Today I took Sei’s newest trick outside, and later attempted some loose leash walking foundation things in the house (with little success). Perrin worked on some heelwork. Jake did nosework with both Sei and Perrin.
Sei and I started the arm hoop trick yesterday. He caught on really fast in the house, so I decided to take it to the yard today. That was a lesson and a half! The first time we tried, I took two tennis balls out. Sei considers them lower value toys, but even so, we had arousal issues left right and center. He just couldn’t think. I got jumped all over, rebounded of my arms, face, chest and back. Both of us were pretty frustrated. For the second session I hoped that by taking food outside, but otherwise taking the same trick to the same environment, it would lower Sei’s arousal level a bit while still being a step up from practicing indoors. And it worked for the most part! The video below is the unedited version of that process. You can get a taste for how crazy he was before at the beginning of the video (but toned down from our first try) however he settled in eventually and we made some really good progress!
More play! Disc with Sei and Perrin, and some more downs for our herding class.
I made a bit of a break through with throwing discs today! Sei is extremely inconsistent with catching out throws. Given that he is seldom inconsistent, this led me to examine what I was doing to cause this. Today I figured it out! If you watch the first few throws, I throw the disc when Sei is still behind me, not giving him enough time to get anywhere near the disc before it falls. I tried to see whether he would lead out or not, and he does! (Of course, he is usually ahead of me in such things). So I experimented with timing how far ahead of me he should be for throwing at these short distances, and how far he would go right now before turning around to look at me (I still want him driving forward when I throw, not stopping or slowing to turn around). He immediately made a few catches and had a few near catches. Need to play with this further and see where we can get with it.
Sei brought the ball back a few times! Albeit the most boring type of ball, but we have to start somewhere.
I was away with Sei for the weekend, so he didn’t get much training other than basic life skills. Perrin worked on nosework with Jake this weekend while they were home together.
On Sunday, Sei and I went to disc, and he absolutely rocked it! Even after being in the car most of the weekend and not sleeping most of the night before. He nailed all the tricks he knows just like we were at home, made some really great catches on long throws despite my inability to throw, and was just an all round sunshiny ray of enthusiasm. Once we got home, Perrin and Sei did a few rounds of nosework each.
Today, I worked on toy skills with Perrin: adding basic work into play for the first time. Mainly sits/stays/release to tug. He worked really nicely, and was still enthusiastically interested in the tug after 5 or so minutes of playing that game. We are definitely making progress there!
Sei and I worked some more jumping through the hoop, but I used a tug this time instead of a thrown toy. The change in how reinforcement was delivered definitely seemed to change the picture a bit for Sei. He was more focused on the game we were playing rather than racing around with the toy. I am starting to get more comfortable on how to use toys to reinforce work, but I am a long way off from proficiency yet!
I also noticed how differently Sei and Perrin need me to play tug with them. Perrin doesn’t get into tug much until I really start pulling back actively on the tug, especially if I am facing him head on. If I played that way with Sei, he would let go and run off. Sei prefers to win more, to ‘drag’ me backwards by the toy and to get to keep it.
My canine fitness equipment arrived today, so I was able to get the basement set up. It will be a week or so until I can get the inflatables filled up to their proper sizes (the pump that has the appropriate fitting is not very powerful, so they need to rest between fillings before I can add more air). Then I can start getting Perrin and Sei’s (and my last!) case studies started.
Today we worked on lots of toy stuff!
Perrin and I just worked on playing. This is the dog who didn’t like toys a year and a half ago! His tug is awesome, but his retrieve has actually gotten worse. I will take this though, because he likes the toy enough that he isn’t sure whether he wants to bring it back to me. Before, he was just doing a trained retrieve. This is a minor issue I am okay working through! Especially because it only pops up with his favourite toys and not with our regular retrieve items.
Sei and I did some more working on the hoop outside, and some more working on downs in high arousal states with toys for our herding class. This is something he and I struggle with, mainly because my toy skills are so bad.
Our third try of the day was much better!
Went for a walk around a few blocks with Sei. Just as frustrating as ever. It really brings out an unpleasant side of me; Counting down to the FDSA loose leash walking course!
Sei did a wee bit of being shaped to go through the hoop again, then played a similar game outside with toys.
I did some disc/fetch with Perrin, and he is so excited to play, with a reliable retrieve! Apparently all that work spent on toys is starting to shine through now that Perrin has a little brother to be jealous of! Haha.
Perrin and Sei did some platform work after dinner. Perrin is super enthusiastic about it, meanwhile Sei thought that offering rebounds was way more fun than fronts. We will need to work on a lot of standing still down the line!
Today was a pretty laid back day. I made our platforms for TEAM last week, but only got around to putting the non-skid caulking on the bottoms this morning. While I had it out, I got some of our fitness equipment done too:
Sei and I played some disc in the backyard and I introduced Sei to a hula hoop and going through it. Perrin worked on his platform work for a bit, and started foot targeting a push light. He eventually put all of his weight on it and cracked it, so we may have to keep thinking on what to use for the ‘paw target’ portion of the trick dog champion requirements.
Today we worked on disc with both dogs (!), and Sei and I also worked on some work for our herding foundations class.
Perrin wanted to play disc! What is up with that? I’m not sure, but he had fun! He mainly wants to tug on the discs, but if he wants to play, we can work with this. He is so cute when he wants to play.
No video today, but we worked on some of the TEAM exercises. I got my platforms made for both dogs (platform for both Sei and Perrin as well as a disc for Sei). This time I took an mdf shelf, then used contact cement to attach interlocking foam squares to both sides and wrapped the edge in duct tape. In the past I had tried just using the foam squares layered to an appropriate height, but I found that it was not stable and got kicked around a lot. I was hopping by adding the shelf that they would be heavy enough not to flip or slide. I was partly right! They do not flip and are very stable, but when Sei or Perrin goes to get off of them, they skid across the floor. I am hoping adding some squiggles of caulking to the bottom will resolve this problem.
Sei worked on learning that STANDING on the platform is what pays (not sitting, laying down, spinning or leaping on the platform); that one is going to be a long haul. Perrin worked on getting onto the platform from different angles and with me standing in different places in relation to the platform. When I stand so that the platform is in the right heel position, he has a tendency to drop his near rear foot off the platform consistently (his butt swings slightly in behind me). We will need to build a lot more value for all four feet on the platform before we are ready to go back to that specifically.
Mostly a boring day for puppies, given that we all had to load up for a six hour car ride this morning and it has been pouring rain all day. Sei and I did a few dog catches at a rest stop and when we got home, he learned a lip-lick via mimicry.
The last two days have been all about backstalls and nosework!
With the backstalls, the tricky part was figuring out how to reward in position with only one person! I started with cookies, but trying to reward over my head was unwieldy and I was ending up with Sei jumping onto my back and then immediately jumping off to get his reward. Then I got out the syringe of peanut butter, and that worked awesome! I started with me on my hands and knees to provide a more stable platform, a lower jump height and more margin of error. Today we started on me standing, but we need a lot of work there. Sei and I both need more core strength to do this! With me standing, I was trying to lower myself down so that Sei had a much lower height to be jumping off of, but our timing didn’t always work. Things progressed quickly from there.
Here are the highlights:
Nosework has continued for both dogs, with more of locating the hot box in a room. Perrin has the better search, while Sei has a stronger alert, but both dogs are doing really well! We will soon move on to the beginning of the container search.