Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Transport (Agility Right From the Start)

It was interesting that something on my priority training list with Griffin was a main feature of a lesson last night. The owner was in agility class and had done a lot of classes before elsewhere. The dog was great with equipment supposedly, but lacked focus. So... despite being in an agility class...we spent more of our time working on the set up and the 'what to do at the end of the sequence.'.

I introduced a "food transport". End of the sequence? Reinforce. And then little nibble-licks all the way to the start of the next. No chance for the dog to practice wandering off. Some learning that great things happen for sticking with the handler.

I'm sure they didn't have as much fun with the "agility" part of class... but hopefully they'll be seeing the progress desired soon.

Griffin is great about transports. It's something I had done a little with unintentionally, but the sessions at expo and in the book helped me to be more proficient. That period of time from when the dog gets the reinforcer to when he's set up for the next rep is SO important and undervalued!

In group class with Griffin, I do transports to set him up for the next rep, either food or collar, but mostly food. I think it distressed our instructor a bit because even for incorrect reps Griffin was getting a little lick-nibble of his treats. Yes...we reinforced the incorrect behavior a little tiny bit. But more importantly, I can set him up for the next rep without loosing him.


Kristine said...

Transports have become really important for us. My Shiva's focus is fleeting and if I lose it for even half a second it takes forever to get it back. Shiva's reward at the end of a sequence is actually a bag - long story. So to transport her I let her keep her head in the back while we move to the start. It always makes people laugh.

Kristen said...

That's fabulous! And a GREAT modification to be efficient with your dog!