Last night was our last CU class. We missed class last week due to Ike’s health issues.
This week we started class by doing some passive attention followed by practicing our Emergency Protocol. I practiced smooshing Bug up against a wall as my homework. I decided to go with this because in a confined space situation that has been what I have actually done in the past. I think I will train an alternate behavior for street walking. I am not sure what though. Having Bug go behind me would still allow him to see what is happening and could make him feel more secure. At the same time, asking him to do something like a very tight front could tone everything down because there wouldn’t be any eye contact between dogs.
S had set up obedience gating down the center of the room. We brought our dog toward the gating and then did their emergency behavior. Then we asked for it as we returned to where we were seated. The final time we practiced S had us start to walk out and then she said “Oops! You see breed X (insert breed that will trigger your dog). Quick! back to your space and do the emergency protocol.”
While the other dogs were practicing their Emergency Protocol S had us practice Look at That! S suggested I lengthen the amount of time Bug gets to “Look” before clicking and treating because he definitely understands the game and is on the lower end of his threshold.
Next we worked Gimme A Break. We counted out 10 treats and asked our dog for a behavior multiple times over a period of 5 seconds using all 10 treats to reward. At first I was flustered because no way could I get Bug to do multiple sits in 5 seconds. Then I realized I could use hand touches or whatever behavior I wanted. D’oh! After the 5 seconds were up we gave a dismissal cue, sat down and our dog took a break for up to a minute while we sat. At the end of break time – restart play/training. We kept it short and used a HIGH rate of reinforcement. If your dog reorients to you before break time is over (which Bug did consistently) you were to reward by starting training/play and high reinforcement again.
Then we did some Mat Racing. This week the mats were much further away from us and there was a dog and handler team on each side of the obedience gating. The first time you walked quickly with your dog to the mat and asked for a default behavior. The second time you ran to the mat and asked for a default behavior. I was so impressed with how snappy Bug’s down has gotten. I hope it translates to sheep!
We finished with the Campfire game. We stood in a circle, facing OUT not in, with our dogs in heel position. One at a time a handler and dog walked around the circle rewarding for attention. How close or far you were from the other dogs and handlers was dependent upon your comfort level. We did this a few times and then we reversed so that dogs and handlers were facing inward and a dog/handler team was walked around BEHIND the dogs. The only dog Bug seemed overtly interested in was the Golden. There is something about the sporting breed’s movement that gets him a bit more amped. This Golden is VERY happy, too.
That was it. I did speak to the instructor after class briefly and she was glad I had e-mailed, etc. Or at least she said she was. She didn’t treat me any differently in class which was a relief and is a testament to her professionalism. I picked up lots of little tricks and things to think about in this class, but I overall I don’t think it was the right class for me and Bug. Would it be the right class for me with a dog in a different place – sure.
6 days ago