a reset cookie. That went on for a couple reps and I felt like I was just patterning that sequence. Because I didn’t know how to fix the underlying issue, we called it quits so I could come up with a better action plan for later.
  • Because things are going poorly, I am frustrating/confusing my dog, and I don’t know how to fix the issues, I get flustered. Then my mechanics, marker words, and timing go out the window. Normally I wouldn’t continue to the point where I get flustered, but I usually start there with luring.

 

I just experimented with how the lure placement/path effects behaviour: Can he follow the lure instead of sitting and waiting for the cookie (a very reinforced behaviour)? What happens if I move my hand up/down/sideways when Sei is standing? Sitting? Down? Moving? That sort of thing. No markers, lots of cookies.

I definitely have an issues splitting and setting criteria with luring. I’m not sure why. I don’t have those problems when shaping. It is definitely going to take some practice for me to get the hang of the multi tasking for luring, and to find how it is easiest to see the dog’s motions when I am so up close. Especially with Sei being so much smaller than what I am used to working with.

Whoohoo! Unexpected tuck sits! I was intending to video footage for Baby Genius with the whipped cream, but I started getting repeated tuck sits. Bonus! No subtlety in the lure with that can, but it certainly made it easier to reward for a longer time in position.

I’ve been doing trials with different treats for the lure, and what I am using makes a big difference. I think it must be my mechanics that is doing it with each for it to be so consistent across different foods, but I’m not sure. Discrete bits of food (kibble, hot dogs, cheese) yielded poorer results than something lickable that I could smear on my hand, then open my fist to reward (PB, cream cheese, jam). This video highlights the difference.

After many attempts, here is where we eventually got to with the mixed treat method. PB for the lure, and kibble for the reset. My ‘get it’ marker needs to be cleaned up here for sure, I am moving my arm before I finish the marker. (Sorry about the background noise, my husband was wildly happy about whatever trick my older dog was doing with him upstairs, but this was by far the most suitable clip).

 

August 2nd, 2017 Training Log

Today we got a lot done! Sei got quite the day of brain work:

  • Handling Face: I wanted to associate Sei’s face being touched with good things, so I was pairing a face touch with a C/T. Then he started offering chin rests, so I did a bit of that.
  • Chin Rests: Literally Sei’s second session on this. The first was earlier in the morning when I was just making good associations with his face being touched and he offered me a chin rest. With duration. Very impressed with him.

 

  • Timing for CCC: I took more video for my crucial concepts course and got it edited. Nothing too interesting here.
  • Stacking: I worked a bit more on the stacking practice. It is a slow process, but I think we are slowly moving forward with it.
  • Two Ball Game: This is really not a very good example of the game, but it is better than we were doing a week ago!
  • More Play: We had an awesome play session in the evening! I found strategy that works to keep Sei bringing the ball to me rather than running off with it. When Sei picks up the ball and turns back around, I run the other way and keep moving until he drops the ball. Then I pick it up and start the game again. I’m pretty happy with what a change that made. I did eventually have to go get a tug to to save myself from puppy teeth between Sei dropping the ball and me throwing it again, but that worked fine too.
  • Focus in the face of popping corn: Sei found the popcorn popping in a glass pot on the stove very interesting. So I took the opportunity to work on some focus.
  • More stationing, hand targets, a curiosity exercise from the Baby Genius course we are taking, and a little bit of mat work.

July 31st 2017 Training Log

We just got back from a weekend on the farm! Both dogs enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Swimming in the pond yesterday was a big hit! Perrin (who couldn’t swim at the beginning of the summer) was just a big fish, and swam around for the better part of 40 minutes! He is pretty tired today. Sei splashed around in the shallows and got up to his belly, and went for a kayak ride. No swimming volunteered yet though! He has no issues with being on the unstable floating dock, although he does hate being left on shore when everyone else is in the pond. Here are some fun clips!

 

I was also able to pick up my treat n train. Its pretty fun! Sei got it figured out in about 5 seconds, while Perrin wanted nothing to do with it. It is a bit like having a TV for dogs; it feels like cheating when I need Sei to be staying in one spot and out of trouble, but he is still too wound up to be quiet in his x-pen. I did a bit of targeting with Sei using it, which was fun.

July 23rd, 2017 Training Log

Sei and I worked at desensitizing the brush for a few sessions again today. His wooly puppy fur mats up pretty quickly, so this will be a necessity for the next few days so I can get him brushed out. We did some foot targeting, name games and lots of play today. Sei’s love of the flirt pole continues to grow. He runs over to the shed where it is held ahead of me and waits for me to get it out. We worked on some tug with a fluffy bungee toy, rolled some floppy frisbees, and tossed some balls around. I started asking him for focus every now and again before throwing a ball for him, or letting the flirt pole move. We tried some personal play, but he is still too bitey with his little needle puppy teeth for that to be fun for me.

Perrin’s love of toys is definitely building. Apparently all he needed was a little brother! I got some decent work from him today for a tuggy and a ball. He went absolutely nuts for the frisbee, which is unlike him.

