January 26, 2009

Misc updates

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I have been thinking a lot about Dazzle's behaviors in the obedience ring. His stress behaviors bother me, so I have decided (if I'm allowed) to only do a non-judged "exhibition only" run at the trial on the 7th, use verbals and a few treats and quit the run after the heeling (skip the stand, recall and stays.) This will give us both a chance to find, see and work in the new location, let him be rewarded earlier in the routine in a big way with going directly outside to tug after the heeling and not completely waste the entry fee :-) We have rally in the same location the next day, so I think it will be a good lead-in to that. Update: Just found out that's not allowed. So I'll just go "hang out" with him for a bit, play a bit and go home.

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I plan to back-chain the obedience routine since it's always the same order of behaviors. This will help him learn that his reward will be outside the ring after the leash goes on following the recall. Of course that means I need a ring to practice in :-) I'm looking at ways to build innexpensive and easily portable ring gates for the side yard and I'll soon be a member of Kuliga so I can use their building/rings. I think once he understands the concept of the reward being outside the ring, his confidence will sky rocket and his stress will go away.
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On a different subject, I said in an earlier post that I had been working on previously filmed videos and I have posted several below...
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The first video is his second session with the light switch. I have it set to nose height. Even though the switch makes a click, I'm still clicking him. This video really shows how much he has grown in just a short while! It was taken on Dec 15th.
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The next video is the following day when I raised it up for the first time. Once he had to put his feet up to reach it, he started scratching the board. In reviewing the video as it's loading, I realized I have a typo. Where the text makes no sense, substitute the would "should" with the word "started." So it should read, "I started with it at nose height..." I DID work on getting him to just put his feet up on the wall calmly, which he was doing. But I guess it didn't translate to the lightswitch board with the switch there as the target. It's a bit stressful for him when he gets confused, but he works it out!
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The next video is just after a play session and you can see there was some latent learning. He's doing much better with it at this height. Some of my clicks in these videos are really late (especially the one that accidently happens while I'm digging a treat out of my pocket!), but he seems to understand in spite of my poor timing. :-) Eventually I just let the switch click him.
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The last lightswitch video is when he had reached the full height he could easily reach. This was not quite at a wall switch height though, so after a few more sessions to tweek the behavior, we stopped working on this till a few days ago when I had him operate a real switch as I said in a previous post. At the end of the video, he got extra treats for not diving on the one he dropped. :-) You can see I was playing around with the available effects for the title :-)
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Another video shows us starting to play with left and right cues. I'm still using mostly body cues but add a few verbals near the end when I can anticipate his behavior. It's clear he prefers left turns over right turns. :-) More recently, but not on video, I have been using the cues as he comes out of the tunnel to indicate which jump uprights he should go through. I know I'm going to get confused though since I'm using my right hand across my body to cue left turns and my left hand across my body to cue right turns (as I will in agility.)
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Lastly is a video I took at my parent's house. Dazzle was "playing fetch" with my dad, but doing a lot less fetch than digging. Good thing the ground is mostly frozen! :-) I set it to music because the background noise was a TV and my mom and I talking (well, me "squeeking" since I was losing my voice.) You'll have to watch till the end to see if he will actually get it back to his grandpa. :-) Through most of the video, my dad was trying to encourage him to get it and bring it back. You can see the temp fence we set up for when I visit with the dogs. Dazzle loves the cold and snow! Look at that tail going non-stop :-)
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I'm guessing that it won't take long for Dazzle to learn how much more fun frisbee's are if he catches them in the air :-)