Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our new made up training game for contacts

Check out how Cherry has to really position herself on the board, definately no way to get all four feet on it and not be in the proper position for her, she is a longer dog then the other girls.

We found a new game yesterday to play with all the border girls at the same time. We have ALL been working really hard at the contacts, going out a few minutes each day a few times a day and just rewarding for the end behavior on the dog walk. This has been a lot harder then the first time I trained the contacts because this is a retrain and gosh my dogs learned the first four on the floor REALLY well. I thought the retraining to a 2020 would be easy, but was I wrong.

The first step is really making this little short plank really rewarding. I shaped the girls to get all four feet on the plank, then to down with their body all tucked on the board, their front feet hanging off the front and then looking down. I am really trying to not skip steps and really work each step this time.

So it was hot outside, I had all the girls in and they were staring at me wanting to do some tricks, so I put all the girls in a down lying pretty much side by side. I put out the board for Lizzie first and let her try to pop on the board. Well, she really knows the behavior the best but sometimes farts around awhile before she gets serious and really tries to get on the board correctly, so I decided I wanted to experiment and see if she could handle the frustration of having to get it right the first time. So when she popped on the board sideways I just released her and let her go back to the down position, her turn over. So next I popped the board next to Breeze and she is not as solid on the behavior so I let her pop on the board which she basically did well except for her elbows dangling off the side, so I shaped that and highly rewarded when she was in the right position. Then it was Cherry's turn-and Cherry is not a retrain and has gotten this down really well, so within a few tries she was on the board and really well positioned. So then it was Liz turn again and again she popped on the side and so I released her and we went through the line for the other girls turns. It was so funny because the dogs were just so into the whole game and the next time around boy everyone had the idea that they had better grab their time on the board or it would go away.

It was funny because it was great training and the dogs all seem to think that board is one of the funnest things on earth and I have been working on teaching the dogs to have a little self control while the other dogs are working so it was really a great exercise for that too.

Another great thing about the plank work is Cherry is really getting some good rear end awareness, I can see her moving her back feet separately without looking and reaching for the board, so that is a great thing for her.
Next step is strengthening the behavior no matter how I am positioned, then I have a longer plank and plan to transfer this game to the longer plank and including driving to the end and then back chaining the dog walk and Aframe. Moving right along with the contacts!

today is my favorite day of the week, the day I shop the fridge for treats, pack all our crap and head out to class, YIPPIE! We have a really fun and challenging course to work on. Breeze just keeps getting better every week so that makes it a lot of fun and we have a full three days of trialing this weekend, so after tonight....we will be ready!

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