Saturday, June 28, 2008

LIZZIE is finally getting me on her page-we are working together!

OK, for a real training post!!! My wild Miss Lizzie the Lizard is growing up. We have been doing something I thought was almost impossible until now,....making HUGE PROGRESS!!! My instructor, who is the best in the world, if I haven't already mentioned that....suggested more clicker training things that can be done away from me. This is to get her more used to A. getting treats from places other then my hand, and B. getting her used to knowing it is ok to work away from me and still be connected. WELL, I was Miss Skeptical because I have done tons and tons of clicker training with Lizzie her whole life. I guess that is why we have mentors and teachers and friends to help us figure out training issues because I had not realized that with all Lizzies overstimulation issues and attention issues I had just done what everyone kept saying and I was doing almost all my work aimed at getting Lizzie to look at me and stay right with me. I am now aware I have major anxiety issues over her not being right with me. So...I started doing some shaping with Lizzie on the exercise disc and imagine my suprise when she was just having a heck of a time going to do anything without me being right there. Guess I have done a good job lately in getting her to just tune into me. I think the problem came when I need her to do some things where she cant just sit and stare at me. I dont think she knows it is OK for her to do her work and stay with me and that we can still be connected and working together if she is a few feet away. She starts stressing when I am not right with her delivering the treat, which of course has to add to her overstimulation issues. So I think this new work that we are doing is really going to help us. I had to really go back to square one even though she had the basics of getting on the exercise disc, when I started working with throwing the reward by the disc, I had to go back and shape from just turning to look at the disc and of course progress to going to the disc, then touching the disc with her nose, and then putting her front feet on, then some back legs on, then finally we will try to get all four legs in the next day or two..... Of course she is a real smarties and very operant so it is going very quickly. Suprised me though that we had to go back to square one. Guess we will be doing a lot more clicker training and working with things where she can be rewarded away from me and where she needs to work away from me but still be connected. We did a lot of that when she was a small puppy, but guess I had stopped doing it lately in favor of working on attention.
On the other fronts, ooooh man I am scared to say this, much less put it in print....but, it has been a few weeks since Lizzie has not come when I have called. Let me tell you this girl has been the biggest challenge to me, and I have never trained a dog anything like her. This dog has been through four recall classes and knows how to come, but she just gets so overstimulated by things that I truly dont think she is capable of coming in certain situations. But lately, she is just so terrific and is actually acting like a normal border collie, she usually just sits and looks like she is waiting for me to tell her what game we are playing, it is just amazing. She is a really good Lizard lately. ANYWAY, I have backed up so I am not putting her in situations where she is doomed to fail, so I have taken down the distraction level a WHOLE LOT, and I plan on working with Liz and getting behaviors really strong and cemented before I start adding in distractions. I think in her previous training I was adding in too many things at a time. I should know better. Right now my theory with working with her is to get her so used to the correct choices and responses in places she feels comfortable, and is able to be very successful then progress to situations where she has more choices.
So this is ANOTHER dog that we will just have to wait and see. I think someone feels like they had to give me a few lessons in patience, I hate just having to wait and see how things turn out, but what choice do I have right now?? I had got to the point where I just figured Lizzie would do really well at on leash things and she is truly the love of my life but I thought I would never be able to trust her in a agility ring, or anywhere off leash. So, again afraid to hope, but she just might really suprise me. Leapin' Lizzie Lizard is a little past 2 yrs old now, so maybe maturity is finally hitting. I really dont think my training has changed that much but all of a sudden it seems to be sticking more, so I just wonder if her age is just finally catching up with her so she can start using her brain??? Anyway, trying to really sharpen up on my training and trying to seize the opportunities she is giving me when she seems ready to get what I am asking for.
Lizzie is also starting on some one jump work ala Linda M's jump training. So more on that as we progress.

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