Sunday, August 8, 2010

Control Unleashed, Week #2

Thursday night Bug and I had our 2nd Control Unleashed class. E’s assistant (not sure if that is the right word, maybe protégé?) S taught the class because E was sick. The first thing we worked on was the Whip Lash Turn.

Whip Lash Turn. Have your dog on his leash. Throw a treat. As your dog is eating the treat, say your dog's name. Click, just as your dog turns his head. Toss the next treat to reset your dog for another repetition.

Issues Bug and I had with this exercise. We did it exactly as described until S came over and told me to wait for eye contact before tossing the next treat. To me it is no longer a whiplash turn if I am waiting for eye contact? So, I am a little confused about the criteria. I have sent an e-mail off to E for clarification.

Edit: E responded and said: When training the whiplash turn, you are clicking for the turning of the head. However, after you get the quick turn of the head, it certainly doesn't hurt to click and treat for eye contact.

S pointed out that I have a tendency to toss my treats left-to-right and never in front of me. When I tossed treats in front of me I got more eye contact from Bug – I think because he was heading straight back to me.

The next exercise she had us work on is Zen Doggie. In this version of the game S had us hold a treat at shoulder level. Once the dog stopped watching the treat and made eye contact you tossed a treat.

Next we worked on Reorient to the Handler.

This involves teaching your dog that he needs to make eye contact with you (orient) before he goes on to do a different activity. Bug and I work this exercise every morning. I open the front door and release Bug to the porch. Then I stand there silently waiting for Bug to stop scanning for squirrels and chipmunks and reorient to me. When he does c/t and off on our walk we go.

In class S set up two sets of obedience ring gating separated by about 20 feet. Each set had a “doorway” in the center. She asked us to have our dog in a sit, pass through the “doorway” and wait for our dog to reorient. Walk up to the next set of obedience ring gates and do the same thing. Then turn around and do it twice more on the way back to your seat. Ironically, given how long it takes Bug to reorient in the morning on a daily basis, he rocked this exercise.

The last exercise we worked on in class was Parallel Jumps. S set up three jumps, a line of obedience ring gating, and three more jumps. You took your dog over the first three jumps and waited for them to reorient to you. Then you did the same thing with the next three jumps. While other dogs were jumping we worked on bodywork on our mat.

I was a bit disappointed. There is a highly reactive dog in class and in order to accommodate her every dog ended up tucked behind a barrier where they then ended up staying for the whole exercise. I understand starting below threshold, but for Bug and I this was so far below threshold it was like we were just hanging out. We didn’t have an opportunity to utilize any of the skills we are working on.

I am hopeful that next week will be a bit more challenging.


Kathy said...

OOOH it does sound pretty basic compaired to what you have been working on, but maybe it will just really cement everything for Bug, Hope next week has either some new games or some bigger challenges for superstar Bug!

Sara said...

I wish someone was teaching this class around here. I'd love to take one.

Hope next week you get into some harder stuff.

Jenn said...

well if you are waiting to toss the treat for eye contact but still clicking the turn - then isn't the turn getting reinforced? Are you feeding after the click - or is that what the tossing the next cookie is for? Steeler and I play a variation of this game (the two cookie game) I tend to do it without a clicker - but it is the same principle.

I have been waffling about signing up for one of the cu classes - but Steeler - like Bug is probably beyond the first session and after talking to Leslie a bit I think that there are somethings that she does quite differently. :-) And I don't really have the $$ to shell out for a class that I am not going to get anything out of. Especially since I haven't been working on the basics lately at home. I really should be working on the whole relaxation thing with him right now while he is sacked out beside me.

hope next week is better! :-)

Jules said...

Hi Jenn - next toss of the cookie is feeding for the turn and click. Emma responded and said:

When training the whiplash turn, you are clicking for the turning of the head. However, after you get the quick turn of the head, it certainly doesn't hurt to click and treat for eye contact.

I think Sue must have been upping the ante for us and just wasn't clear that was what she was doing.

Jenn said...

ah - that makes sense ... clicking for eye contact after the whiplash turn is solid. :-)

andrea said...

it is frustrating to feel held back but I bet you'll find challenges as you work through the class
I would love to do a class with a dog I really enjoyed the book