Sunday, August 15, 2010

Training challenges, recalls and rants

I was GOING to make some nice video on all the things we have worked on this week for our training challenge week #2, but I guess the most important part is that we did the challenge! Knowing there was a challenge involved helped when I wanted to be lazy and not follow through with my training plans, so THANKS FELLOW CHALLENGERS FOR HELPING KEEP ME ON TRACK!!!

So for our week two challenge:
we went to four new parks on four mornings to do our recall/foundation work in the morning. YIPPIE! Those sessions were on weekday mornings so it was pretty quiet then but they were new environments, with new smells, so I felt like they were an appropriate challenge for our stage of training.

The second thing we have been doing has been a giant pain....but in the interests of my training goals....and the training challenge, I went all four days to my daughters swim practice, which is held in an outdoor pool-I brought the dogs to work around the outside of the fence (dogs arent allowed inside). It was fantastic, lots of kids yelling, the swim team runs by doing laps-but they were on the other side of the fence so they were not too high a distraction, and best of all I had to be there anyway (although it would have been way easier to not bring the dogs and just sit and veg. out during the practice!) ;-).

It turned out to be a really nice environment because the park around the pool is pretty quiet, and the pool is pretty noisy so I can back as far away as I need and get a quieter area or move forward for more distractions. Two of the days they were watering with bubblers outside the pool area, so I was able to use that for a premack reward for Cricket who really wanted to play with those, sooooo....if she did her behaviors I asked for I was able to release her to a really fun real life reward. How cool is that?

Breeze can be weird with kids, and men, but she surprisingly she did fantastic at the pool. Cricket who loves kids did get more distracted with the runners, so it was a great chance to work through that, and Liz, well, surprisingly Liz was the superstar. It really is hard to even set up a situation where she fails......until you take the leash off...then she is still just as likely to zoom off, so she has not been getting that chance.

Ok, let me say I am really enjoying the SG ecourse and finding it soooo helpful. There is no magic and I would never have believe that adding in more practice on simple foundation type games and behaviors would make such a difference, and to tell you the truth most of the things making the biggest impact are things I really would have said we did not need because we had been there and done that a long time ago when my dogs were puppies. There is a lot of foundation games, a lot of relationship building and some great recall practice which all mixed up should lead to a good recall ;-). A lot of the lessons could be done if you worked through a lot of the games in the Crate Games, and the Ruff Love book and Susan's first foundations packet you would pretty much have what we have done in the course so far....and then you could sit and think about how to use the Premack principle in your training, but I guess I need structure and having a lesson posted every morning has sure made me good about going out and doing them and taking them seriously. I think if I just sat down with the books, I would skip a lot of the exercises I would sure consider beneath me and my dogs at this point, LOL, but whoo hooo we are actually getting a lot from them. The other big advantage of that is that I am learning Susan is a master of the mechanics of training and I have gotten a lot out of how she shows you exactly where to deliver a treat, how to stand, how often to reward, how to make it more fun, even on some very simple exercises it has made a huge difference in my finished behaviors.

The funny thing is that I had all those materials I probably needed sitting here in my room for years now. I rewatched Crate Games when I got ready to do this course and I was AMAZED at what all was in it, I had watched it when I got it and started to work on them, but like sooo many things I do I got to a certain point, figured good enough and got busy with something else. Watching it again I found so many neat things that I had not bothered to do, so no magic in the course but it is pretty neat for making people like me get it together and stick to it and actually train some things.

One of my biggest motivations for staying on track is that we were asked to write a little bit about what training you do everyday, a little record keeping, and if you do not practice a day then SG said she would like you to write something to the effect of On this day my commitment to my dog and my dogs recall was not where it should be so we did not practice. Thinking about doing that really does makes me stop and remember why I signed up to do the course. HOLY CRAP, I can not contaminate my notebook with things like that, so that has served as motivation to get my rear in gear and not skip any days with our work. I am a a good student and easily manipulated to do the right thing, LOL. I also have been terrified of getting behind when the lessons keep rolling in AFTER ALL WITH THREE DOGS it really is taking a pretty good chunk of time, and some behaviors build on each other so that has been another incentive to be a good student and trainer.

so I am about to enable comment moderation...which would be such a pity, because to me that just seems more unfriendly, but....ughghghgghgh, there is that site like a Japanese porn site that insists on posting comments. On my last post they had to comment THREE times, like one right after another. OK, I might be a little slow but I can not imagine that posting on my not so thrilling dog training blog would lead to a lot of Japanese porn traffic. So as anyone knows it is not that hard just takes a bit of time to go back and keep deleting them....but it is a pain. Seriously, are these computer generated or do they pay someone to sit and go back to a site to post their web address over and over, or do they sit and do that by themselves? If they do they are much more dedicated to that then I even am to my dog training and with the time I have put in this month, I am feeling pretty dedicated!


Sagira said...

Keep up the great training work! It isn't easy to challenge yourself in that way.

That sucks about the bad comments. Always a few bad apples ruin it for everyone.

Marie said...

Wow! Very impressive that you got out to new parks 4 times this week. You rock!

I love how you were able to use Premack with Cricket at the pool.

Isn't it funny how we usually do have the tools we need sitting around, but we either have overlooked some little detail that makes a big difference, or we just forget about how helpful the tool was to begin with and get sidetracked. I do that all the time!

Glad to hear the SG recall course is coming along so nicely.

Sara said...

Great job on your challenge & great idea. Public pools are just about the loudest place on earh, aren't they? I was a camp counselor, I know!

The course sounds great. Like how you have I work well with structure too, and I think that is why RP is going so well for us, since I have an outline for each day. I wish there was more training stuff laid out like that, where you have a lesson plan for each day...maybe that is the teacher in me coming out?

Diana said...

Wow, you are really doing alot. Good for you. I sometimes get weird blogger comments. They first have to approved by me and then I delete them. I just notice that now blogger has a button on comments. You can approve, delete or hit spam. Im hopeing that hitting spam will make them unable to comment again. will see. Diana

Diana said...

Oh yea, you may want to change your comments to "be approved by you" before they can post. That may control that porn site. Its worth a try. Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I'm super impressed that you got the dogs out to 4 new parks this week plus the work at the pool! Gosh, that's going above and beyond for the training challenge! Awesome job! Sounds like the dogs are really benefiting from it too. I am thankful for all of us working on the challenge too - it really helps to have good friends who are supportive motivators!

The SG course does sound great - we've never watched Crate Games and should get a copy and at least start there.

Mom had to switch our blog to comments approved by her because of the same thing - she didn't want to do it but those spammers wouldn't stop. Sorry it happened to you too!

Jules said...

Ugh - they are posting even with the word verification? YUCK!!

I am so glad to hear that the training challenges are going so well. Bug needs some serious attention to his recall!

Sam said...

We get that damn Japanese spam, too. I have comment moderation set up for posts that are older than three days old. So, if someone comments one of my older posts, I have to accept or reject it before it goes on to my blog. I seem to catch most of the spam that way.

Great job on the training challenge. I can't IMAGINE taking my dog to a pool, with people jumping all over and kids screaming, ahhhh. The notebook idea really is interesting, because I think I'd be the kind of person who wouldn't want to "contaminate" my notebook with personal failures, either! LOL