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!
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday I made a little spreadsheet tool to do my randomizing for me. If I press ‘enter’ on the purple box, it picks one of the pairs for me. But I am not going to use that today!
Today I decided to see if Sei could do some work on the porch. This is a very hard thing for him to do. He is often unable to take treats at all on the front porch. I needed an exercise that could easily be done in a small space, with a prop (something for Sei to focus in on), and on leash. So we did pivots. He did super well! He was able to work and focus, and when something made him a little unsure, he was able to just watch until it passed and jump right into work again! So proud of my sensitive little SeiSei.
I decided not to use the randomizer today for Perrin’s two exercises because I wanted to see if I could figure out spacing/orientation for the go-touch and jump exercises in my kitchen. The jump may be pushing the ‘two foot on either side’ rule a little, but I think once I get the dog toy boxes out of the kitchen, that I will have enough room to do it there. Just planning ahead for winter when we are likely to be taking a serious crack at a full TEAM1 run.