First day of the October FDSA term! Sei and I are in Engagement at gold, so there will be quite a lot of that for the next 6 weeks. Today Sei and I did engagement for our class (his pivot pot was actually being used for bread baking, so I had to chose something else!).
Perrin and I worked on go arounds…with a toy! My toy dismissing puffin worked for a ball! Enthusiastically! He is adorable ❤
More pivots! Today I tried to slow the pivots down for each dog. Perrin had no problems. Sei had no idea what was going on. It really showed me what parts Sei really does understand, and which parts he doesn’t.
He gets the part about moving his back feet.
He had a hard time standing still on the perch, there was a lot of dancing.
Need to do some duration building on the perch in heel (he has no problem with still duration in heel off the perch). Yes Virginia, standing still is a payable behaviour!
He also anticipates the pivot before I move, which explains the large amount of over rotation we have been getting.
See above, I think that understanding will solve this one
No ‘magnetization’ to the perch, needs to be encouraged to get on it
Go back and shape just getting on it. Would actually be the first step to building duration.
We also worked on the cone wrap. The last few times I tried, we had cone thievery, so that was what I expected to work on. Sei didn’t have that problem though. He did seem to have some sort of understanding issue with it. Part of it was that I had cookies in my ‘pointing’ hand, but I never did nail down the entirety of what it was.
Perrin did his cone wraps perfectly, so I didn’t want to keep drilling it. I decided to try a vertical target, but set the target up before I set him up. This to test the theory that me going and setting up the target is his actual cue for this behaviour. I think I confirmed that. He wrapped the cone the first rep, and when I set it up for the second, he did a perfect vertical target. (I didn’t set him up quite right for this one because of space constraints, I do know this isn’t a ‘TEAM worthy’ set up.)
Some training days are good. Others look like this. I was just out of bandwidth to address the cone snatching, so moved on to my other dog . Oh dear.
I went back inside and was able to pull it together with some better thought. The original plan was to see if I could do the circle a cone with a jump in between. I have never done that exercise with either dog before, and have no skills at chaining yet. But Sei has done mimicry so I tried that. And he nailed it! I tried after to see if he could do it on the circle cue (ie, was he mimicking me or did he understand after all?). He didn’t understand on cue, so he was truly mimicking me. I still think mimicry is the coolest thing Sei and I have ever done together.
This one is going to be a little light on the details as I have to get out the door to go to a sports thing with my husband.
Perrin and I did a full run through, and we were SO CLOSE.One handler oops, one cookie-bounce oops, and one dog oops. I decided to ‘help’ Perrin by adding signals to the change of position, when I don’t usually use signals. And then I held them.One of our find front cookies bounced off to the right, so it wasn’t a straight return, and Perrin indicated the wrong brick for nosework. But he kept the jump up! That is always the hardest one for him. And we squeaked in under 7 minutes with a more cumbersome platform situation than normal with that platform + yoga mat situation. I will also experiment with re-orienting how I have some of the exercises for clearer filming. It is often hard to see Perrin against the dark cabinets.
It may not have been a submission quality run, but I am so thrilled we made it all the way through with only that many major issues. 26 days ago, it seemed that getting through 10 different exercises with Perrin without him quitting or me bungling everything would be close to impossible. But we are almost there.
When Sei and I went to work on TEAM stuff this morning, he looked at me like we had never tried any of it before. Totally baffled. So we did a few clean loops of circling the cone because he seemed to like doing that.
I have a tendency to make TEAM training boring for my dogs (well, and for me too if I’m being honest) so today I decided to try and make a really fun exercise. I set up the jump and cone in my back yard and figured I would send Sei between them, sometimes with an exercise in the middle. The universe decided to make it harder by adding a roofer on the neighbour’s garage. It was fun! And Sei did a great job playing even with the scary roofer. Sei did ignore the cone for the 5 gallon buckets full of peppers behind it, which was understandable. I just went with that one.
Perrin on the other hand….
