Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Competition Obedience, Class # 2

Last night Ike and I had our second class at Masterpeace Dog Training. We reviewed the attention games we played in our first class. Ike is such a good boy - I was able to put a treat on his paw and he left it there. But then I made a fatal mistake, and I should have known better, I let him eat it! Yipes. So, I did it a few more times and didn't let him eat that particular treat. Nonetheless, I am impressed - this is a new trick for him. I will work on it through out the week to reinforce what I want and that allowing him to eat the treat was an abnormality.

Then we worked on formal recalls. Well, our first try I peeked back at Ike as I walked away and then called him to me. Esther explained that a formal recall begins with the dog in the "setup" position (a sit very close on your left side - his front paws lined up with the toes of your shoes). There is no peeking as you walk away. Stand squarely and do not bow to the dog (I did) when you give him his release signal. It can be a hand movement or a verbal, but not both. My first time in class I bowed and did both a verbal and hand signal! I guess I do not have a lot of faith that Ike knows what I want, huh? Jeez - I need to start giving him more credit.

Esther then explained that when the dog comes to you, you want him to sit as close as possible to you - practically on your feet. Ike and the Kelpie Taz both sit out about 3 feet. Esther explained that this was due to the way we taught them to sit, using the lure method and then reinforced it for however long. In Ike's case that is 4 years. Esther tried to get Ike to sit close to her, but he is such a weirdo with people. She started to tell me not to worry about it, that some dogs can't be taught to do it if they have been sitting a certain way all their life. However, I tried it with Ike and he started to leap up on me and then sat nearly on my shoes! Esther said that if I can get him to not jump that sit would work. Once we master that we will work on him sitting straighter. I did notice that he seemed to sit straighter when I gave him the treat from my right hand versus my left hand.

Our second attempt at the recall I was able to get him in a quasi set-up, stay, and then give him the hand motion for come. At that point he still wasn't willing to sit too closely to me. I had boiled unsalted peanuts in my mouth to give him as a treat - he thought my salivia was odd apparently.... he was in no hurry to take his treat and he likes those peanuts!

We then practiced the set-up behavior which I think is fairly easy to train. Although I have never had an formal obedience training, when I saw Emma Parsons about Ike's increasingly reactive behavior a few years ago she taught me this behavior as a way to focus Ike. You plant your feet, and lead the dog behind you with a treat and then around to your left side, ending with a sit. Hmm....that is poorly explained. I will have to figure out a better way to explain it. As I said before, the desired outcome is for the dog to be seated on your left side with his paws even with the tips of your shoes.

So, Ike and I have been practicing fronts a little, and I will need to break out some time to work on the other items I've discussed. Fronts are easy because I just incorporate them into our walks when we see someone Ike wants to bark at! Of course I could easily use the "setup" behavior the same way.

Depending on how Ike does with agility this upcoming session, I might switch him over to only obedience (which he seems to like a lot) and start working with Carmen in agility. She has much more drive than Ike does. As a precursor to that I think I will enter her in Good Manners at the shelter. It would be good for her even if I decide not to pursue agility with her.

No comments: