Getting Out in Public

I've never been that great about getting out and actually training the dogs in public.  I use the training club about once a week and then at least in the summer I try to train in the yard several times a week.
Actually going beyond our comfy, easy, places into the real world just doesn't happen much.  And of course now I have a built in excuse with the whole baby thing ;)

But going out is exactly what Vito needs to keep working on his choice to work.  And while Zumi generally can work pretty much anywhere if I have her rewards, she really needs more opportunities to become comfortable in challenging environments.

So I am committing myself to going out in public for training at least once a week with the dogs.  Mainly I've been going to to a little plaza that's not typically very crowded.  On this day there were some people seated in a patio behind us, but traffic was extra low due to the road being temporarily closed on this side of the plaza.

Zumi
This was Zumi's first experience working while I was babywearing.  I let her forge a bit more because of it!  After I started working with her in this session I kicked myself for not forcing more acclimation time on her.  Zumi waited in the car while I had a meeting and  I wanted to get a quick session in before going home.  She always wants to work quickly but I usually don't let her work so soon.  Zumi had about 8 minutes of waiting at the table while I took Vito out, but I don' think that was enough for her based on her behavior here.  Subtle little things that you feel more then you see.

I do ask her to take a break at the 3:20 min mark here, and then remember she needs a more formal down for that.


At the 6min mark I work on some of her drop on recall issues that have recently cropped up.  Zumi has started anticipating the drop cue in our practice sessions!  Because of that I've been choosing to drop her pretty late on the recall. You can see she's slow and thinking very hard!

Vito
Vito was with me at the meeting so had a long time of getting used to being out, even though our meeting was still on the other side of the building.  I still rushed things a bit with him and ultimately lose Vito when our flow was broken.

Vito has been getting much, much better about working in public with me.  But there are still those sessions where he just isn't ready.  If I were to get out cookies and really show them to Vito I can get his attention easily even if I put them back away, but that's the not the real engagement I'm looking for.

For those who like watching long videos of dog training, here is a recent session of Vito working where he was much more UP and engaged.  At the 4.5min mark I switch to having the rewards of my body altogether.

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1000th Post- Podcast!

I just discovered that after journaling for over 8yrs I am now on my 1000th post!  Does anyone want to send me cake to celebrate?

So I also did this podcast thingy.  Very hard for me to be social, but I did it!  More cake please.
I actually couldn't bring myself to listen to it for 4 days.  But I finally did and now I'm sharing it with you guys.



Seriously, if you haven't already checked out this podcast and subscribed you should do so now.  Lots of great trainers and way better at this thing than me.

And on that note, the August schedule at FDSA  is insane.  SO many good classes that I have no idea how I'm going to choose.  Honestly.  Sara Stremming's class on shut down dogs?! Amy Johnson's class on action photography?!  And Deb Jones is even teaching a class for training cats!  I'm pretty sure my evil kitty would love getting cookies instead of having to steal whatever he can.

Of course I'm also teaching a class for obedience foundations called TEAM 1.  If you ever wanted to teach an independent backup I already have that as my sample lecture for you to get started!

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UKI

UKI trial this Saturday with the tollers.  Many thanks to Grandma coming along to watch Netta!  She got to experience eating astrotuf, napkins, and Grandma's shoe. Good job Netta.

Zumi had 4 runs and only had a single off course all day, the very first run.  She even did well with choosing to focus in the ring and not running off to see Grandma!  We stationed Grandma right at the entrance for each run so that she knew exactly where she was located and it was close by.  Who knows whether that new protocol helped Zumi or whether it was just maturity.

Sadly the one run Zumi actually needed to qualify in was novice standard.  While I was very proud of that run, she missed her dogwalk contact.  On a straight exit to a tunnel too, drat!

I had Zumi entered in the masters heat challenge runs for fun again.  Very wide on most turns but listening and even putting up with some late front crosses on my part.  A knocked bar on jumpers and a refusal on standard cost her Q's, but since it's time plus faults she actually placed first in her height and earned me a tiny cash prize!


Vito and I were a bit more out of sync.  Silly little things, mainly on my part.  And while he seemed to run pretty happy and decently fast on most his runs in the ring, he had trouble engaging and getting excited out of the ring.

Next agility trial won't be until August now!

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Right Sided Heeling with The Corgi

I can't believe it's been over 2 months since I started training right sided heeling with The Corgi.  2 months, and sadly not many sessions and thus results.

Lance still needs work on his pivots and doodles, but his forging is way down.  It's a bit difficult for him to physically do the pivoting now so I try not to do it too much.

So mainly I've started to work on forward motion.  It was no shock that his natural tendency of forging keeps trying to rear its head, but the wideness Lance has been showing was a surprise!  I've been working on doing a pivot before each reward to get Lance in the habit of moving in towards me.  Eventually when wideness is the problem I'll throw in a moving side step each time, but he's not quite ready for that.

The horse flies are just starting to appear at home and The Corgi thinks they are his mortal enemy.  I don't disagree, but I've never taken it to the point where I don't want to come off the porch!  Thus I'm really proud of Lance for doing a training session out in the yard yesterday.  You can see how hard he thinks about it after each cookie!


So not quite there with pretty heeling on the right, but he's having fun getting to learn something new!

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Masters Debut

I took the tollers up for a USDAA agility trial this past weekend.  Zumi had just about 3 weeks back of practice since her maternity leave, and of course her first trial in 3 months.  I fully expected Feral Duck.  And since she earned her advanced title at the last trial, this would be her first time in masters.

