Friday, December 3, 2010

Training in the Cold

We met with our new training friend today and it was cold! Not GreatWhiteNorth cold, but Ohio cold and there was snow falling during part of the time. My 2-3 layers of clothing wasn't quite appropriate.

When we meet in a week and a half, I'll wear more and better layers and my great Muck boots.

When Blaze was young, we did most of our training outdoors, year round. He was too rambunctious to get anything safely done in the house. When it was really cold, we mostly used toy as a reinforcer, and with water proof (slobber proof!) gloves, we were able to get quite a bit done. When I used food, I would use thinner gloves or even take off my gloves for periods of time.

Now that I'm more proficient at training, the lack of precision with food and gloves really bothers me! Placement and presentation can speed up learning and get more precise behaviors.

So today in the cold, we would spend time using toy tugging as a reinforcer and part of our time using canned food on a spoon. I was hopeful and did try sausage but it was so gross on the gloves that I didn't use it for more than 10 reps.

When we meet in about a week and a half, we are going to work on some tracking! That's much easier to do with gloves on!


Robin Sallie said...

I hear you on "the lack of precision" but it IS "GreatWhiteNorth" cold here.

After freezing while tracking, we worked a bit of obedience in a big box pet store.

It was far from ideal.

Via is still in that too cute crowd drawing stage.

But I still have most of my toes.

Kristen said...

You ARE in the great white north!

The closest big box store is 30+ minutes away...we only have "small box stores" nearby, not always enough space to work without tails spilling products all over the floor.

Megan said...

The GreatWhiteNorth got more snow. You need to come visit and experience the REAL winter-ness we have up here.

Today I went out for short sessions with crazy red puppy with no gloves because poor reinforcement irritates me too. With my own dogs I try to make the snow reinforcing. Bailey loves to eat snow and dances around when I throw it (the soft, fluffy stuff) at her. Buzz likes to be "goosed" and chased around. Not primary reinforcers and not conditioned really but... it works for the work we can do in the GreatWhiteNorth for now.

Kristen said...

I want to come visit... but I'm scared of the snow!

Great use of the snow as a reinforcer!!

We don't always have snow when it's cold. SOmetimes I use tossed leaves, that's actually how I knew Griffin would tug in class recently...he was offering me leaves and then tugging!