Monday, April 9, 2012

4-8-12 Training Session

Part of my weekly goals is to record one training session.  It's really helpful for me to evaluate myself, and it's good experience to "be in the spotlight" since eventually my plan is to compete with Tess.  There's something about having someone watch you, even if it's a video camera, that makes everything go screwy.....

Today's session is uploaded to youtube and includes notes. (it's hard to see the notes unless you blow it up to full screen - sorry about that).

For some reason recording sessions makes me REALLY distracted and Tess can sense that my attention is a result she isn't as focused or motivated.

This was the first part/skill of the session - I went on to let her play with the ball, and do some other toy related stuff, and a session of Yer choice since she was SO distracted by the treat bowel (had cooked sausage in it for recalls among other tasty things) but this was the best part of the session and so just chose to share this.  Letting her play with obstacles (like the ball) really revs her up, so I probably should have "sandwiched" the shaping session (although this was more of a luring session), between 2 high drive obstacle exercises instead of putting the shaping first.

Why did I chose to lure her into going under my legs instead of pure shaping?  We've been doing a lot of shaping and I didn't want her to get confused that I was asking for something new.  I did fade the lure as fast as I could - if you notice, there was not luring after the initial introduction to the activity.

I forgot to set my timer for the session - as a result, as you can see by the length of the video, the session ran 6 minutes instead of my planned 3-4 minutes.  It's VERY difficult to judge the length of time without a beep every minute or so.

As a side note, some of you may be wondering why I'm bother to teach something like this?  A couple of reasons:

1.  Yet another fun thing we can do together that engages Tess and teaches her that I'm the "best cookie" in the world.
2.  Yet another thing that engages her brain and causes her to think about something
3.  Stretches and uses her body in a different way.  I ask her to do many physically challenging things and I try to balance those skills with tricks and activities that stretch her muscles.  Jumping and running the A-frame requires strength - but it's not the best way to build strength because you can injure the dog - so I do alternative strength activies (and related stretching) to gain a level of fitness so that Tess can learn the technique of jumping. I use the peanut ball for ab strength training, this crawling behavior to stretch afterwards, handstands to strengthen the back, yoga for stretching etc.

Things I really like about this video: 
-even though I was distracted, Tess stayed fairly engaged throughout.  She had one moment of running into the kitchen instead of retrieving - but she didn't do any sniffing stuff.  She was sorta in "slow-mo" mode, but now that I realized that I should have put a higher drive game on either side of the new shaping session, that makes sense. And I can see how distracted I was - it's obvious I'm splitting my attention between Tess, the camera, and where to put the feed bowl.  Tess can definitely tell.....
-I was pretty consistent about not treating for behavior that was "close" but not criteria.
-I realized after watching the video that Tess is all grown up!  

What needs to be improved:
-early in the behavior I'm clicking too late
-More Yer choice in the beginning of the session if realize the treat bowl is going to be a problem.
-Figure out where I'm going to put the treats BEFORE I start the session.  Even though I was good about getting everything staged before the session, that was the one thing I hadn't thought out.
-Should have used the crate games, or some other relationship game other than just toy play between the shaping.  I didn't have enough room to really throw or play and I was trying to manage the treat bowl, the ball, and the camera at the same time.
-I need to stop worrying about whether the camera angle etc. is good.  In this case I did 3 things and 1 of them came out good enough to share.  Chances are, if I just act normal and go about my training "normally" I'll get one or two things good enough to share.  
-Use a timer EVERY time.

Overall I give this session a "C".

The best thing about doing a video analysis of the session......
it was really really really helpful to see and it's going to make it easier for me to do it better at the next session.  I do an indepth analysis of each session that I write in a training journal....BUT there's nothing like seeing a video of yourself and making a commitment to post in a public place to make the lessons sink in.   I think taping myself on a regular basis and sharing it here is probably one of the best things I can do to improve as a trainer.

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