I got Zumi out loads of time before her 4 runs to walk around the area.  She desperately needed it.  Wild Child.  I was grateful it was an outdoor trial so we could do all that walking without bothering others.  But all the acclimation time paid off!  Her first run of the day, gamblers, she was only semi-feral. Didn't keep her stop on the teeter and did a bonus loop up the dogwalk, but overall listened well.  Almost made the gamble, but did a 15ft send out to the backside instead of taking the um obvious approach to the jump.

The remaining 3 runs she listened very well!  Even got her very first master Q in snooker with a 50pt run.  Here are Zumi's snooker run and so close run in standard:


Vito ran 4 runs as well.  Seemingly happy and running decently well until quite a bit slower on the last run of the day.  Now that Zumi is running the same course it's fun to compare times.  Vito also failed this standard run by taking the wrong end of the tunnel, but it's fun to compare Zumi's run above with Vito's:

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Yummy- retrieve pt3 Victory!

Mission accomplished!

That was Yummy a few days ago, showing off her hold, pickup and hold (with help of target to leg!), and retrieve of a metal canning ring.  Round of applause to Yum Yum.

I've spent these last 2 weeks with Yummy working on getting her to pick up a variety of items and deliver them to my hand.  At first, it was rewarding lots of flings and maybe getting her to deliver the item to my hand after a couple of reps (or sessions).

Today was the first time she worked with 2 brand new objects and on the very first attempt she confidently picked them up and put them right in my hand.  Extra mission accomplished.

Well, really she would still have a long way to go if she were to be a mobility service dog.  Besides the other tasks she would need to learn or keep fine tuning, the retrieve really isn't done yet either.  More items would need to be conquered from the small to heavy to awkwardly shaped.  The hold would need to be generalized more.  And while Yummy has always been easy about generalizing skills to new locations, this would need more attention.

Yummy doesn't need to learn a formal front and hold like she would for obedience.  But just for fun I've trained her to find front with the help of a platform.  And I gave her one single lesson in combining her hold with her find front exercise just to see how she would do.  Good girl Yummy!

And now that I've accomplished my personal mission with her, we're sending her off!  Yummy will now "officially" be in for final training and live at the facility while the trainer works on getting to know her and finding her a good match.  More than likely she will be placed as an easy going autism assist dog!  Wish her luck on her upcoming journey!

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16 inches!

This past Friday, Vito ran for the first time in an agility trial at 16 inches.  We've only done 1 practice at that height so I'm still not used to how low it feels.  A big leap from the 22in he was at last year!  Technically he's eligible to even go to 14in in USDAA performance but I'm definitely not ready for that!

His first two runs of the days, jumpers and MC jumpers, didn't seem all that different in attitude.  Same old Vito.  Happy but not really putting on the burners.  Qualifying easily.
And then his next two runs, standard and MC standard, he really went fast!  Granted I can't really say the difference is due to the lower height as Vito always loves his standard courses over jumpers!  But he was happy to the point of being a little naughty and doing the wrong tunnel entrance in both standard classes!

I look forward to running him at this new height for awhile!  And I admit part of my want to lower him is so that when Zumi gets to start trialing again I won't have 2 dogs both running masters in the 20in class.  We don't exactly have huge classes in USDAA and UKI around here!

Which brings me to Zumi!!!  My girl is back :)

She may have been referred to as a "4 week Momma" by her breeder.  Did well with the puppies, but definitely being way more interested in whatever else was happening around that time.  Zumi didn't want no free loaders!

We've resumed training obedience without much of a hitch other than seemingly forgetting to how to find a straight front and pivot in front.  As soon as she's a little less endowed I'm excited to get back to agility too!


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Yummy Retrieve pt 2- More Problem Solving

Yummy, the service dog in training, and I are still working on that retrieve.  It's been about 12 days since our last update where I shared our progress on trying to get movement and a short stationary hold.

I'm happy to share that we now have a few steps of forward movement after picking up the dumbbell.  Yummy can pick it up and walk forward about 4ft to put it inside my bucket, or right at the edge of it.  Remember, my goal with the bucket/platform isn't really to teach a clean up at this point but more to use as a reward station to help Yummy develop a pattern.  The location you reward tends to act as a magnet!
Her consistency still isn't quite there as she regresses into flinging sometimes, and fairly frequently Yummy also just does a quick grab and immediate drop.  But with Yummy it's pretty darn big progress!


In the meantime, I was also able to slightly progress Yummy's hold so that she would pick it up off the ground directly in front of me and hold it briefly in a stand.  This was incredibly hard for her and often resulted in Yummy lying down while doing her hold or just dropping it immediately.  I was seeing too much avoidance behaviors as well.

So I abandoned our stationary hold practice except for the occasional rep while I remain holding it or she's holding it while doing a chair visit.  Then, since Yummy had started to get the concept of aiming, just a little bit, to her bucket or platform, I tried to see if just using her platform training and always rewarding in a sit would help her.  Pick up dumbbell, drop in front of platform or just barely on it, complete the "front" to get her cookie.  Hoping the reward placement and the chain itself would start to come together.  It might have helped if I stuck with it longer, but I switched tactics.

I realized that what Yummy was really struggling with was being able to lift her head UP.  Most dogs at this point I've been able to place my hands together in a big cup as I move backward.  I can shape them pretty easily in aiming for my hands with the help of my movement guiding them.  But once again Yummy needs something different.  So I started working with her "visit" to the chair cue as being her new target.  Tiny lift off ground, reward placed on the chair, and then cues to visit in between reps.  Here I liked what I started to see.

Today for the first time I added myself into the picture.  Review pick up and put it on the chair (which still needs practice by itself), and then I sat in the chair and worked on visit to my lap instead of to the chair.


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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

Email: lkwaudby (at) gmail.com

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