We also worked on some more free stacking, rewarding for anything that is not sitting when I take my hand full of food away from his face. I think we are making some slow progress. Here is one of today’s sessions:

He did some of the best he has done so far here. Reviewing the video, it is clear that he does better when I move my hand away more slowly. He moved forwards more often when I moved my hand away quickly. Good to know!

We did some mat work:

Perrin worked on more drum shaping. He is totally getting it!

 

On the ‘life’ front, we are having some issues with Sei climbing all over us when we try to eat. I usually handle this by waiting for him to back off and rewarding for it, but even that leaves him too close for my husband’s comfort (I joke he resource gaurds his food, he gets quite upset about the dogs being near his food). So we have decided a solution that works for everyone is to work on building value for Sei’s bed by the table. For today we just threw cookies over every 5 seconds or so while he was on it, but I am excited to get my manners minder next weekend so I don’t have to handle kibble while I eat.

July 22nd, 2017 Training Log

Today started out with a walk in the park. The other half and I took both dogs for a quick walk, then worked on some attention and focus with both dogs. It is definitely going to be a very long time before I can take both dogs out together on my own. I don’t want Sei picking up some of Perrin’s bad habits, and its really hard to manage both of the individual needs at the same time. I guess that means more exercise for me! (And I need it).

Perrin has been missing his own work, so I finally got back on track with that. As the drum room was being set up, a bass drum mysteriously found its way into the dog training space, so I decided that would be a fun trick for Perrin. He is so fun to shape with, here is the whole process from the very start to the first success:

I especially love where he tries to see if a rear foot target is what we are trying. So cute.

Today’s trick for Sei has been learning some basic free stacking. I tried to take some pictures of him last night for tracking purposes as he grows, and it was a bit of a mess. I was working the camera while Sei was being lured by my husband. Sei didn’t know what he was supposed to be doing, but was happy to be getting peanut butter. So, back to shaping for next week’s photos. I am working through Puppy Culture’s Killer Free Stacks for this and we have done three little sessions today. I clearly need to go back and watch it, because I am getting a lot of sitting (something he has been heavily reinforced for). My first reaction to this was to throw a reset cookie to get him standing again, but I’m not seeing improvement in the amount of sitting I am getting. I need to go back and re-watch the video to see what step I am missing. I likely just need to reward him for standing, before pulling the food away and expecting him to hold the stand for a split second. This evening he did better when I was standing rather than sitting, so that will help moving forward as well.

Today was also the sign up period at FDSA, and I have decided to take my very first training focused class at gold! It is called Crucial Concepts of Competition, and I am very excited to improve my own skills.

July 21, 2017 Training Log

Working through Relationship Building Through Play continues! I am now on the lecture about toy play, specifically the section on how to effectively use a flirt pole to build/develop more interest in toys (not that Sei needs much of that, but I figure I start at the beginning and progress at his pace so that I don’t skip steps). The day started out with more flirt pole. Now that I know Sei loves it, I’m upping the criteria on the tugging/holding. He got one run first thing, but once he caught the fleece, he quickly let it go and it escaped! I videoed the later afternoon sessions to see how my technique is. The answer is: Not Good. In order to try to stop them from running in tight little circles, I try to change directions, but what happens is that then the fleece heads towards them, which isn’t good. I speed up just as they are about to catch it, which isn’t fair. Perrin gets distracted by Sei barking in the house when it’s Perrin’s turn, so that complicates things a bit too.

Perrin is still learning that it is the END of the pole that he needs to grab, rather than just stealing the entire thing out of my hands, or grabbing the string part. I think I may need to add a more interesting toy that the tiny scrap of fleece I have on it right now. What Perrin does not have an issue with, however, is the grabbing and the holding. I can’t play with the flirt pole the way he would like after he has ahold of the string because the flirt pole is not made to be gripped and tugged with. My grip is just not strong enough for that game!

I’m still trying to work my way through the FDSA Empowerment course I have in my library, but I find the content hard to work through with no guidance. I think this is one of those courses that would have been valuable to take at gold. I didn’t realize this when I was working through it with Perrin, because he is a pretty empowered guy all on his own (see the agility teeter. Perrin thinks that jumping on it to make that weird noise is the funnest game ever. He scares other dogs in the room. I couldn’t leave it out while I set up other equipment because he would run over and stand in the middle and make it drop, then pivot still on the teeter and make it slam the other way. Repeatedly) . With Sei, I get to watch the process. He isn’t fearful, but he thinks things through in a way that Perrin didn’t/doesn’t. Perrin runs in like a bull in a china shop, where as Sei thinks about whether he wants to cause destruction or not first (he usually settles on destruction!).

