Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Griffin in Beginner Agility Class II

Week 2!

Training since last week: We'd only worked away from home twice, but we did work outside the house many times this week. We didn't work on stays while other dogs play. I intended to... and just didn't happen.

Class This Week:
Entering the building:
VERY wild getting out of the car and into the building. He wouldn't eat outside the car so I did a collar transport into the building. He did start working right away.
Targeting: We started off with some targeting. Griffin was great. The first two times he touched the lid he was sniffing...but it looked like a sticky target and he did release from smelling when released. The third and fourth time he held until I released. I was told to feed the treat at the target location. As picky as I am about placement of reinforcer, I don't know that I ever do with targets. Probably because I remove the target after the click or release? So, do I leave it out after the release or do I put it back out just to feed? And then remove before presenting again?
A Frame Contacts: CPE Height, 4 times. All correct. He was SO enthusiastic about going towards it. Once he started and I called him back (he'd gone one stride) and he DID flip back to me but I sent him immediately. At PosiDog I toss the reinforcer ahead, but we can't do that in the dirt at class... so he's arcing back towards me.
Dogwalk Contacts: We tried one at full height, and like I suspected, he jumped from just before the contact. But he DID run the first plank and the top without trotting, he only trotted a step or two at the top of the down plank. The instructor put it to about 2', and then set the table next to the end, we had Griffin get on the table and then run down the end. Clicking for "feet in yellow". I tried to feed ahead, but again, hard without being able to toss. Griffin, being a well trained dog, did an auto down every single time with the table. I did reinforce those. After about 8 reps we stopped...but ended up doing 2-3 more sessions of ~8 reps. However, Griffin was almost always trotting at the end. I asked about that..and was told we were reinforcing him for going to the end. I agree with that...but as he was trotting, we are ALSO reinforcing him for trotting. Right? And as he goes back to running.... his pace will change, his striding, and this part of training might fall apart. Or am I worrying too much?
Finishes: We demo'd a left finish... the instructor apparently hadn't seen dogs do it like Griffin (we trained with a pivot box). I elected to not work on a right-side-set-up-in-heel-position. I can just get him set on the left and ask for him to stay.

Other comments:
-- Much less smelling than last week. He would "Leave it" or respond to name to move away 9/10 times. Not quite good enough, but improved from last week, I was confident in calling him.
-- Beautiful heeling!
-- Less barking. There was a little during a stay and just after entering.
-- GREAT teamwork. I was very comfortable letting him offleash. He was NOT going to leave me. I didn't feel that my reinforcers were that high value, but he did understand he was to be working with me. He really loved getting the chance to be on the equipment. I wish we were doing some sequencing.

What we need to work on:
- While waiting for our turn, we did some 2o2o on a plank at that end of the building. He did not hold it twice out of about 20 times... he didn't even try.
- Sit stays with duration
- Stimulus control from a front position to finish. He needs to actually let me say the word before moving.
- More recalls. Just in case.
- Working out in public. (Yesterday at the park we couldn't get out of the parking lot!!! He was so worked up!).


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I always treat on the target but I never remove it until I'm all done using it. Even if I'm not going directly there again, I might leave it out as a proof for going to where my body is telling them to go.

As for running contacts, I am certainly no more of an expert than you, just floundering away with Vito on my own. But I WOULD be worried about trotting vs really running. It's not about him understanding the click for being in the yellow, it's about him understanding the RUNNING, not changing his stride so he jumps or slows down. Well that is if true if you are doing a true running contact, I'm not sure what method you're using (I did Silvia Trkman style).

Could you get him to really run if you put a target/lure out there again? When Vito was having issues slowing down to look at me I went back a step and started putting his ball out ahead of time for him to focus on. If Griffin is more foody then a manners minder or some treats actually on a target might get him amped up enough. If you can't get him to, I would personally take a little break from it and hope that it changes in a week or 2 rather than reinforcing trotting.

Kristen said...

Thanks for all the points.

We have done Trkman type contact training previously. Despite having dog/s with running contacts...the class instructor apparently has very different ideas on how to get there!

He does not always miss... numbers have been about 80some percent correct. But he is most likely to miss the first one... and he's missed almost every dogwalk in that building. (4-6).

He will run if he's going over the complete obstacle. In the past he has not run as well if a MM/toy/food/lure/anything is out there. He slows down to get to it, even if it's 10-20 feet out. The MM was too slow.

Throwing a toy can get running a bit faster.

We can't do any throwing of food in class (dirt floor) and he's not yet reliable enough about bringing back the toys immediately for me to be using that in a class setting and arguably at home too. (frolicking and rolling!).

Again, thanks.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Drat. How about a food stuffable toy you could throw and then he needs you to open it to get him food? Or a toy on a long line?

Good luck with your struggles! I'm sure you two will get past it.

Kristen said...

We could do a food toss toy (if I introduce it at home). I've never practiced enough to be good at toys-on-a-line.

I'll find something this weekend that we can use next was especially a struggle with the aframe to not reinforce where I wanted to!

The biggest struggle is "how to effectively participate in class." Though I probably should be concerned about the long-term-structural-integrity of our behaviors.

Thanks again!