Monday, October 10, 2011

Puppy Play 10/9/11 Notes

For more explanation on Puppy Play Note posts, see this post here

1.  The heel.  I've had the hardest time with the heel.  Tess resents it because it's not her idea and my frustration threshold for her constantly testing the heel is absolutely nill.  W assured me that I will NOT ruin my future obedience heel by using "Let's Go" and letting her walk on whatever length leash I give her, in whatever position she wants, without pulling.  This morning I went on a run with her, using "let's go" and it was hands down the best walk/run we've ever had.  We both enjoyed it immensely.  She didn't feel confined and rarely pulled.  It's back to foundation work for the heel and I won't use it in it's complete form for a while.

2.  Paws on the bowl.  This week Tess learned to put her front paws on the bowl.  The next step is to have her pivot around the bowl with her front feet in place.  This is foundation work for the heel.  I'll be able to teach my sit positions - finish, side, front - using the bowl as a position point for her front feet.

3.  Self correct position - don't really know what to call this, since it isn't a finished behavior/trick, but a transition behavior I need to get before I can start really working on the heel.  Basically, I walk a few steps forward and when she goes back behind my leg to correct herself into the right position I reward near my knee.  I'm rewarding when her butt is in the correct place - not worrying about the nose, since after the click, her nose comes to the treat position at my knee.  If I can get her doing this consistently, I will post a youtube video. 

4.  Cue versus verbal.  Does your dog respond to the verbal cue, or your body language?  Tess is very good on the verbal....if there is no distractions.  At the dog park, the cue barely worked, let alone the verbal.  Concept is - verbal only, wait, if no response then do the cue.  In this way you are pairing the two, since most dogs "get" the visual better.  It's really really really hard to control body language.  One suggestion was to do a cartwheel or handstand while saying the cue to make sure you aren't giving your dog body language cues you aren't aware of! 

5.  Resistance to the Holt.  Tess has accepted her Holt (head harness), but is still quite resistance if there is any pressure on it.  Much like a horse, I want her to GIVE to pressure on her head, so I will be doing some pressure/release stuff with the holt

This covers our "homework" from the puppy play group.  See the skills list on the top of the webpage if you are interested in everything we are working on. 

General notes: Tess was less focused than last week - but so was I.  Was late, had a rough weekend, and just wasn't really "on it", not to mention the LARGE mosquitos (both in size and number) were driving me insane.  My brain really is clicker stupid and for some reason it was REALLY hard for me to "get" exercise number 3.  It's one I really need to sit down and think about the mechanics of.  She's getting better and  better about not trying to rub the head harness off.  This week, she only tried it when she was laying down.  It's really fun to do something on a regular basis because even if you think you haven't made any progress at all, you realize "last week she was (insert annoying behavior here), but this week she's so much better!", which is encouraging.  Tess was even better about the other dogs than she was last week.  I've gradually be introducing more and more play time at home, as long as she shifts her focus to me when I call her, and as a result she's not lunging as badly trying to play with the other dogs while on the leash. 

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