Sei and I went to the park for a little while this afternoon. We kept the walking to a minimum as it is pretty hot out, and his threshold for walking is not very high yet. We sat in the shade and watched the joggers with strollers and bicycles go by. We worked on some attention, which he did well at for a little bit. He met a couple of preteen girls, who greeted him nicely (which I was really happy about this, because given the language barrier, I can’t instruct people). He thinks people are awesome and tries to go up to everyone we pass. I am keeping an eye on this one, as I really really don’t want it to develop into leash frustration down the road. We will keep working on attention/focus on me for the time being in all sorts of different places. We tried to play a bit, but Sei wasn’t having any of it. He just wanted his garlic cream cheese. For cuteness, here are some pictures of Sei at the park (I am trying to re-learn how to use my SLR):

On the shaping front, we did some more hand touch work in the yard, some mat work and more name games. Apparently I say “Say What?” enough to Sei and reinforce what comes after it enough that he has decided that is his recall word. I figure I’m just going to steer into that skid!

It is going to be interesting to see how Perrin’s exercise requirements change when it cools down a bit. Right now, he basically plays with Sei in the back yard, works on some brain stuff, and sleeps the rest of the day. I tried to do a short walk around the neighbourhood with him yesterday to get out and see some of the new sights, but he was just lethargic and unhappy looking. He is happy to play with me, Sei and some toys in the backyard in the mornings and evenings, but that seems to be the extent of his exercise requirements at the moment.

July 20th, 2017 Training Log

I forgot to charge my camera, so none of today’s work was recorded.

Today we worked on more of the same (name games, nose touches, collar shaping, mat work, etc), but took it outside onto the porch and into the yard. I want the back yard to be a training space, so I need to get working on that. The collar game is really coming along. I have brought the diameter of the collar down to about the size that a martingale collar for Sei would be, so thats about as small as we need to go. He is starting to shove his head in, or rest his chin on it and push down (his expression says “Just give me the cookie, damn it!”).

Today we also worked on body handling/husbandry things. We started making the nail clippers a good thing by C/T every time the clippers touched one of his nails. Through the three sessions we did today, I even managed to get two clipped. I will condition foot handling separately, and I did not touch Sei’s feet at all during today’s work. I have been clipping his nails while he sleeps, which has been working for now, but I want to set him up for good things when he is bigger.

Along the same line, we also worked on associating the brush with tasty food. Sei seems to have a natural dislike for the brush, so we are going much slower on this one. Brush nears side: C/T, brush touches side: C/T. That is about as far as we got today in two sessions. I actually have to put Sei away (or wait until he is sleeping) to brush Perrin, otherwise the brush is a fun chase to that must be attacked. Perrin doesn’t appreciate that much.

The flirt pole came out again today. It is definitely Sei’s favourite thing so far. The family crack eyes come out, but his arousal level seems to be staying at a good level and he maintains self control around it. I will be keeping an eye on that as he gets older to see if that toy needs to have a vacation. Sei and Perrin got separate sessions with the flirt pole, because they play so differently with it (well, that and because Perrin is 5x Sei’s size).

July 19th, 2017 Training Log

The high temperatures continue! Both the pups spend most of the day sleeping on the tile until it cools off in the evening.

Armed with more garlic cream cheese, hot dogs and peanut butter, Sei and I went to a local park for a bit to work on leash skills and see the sights. He did really well, and I accidentally took him too far. He did not complain about having to be carried back to the car he was so pooped! He didn’t bat an eyelash at several leaf blowers or the loads of construction equipment installing new paths. He also met some people that he was excited to approach, and had to learn that we weren’t going to meet everyone that Sei wanted to go meet. Tomorrow we will go back and explore a new area of the park.

We did a little more mat and collar shaping this morning, and lots of hand touches and name games.

 

Once it cooled off we did a major play session (we did lots of little ones throughout the day, the dogs are never out without me so they just come naturally). I busted out the flirt pole and that was a huge hit! Sei absolutely loves it, and so does Perrin. I am going to have to play with them individually with this game though. Perrin cheats and just goes after the handle!

July 18th Training Log

No overwhelming amounts of videos today! Today we did more ‘life skills’ things instead. Name game/recall foundations continue. Sei is really starting to respond to his name well! He knows it!

We did a few short on leash walks up to the next street and back that went really well. No balking at all on the first one! It helps that I found out that garlic cream cheese is indeed more interesting than sniffing the pavement, and that Sei can lick cream cheese off of a lid and walk at the same time, which is a very good thing to know (chewing a kibble or piece of cheese while walking is too hard just quite yet). I’m getting more leaning into the harness (I’m using a non-restrictive back-attach harness at the moment), but I’m good with that for now. Loose leash walking can be added later with collar yielding, but for now I just need him to be able to be on a leash happily so that we can go places.

Play continues, Perrin is really getting into things, and Sei continues to love chasing things. The snuffle mat has been a great hit with both of them too.

We also did our first session of mat work with Sei today, which he did awesome on!

 

Perrin does pretty well keeping his nose out of things given how close he insists on being, but its getting to the point that I’m going to have to start separating them for individual training sessions. Not sure how I’m going to do that yet, as Sei isn’t the world’s largest fan of a crate just yet, and we are working on that separately.

I worked on some rally skills with Perrin in the back yard, and found out that I need to work more on just working in the back yard. He wasn’t super engaged in that space, after being pretty pushy about wanting to work while in the house. It didn’t help that it was super hot out, and Perrin just wilts in the heat. We will try again on some individual skills when its cooler out.