Friday, May 2, 2008

Weaves, Class # 2

This post could also be entitled Carmen & Katrin teach Julie about Handling. Very cool. Working with a different dog, and therefore having to change the way you do things, is so much fun.

Yes, I am such a dork but I am so excited! I like learning. It is hard, and embarrassing at times, but the glow I get from incremental progress is worth it!

Carmen and I missed Weaves Class # 1 due to Ike’s poor decision to rip his stitches out. We only managed to practice about three times, so Carmen was just about to take *a* cage off the weaves. Last night Katrin had set up a nice circular course that allowed the dogs to pick up some speed. It went jump, jump, six-weaves, six-weaves, tunnel, wing jump, jump, twelve weaves, table jump, c-shaped tunnel, jump, and back to the table to reverse the course if you/she desired.

Carmen had some difficulty with the first set of six weaves and she started to circle the weaves like she has been at home. Katrin had a really good point – I don’t want Carmen to think that weave poles must be circled before the weaving begins….that the circling is part of the process. gods, no, please! Katrin lent me a clicker and had me click the entry so Carmen would understand that the entry was important. I haven’t clicker trained Carmen nearly as much as Ike, but the click is still a definite conditioned reinforcer for her – she immediately grasped the entry concept once I started clicking the actual entry. The next difficult spot was the final two poles which was where Katrin had removed the cage – Carmen figured once she was out of the cages she was done. My version of helping her was to put my hand in her face. Oi! I have lots to work on. I did get slightly better as we went on – less hand in the face, more body language.

We had a bit of difficulty with the tunnel too. Sometimes I think Carmen loves tunnels (while setting up she kept going through them), other times not so much. During actual coursework she hesitates to commit to the tunnel – I think she wants to know where I am going to be. So, this is something to work on. I think I should work on some jump tunnel sequences with nothing else so I can get her over her strange belief that I am going to disappear while she is running the tunnel and build some speed.

I was really pleased with her performance on the set of twelve weave poles. Every time she got to a section where the cages were removed, Carmen stopped and sat, like what do you want me to do? However, when I actually exerted some patience and waited - she thought about it and continued weaving. Yes!! Such a smart girlie.

It is a full class and lots of dogs that Ms. i-wanna-b-reactive doesn’t know. So, I was foolish and was too close to the door as people and their dogs arrived. Sigh. When Meeka (AA), Callie (AA), and Molly (PWD) arrived – three females – Carmen was obnoxious. Ugh. Next week I will be far away from the barn door and better prepared. I didn’t even have my treats out yet. Bad mum!

Overall I am really pleased with last night’s class. I learned a lot during my run with Carmen and watching the other students work with their dogs. It is amazing the variety of learning styles in one class – of both the humans and the dogs.


Katrin said...

"During actual coursework she hesitates to commit to the tunnel – I think she wants to know where I am going to be."

Uh no. She has you sooooo pegged my dear! You should see her! She KNOWS that if she hestates, or backs out, you will help her and then she'll get a cookie! (you have this habit of rewarding a dog consistently after you help them, on behaviors you have taugh fairly well, and not as consistently when they do it correctly the 1st time, so you are invariably training Carmen that her needing you to help is a good thing and cookies will come, so she is a smart girl and figures- ok let me try this and see if she'll 'help' and I'll get a treat)

But GOOD JOB last night! (and you took a LOT of 'constructive criticism' VERY WELL! :-))

Jules and Ike said... I will have to work on rewarding the first time and not as consistently when I help. Interesting. Or maybe just trying not to *help* so much! ;-P

Thank you!