Friday, August 20, 2010

Drop on Recall

At training group today Griffin was WILD. He's normally a bit more bouncy than the average dog. But over the last few months he'd grown up. He would be wild when it was time to work. But then he'd calm down, rest on his side. He could stay very well, calmly exit the crate He was growing up, he's turned two. And we've focused on self control recently.

But apparently I was under a delusion. It was the pain/discomfort from the Lyme... not training! In some ways I miss that dog I had...but I'm very glad he's back to "normal."

One of our activities today was the drop on recall. We've followed the sorta training plan I got from the 3 hour presentation at expo a few years ago. And we can get a lot of offered downs, right after the other. He will offer downs while we move, even at higher speeds. If I put him in an informal stand stay and walk to a distance, he will offer a down at a distance. So he can do all the parts, just not together.

Right now, I cue down and he will lower his head and gradually work into a down, all the while, moving forward. His latency is good. His speed is a bit lacking. And he doesn't stick. We played with a few exercises and experimented with another (much more experienced) dog.

In our little experience...

What went well:
-Drop on mat for a dog with a strong mat behavior.
-Marking offered downs and tossing the treat behind the dog. Very quickly the dog was offering downs further away.

What wasn't effective:
-Having a treat/toy/food person behind the dog. Marking for the drop and sending the dog back to the food person. Some snappy downs, a lot of stress. Sloppy downs too.
-Tethering the dog, leaving, cueing a down and reinforcing.

From our small assortment of dogs, we looked at the two that had less than stellar DOR and the one that could drop on a dime.

The first two would down in position. If you were viewing the dog from the side, their bodies went straight to the ground, front feet scooting out to accommodate.

On the other hand, Luna will keep her feet in the same spot and flop back. She has a really nice DOR. Is this more effective by shifting her weight to her rear?

So... the questions are..
1) Is Luna better because of her down or is it different training or is it just because it's her? How important are all those things?
2) If it's about the type of down she has... do I need to retrain Griffin's down?
2a) By luring a million of the proper fold back downs?
2b) By teaching him weight-shift exercises?

Expect some videos when I have daylight!

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