Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Weave Woes

Yesterday Carmen and I had a half hour (or-so) private with Katrin so she could evaluate what is going on with the onion’s weave performance. To date, Carmen really doesn’t get weaves – and we have been WORKING on it.

I was at the point where I wasn’t sure what the appropriate next step is and I needed an educated outside opinion.

When we got to Katrin’s house, I set Carmie up at the jump and released her to jump and weave (12 weaves with cages on the entry and alternating groups of three). She completely blew by the weaves. My impression, or rather worry was that she isn’t seeing the entry, since this is what has been happening – blow-bys. Katrin said she feels that Carmen is stressed out and doing the classic, “If I pretend it does not exist, then it does not.” Because Carmen has been so quick to pick up on things in general, I forget how literal she is.

Katrin took out a ladder and had me work on treating Carmen for walking in a straight line through the ladder. Fairly quickly Carmen was moving down the length of the ladder and stopping with all four paws within the confines of the ladder. Hooray. On to the weaves.

I have been using the cage method with Carmen and we cannot seem to progress. After watching Carmen work, Katrin suggested fading each individual cage, SLOWLY. The way Carmen’s brain works, removing entire cages was turning the weaves she “knew” into a completely new and stressful obstacle. Ah….in addition my body language was pushing her OUT of the weaves at times, so that is something I will need to work on.

Hooray! Now I have a plan of attack (huge, dramatic sigh of relief!). Katrin suggested considering it a winter project and to plan on working her on the weaves 3x a week for 20 – 30 minute sessions. These sessions will include ladder work, so it won’t just be me drilling her at the weaves! SLOWLY fading the cages by moving them further and further out of the picture. I am going to set up an excel sheet (date, what cages have weaves, distance cages are removed, Carmen’s reaction/progress, and length of weave performance) so I can track our progress and realize we are actually making progress!

In retrospect, Ike learning the weaves without dancing and luring was also a winter project. However, Ike’s learning process did not require slowly fading of cages – just lots of FUN practice. Carmen’s reaction to the weaves is so unlike what I experienced with Ike I really didn’t know what to think. I am certain if I am patient I can make weaves as fun for Carmen as they are for Ike. Or I certainly hope so!!


Katrin said...

you can do it. I have faith in you! :-)

Jules said...

Thanks!! Thank you for your insights. Very helpful.