I did not expect Perrin to have a problem. A look, sure, but not a problem. I was not correct! So Perrin and I just ended up working on focus/attention. He did do some marching position changes though!
Today we were kicked out of the house for training as my husband was cleaning. Perrin’s energy level is usually much better outside (unless it is hot), but if the exercise we are working on involves food tosses, we can get hung up on the grass sniffing/invisible cookie search. Sei doesn’t usually have focus issues in the back yard, but arousal issues. I have not done precision/thinking/food type training with him much there. Usually some disc or fetch or something like that. So the arousal state that comes packaged with the backyard is not optimal for all things. We are working on channelling that into useful work though! Somedays it just goes more successfully than others.
I did Go Arounds with Perrin. He was so enthusiastic! I did some ‘right’ and others I moved away as he came back to get more energy on the return. Then he decided we were done. He is adorable!
Sei and I started with Go Arounds with food, then with a disc, then did some position changes with a disc. I needed to burn off some energy before he could think well, so I did some other kinds of wraps around the peppers to get him running.
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.
I was going to wait until this afternoon to do our TEAM, given that it is a weekend and all, but Sei had different plans in mind. He came over to my desk all cute, set his chin on my knee, and WHINED.
With both dogs I tried to see if we could do some platform work with toys. It was a bit of a gong show! (But Perrin working for toys is always adorable). We moved on to the indoors to test some skills, and at that point Perrin indicated that he would rather go cuddle with my husband. So Sei and I continued on.
We did some practice reps of go touch (so enthusiastic! Even when I was using the wrong word..oops!) and circle, then tried a few run throughs of exercises 6-10. I think we did okay! The nosework would probably be a NY because at that camera angle you can’t see his nose hold. We are also making some really good progress on Sei’s set ups.
I tried stringing nosework in with the other exercises. It went alright, considering it is a first try! I will have to get my time way down before we are ready to put it in with the rest of the behaviours. That should be helped by not having to run treats over to the whiney one 😉
Sei was super full of beans this morning! Set ups were killing him (and me when he kept jumping at my face), I tried to channel that enthusiasm into his go arounds. We got some pretty nice ones! (And also some cone chewing) We did try the other two exercises. His nosework was great, but the camera angle was bad, so I will have to put some more thought into that.
Not a great morning, all said and done. I worked on some more Go Around with Sei, which was a bit of a mixed bag. I tied it to the Jump, because Sei’s jump is solid. I learned that if I put Sei in a sit, set up the exercise and come back, I get all sorts of anticipation errors (he just goes out and jumps/goes around without waiting for my cue). These went away when I let him mill about while I set up and then got him into position afterwards.
For Perrin’s turn Sei refused to station, so I put him in the bedroom with my husband and a kong. Sei decided that was not sufficient so screamed and tried to batter down the door for the duration of Perrin’s turn. Perrin hates it when Sei screams, he shuts down and doesn’t want to play or work with me. I tried moving Sei and the treat n train behind an expen where he could see us , and that was even worse. So Perrin didn’t end up getting a turn and I’m not feeling the most charitable towards Sei right now. This is one of the hardest parts of having two dogs. It makes me irrationally angry that the well behaved dog ends up stressed and put off what he likes to do because the other dog is being an asshole. Yup, lots of unhelpful human emotion there, but this has been a long frustrating road.
Only in the past 4 months has Sei’s stationing gotten to a point where I can work Perrin at all again. And I had to spend a long time convincing Perrin that working with me was still fun after so many months of Sei screaming every time it was his turn. I was heartbroken to see how worried he was about working with me because his turn predicted the noise he hated. Perrin used to absolutely love any sort of training with me. On top of that, it has meant that all of Perrin’s training goals have been put on hold, because Sei can’t wait his turn.
Before he went to work, my husband offered to take Sei out to play ball while I worked Perrin inside. Perrin was really not interested in working by this point, so I just did some super easy pivots to try his old flat platform (worked much better than Sei’s taller one, it stayed in place) and then just gave him a bunch of cookies for effort.