This morning Sei and I did our engagement homework for that class, and did some bits for the pivot. Perrin and I tried some fronts and find heels with a pivot platform rather than the full one.
Doing the find fronts and find heels on the pivot platform was a poor exercise choice because of Perrin’s cone. It really messed up his muscle memory for how close to be and his path into heel. He was a good sport though, and did well considering that impediment.
With Sei I tried an exercise that I hoped would help develop some stillness during stationary moments on the pivot perch. I used the reverse luring/hand zen thing (still not really sure where this technique belongs, but it has come in handy for me in the past) to get some stillness on the perch. He is obviously not magnetized to the perch well enough yet either, but I find when I just work on that I get all sorts of dancing/prancing/extraneous movement and I am not fast enough to click the bit of stillness when he gets on. So I am hoping by trying to alternate between these two exercises, it might help that.
Another day copied from the facebook post! Although Sei does get a long version of his video. Too busy to do better today:
I expected this morning to just be Sei and I, as Perrin wasn’t able to come back from the vet until fairly late last night and is having a hard adjustment to the cone. But he refused to be left out! Figuring out what he could do with that massive cone on was a bit of a challenge, so we settled on some find-heels (with an alternative to cookie tosses because he couldn’t get them on the ground) with sit and stand position changes (because he didn’t like down; the cone would touch the platform and that was a no-go). I think he was just happy to play and get his mind of the cone and his ear.
I really wanted to continue the puzzle of adding fronts to the jump without the flying Sei. I tried using Perrin’s platform (easier to see), set it as far away from the jump as I could, and used food instead of a toy. Success!
Did some things with Sei today. Not feeling up to doing all of the video editing required. Too anxious about Perrin at the vet for surgery (its routine!). Here is a quick video and the blurb from our facebook post on the TEAM page. Hopefully tomorrow I can do better record keeping.
Just Sei and I today, poor Perrin is in at the vet to have an ear hematoma surgically drained (I am anxiously awaiting his return!). So Sei and I did a variety of sloppy things, experimenting with adding toys and platforms to jumps and cones. Today’s takeaway? We are not quite yet ready for that yet!
But we did a little sequencing of TEAM 1 in the house, while experimenting with new platform orientations, and that went okay. There is a lot of forward movement between the sit-down-sit sequence, so we will eventually have to address that.
Today I did a vertical target and some heeling stuff outside with both dogs, and also did some platform work outside with Sei.
I would like to start adding toys to our precision work (and generally add some precision to work we do when adding toys), so decided a good first attempt in that direction would be to use 2 balls for find heel/find front. I made it easier for Sei to be successful by using Perrin’s platform (it is bigger, so easier to find, get onto and stay on). I think it went pretty well! Some sloppiness due to the oversized platform (too far away, crooked), and our Find Heel still seems to be broken for the harder angles, but overall this is SO MUCH better than the last time I tried to do something like this with toys.
I stuck a magnet on my car to use for the vertical target, and that went well for both dogs. It appears that me setting up the target is a huge part of the context cue for both dogs as to what we are doing. I’m not sure if that is an issue for me right now or not. Ideally we would use a ring stanchion because it would transfer to obedience, but we won’t be doing formal obedience. It will get us through TEAM1 anyways, and then I can worry about how/if I should change it.
The heeling stuff in the driveway was extremely sloppy. I didn’t really have a plan going out. In fact, I only planed on doing the vertical target, but Perrin nailed it, so I figured I should move onto something else. I started working on Perrin’s counterclockwise pivots, because those are really hard for him. As soon as I turn away just a tiny bit, he typically disengages. Today he did really great working on those. I pushed my luck a bit and worked on some basic off-platform heeling foundation bits and he was a good sport about those.
The heeling work with Sei was arguably more harmful to our heeling precision than helpful (this is what happens when I try to fly by the seat of my pants), but doing something, anything, outside in the driveway with an engaged Sei is a good thing, and I learned some interesting things. Sei’s cue to pivot/stand from his sit in heel is when I move my feet (I tried some marching and he got wildly confused), and he still doesn’t understand find front without a platform. However find heel without a platform is much easier. Interesting!
Feeling kind of stuck with this stuff today. We are 1/4 of the way through and feel like we haven’t made very much progress. We were kind of at the point where I had all the exercises and just needed to put them together, but then Sei’s pivots broke, and today his “Find Heel’s” have broken. I’ve been re-teaching Perrin’s find heels and find fronts with his pivot platform because his big platform is just enormous for indoor use, so that has set us back a lot.
Today Sei and I worked on pivots, find heel and find front. Pivots suffered from errors of enthusiasm all over the place, and his find heels are completely broken.
