6 days ago
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The positives, I did a better job of not getting lost and I rewarded my dog when I did.
The negatives, I have some sort of aversion to NOT running the entire course. This is really frustrating me. Because I am getting lost, because I am trying to MOTIVATE my dog and have him enjoy agility MORE - I need to break it down. I need to run 10 obstacles instead of 18. Somehow once I get on the course and begin walking it, that decision and commitment leaves my head.
When I walked the course my intention was to break it into three mini-courses. However that intention is slightly faulty. I was talking about it with Kathleen and she warned me that by deciding ahead of time where and when I planned on stopping to reward I might miss an opportunity to reward a super-speedy Ike or a very nicely executed sequence and then reward mediocrity. Dang. Of course that makes perfect sense.
Another positive, I am feeling when Ike disconnects from me more clearly. Now I need to choose to stop more quickly and re-engage him.
Kathleen did comment that neither of us do well with a twisty course - it is very true. Hopefully there is hope for me, though.
It's funny, last week Darcy was barking while Ike was running and that stressed Ike out. Ike noticeably slowed down. This week Darcy was very good, but the Vizsla was acting creepy and Ike was a bit slow again. I am not sure if the Vizsla being creepy did or did not have an effect on Ike - she wasn't being creepy directly too him, none-the-less.... Kathleen commented that if a dog feels as though they are prey they are not going to draw attention to themselves by moving fast. Yuck - we definitely do not want to practice that.
As I mentioned in the previous post I did bring two of Ike's favorite toys that we only use when training - his braying donkey and his sheepy octopus (originally bought for Bug, but guess who likes it better?). I was really happy that Ike was willing to play with his toy in class. I doubt anyone in the room knows that years ago Ike would NEVER-EVER have played with a toy in public, let alone as a reward for running agility. I was really nervous about trying to reward with the toy, but I am glad I did. I do think I wasted a bit of time though so I will try to use it more economically if I do it again in the future.
My goal next week is to run a shorter sequence with Ike and try to reward him in a timely manner - not to keep going until we reach an imaginary point I have in my head.