Monday, September 5, 2011

Uncooperative Dog

Griffin is not being very helpful this week.

I note our areas to work on.  I make logical training plans.

Each session, I pick something specific to work on, get our plans and materials and everything together. We go and train and the "problem" is not a problem at all. It's something --else--.

  • Our retrieve turn was really poor last week. Wide looping arcs, rather than a nice tight turn.  Today? 100% perfect.
  • If we did fronts from a distance, he would be crooked.   Last session?   Perfect, up to 3x the distance we need.
  • Out of sight stays were perfect.   Yesterday?  100%.  He didn't even think about getting up.
  • Figure 8 had moments of inattention last week.  Today?  Perfect.  Completely attentive to me.
  • Last week, his stand was crooked.   Last night... perfect.   
So, what's different?  
  1.  I did have good training plans, and for the most part would start the session in ways where it wasn't possible to make an error and build up from there.  That said, I was expecting 20% or so of the responses to be errors. And as a result, we progressed way faster than I expected and were soon up to more challenging stages.   
  2. Maybe these weren't actually problems?   I typically only write things on our problem list it occurs more than once or if something absolutely not good happens.  
  3. It's easier to repair pieces of chains than a lot of broken things. By addressing the one specific challenge area, we can progress faster and then put it all back together much sooner than if I was to be trying to fix the problem area -within- the exercise.
  4. Sometimes we are in different places, different locations, different setups, different reinforcers. All that said, I am really surprised at his sudden perfections.  

Our new weak areas?

  • Fronts with the dumbbell (now crooked is a problem, not distance)
  • Reliable release from stays
  • Right turns in heeling
It's a good problem to have...and we have our new training plans.  We'll have to see what happens with your next training sessions....

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