Perrin worked on his pivots, find heel and find front all with the same platform. This was the first time he had done the find front exercise with the pivot platform instead of the full one, and I think that went pretty well for a first try.
Today Sei and I tried to do some work in the laneway on a long line (tied to a post for security). He did alright for a first try! The lack of foundation on pivots is really starting to show, got to go back and train those properly.
Perrin briefly did some hold work before he got bored of that.
I tried two run throughs with Sei today. The first one we had a platform malfunction (my top layer came off), and then I messed up the order. The second one went alright. I am holding my arms wrong for the fronts, but we got all the way up to the back-up before an NY in Sei’s behaviour. And look at that pivot! The beginning of that pivot felt terrible, but it looks alright on video. After this I did some work on his Go Arounds, because that seemed like a fundamental misunderstanding (where as the back up was more of a misalignment on my part).
I was also going to work with Perrin on a run through, but he just wasn’t feeling it today. It was already really hot by 9am. So we just did a few things he knows. I really have to get his platform fixed up so that it won’t slide. Putting the yoga mat under it won’t work for actual run throughs. I hate having to move it.
Perrin’s day off yesterday seemed to have refreshed him. He had been having difficulty with the transition from Back Up to the Vertical Target, so that was what we planned on working on. But he nailed it! So I just kept going. And we made it to the end! COLD! No pre-practice or prior attempts. Some mistakes on the human end (putting the cone in the wrong place, switching between two differently sized dogs is hard for my poor brain), but Perrin definitely understood each exercise. I guess we truly are at the point of just trying to put it all together now!
I tried using Sei’s original platform today. We have been using Perrin’s and it is really too big for Sei. He had some difficulty finding Front in the beginning, but he is starting to figure it out. I am having some difficulty figuring out where to put the platform for each exercise so that the camera angle is right, so Sei and I experimented with the first 5 exercises to try and get that sorted out.
Lots of human learning this morning. So many bad angles due to prop placement. Cookies in the wrong spots. Bad cookie throws. My big heavy wooden platform I liked so much because it didn’t move? Slides all over the place on the tile. I think I have a yoga mat around here somewhere I can glue onto the bottom. Sei also likes Perrin’s flat foot target, but he is still REALLY struggling with the pivots after finding heel and sitting down. Perrin REALLY struggles with the set up for the vertical target, and I think it is because of the xpen placement behind him.
In general, Sei was very frantic this morning. So I did at least one smart thing and channeled that energy into working on super fast vertical targets. He make really good progress on the pivots despite all of my lumping. Next time I will make a better effort at marking the initial part of the pivot rather than floundering through the transition and marking the nice part of the pivot.
The last day at the farm 😦 We were able to squeeze our TEAM work in before the 7 hour drive back.
The most intimidating part of TEAM for me is not the individual exercises. I am fairly confident I can teach those behaviours eventually. It is stringing all of the exercises together, perfectly (both dog and human), handling the transitions, AND managing to get all of the camera angles right for each exercise. Knowing this, I decided to start working on putting two exercises together, even if they aren’t quite ready yet. This way I should get a feel for transitioning between exercises, the dogs will get used to only doing two reps of an exercise and then moving on, and I should get lots of information on what camera orientations work for which exercises. Hopefully that splitting of behaviour works for me! I plugged the exercise pairs into a randomizer to get the ones I would work today. I need to get myself some popsicle sticks! Depending on the exercise pair, I am also hoping to use this as a method for starting to reduce my reinforcement frequency.
I anticipate Perrin having a harder time putting all of the exercises together, because he likes to (is used to?) doing many repetitions of the same thing in a row. I think he likes the predictability: do A –> get cookie. I also have a hard time keeping Perrin’s energy up during transitions, so I will have to experiment on ways of keeping his enthusiasm up. I think Sei will have an easier time putting it all together. He has a higher natural energy level, and hates repetition. “If I was right, lets move on damn it!”.
Exercises 4-5 (Position Changes and Back Up)
I ended up adding the Find Front here too, because I plant to use the platform for all three exercises (and the pivot platform for find front) and wanted to experiment with platform position relative to the camera such that I can keep the platform in place for all three exercises.
Sei – Sei struggled a bit, but we eventually got it worked out! He just needed to work some ya-ya’s out and get into a thinking place. He was really anticipating the ‘down’ –> ‘sit’ transition, so we worked on all three position changes together and he nailed those. Then he was able to do the two we needed.
Perrin – Absolutely nailed these! I didn’t even do more than one rep. He was just perfect!
Exercises 7-8 (Jump and Go Around)
Sei – the jump is pretty solid for Sei, and the go arounds still need a bit of work. He did really well on the first couple, then in the subsequent reps he got more confused. HUMAN: If he does it right, move on!
Perrin: Nailed it! We just need to work on bar knocking on the jump, in general.