Friday, September 10, 2010


Well, once again I am have to eat my words. Susan Garrett posted the webinar on the recallers blog ...when I listened in real time there were a lot of technical glitches -it was cutting on and off and the feed was freezing, it was really hard to watch, so I had missed a lot of what she talked about. Listening to the full thing with out all those glitches....some huge light bulbs went off and I have a new Plan of Action for my little Lizard. I think like people suggested..a lot of the concepts were things I have heard before but all of a sudden I felt like I GOT IT! How to apply it started to sink in. Maybe my frustration trying to figure out how to help Liz kept me from really listening the first time. I guess I have to reverse my first judgements and say the Distraction Webinar was really, really helpful.

A few stories SG shared and some of the HUGE strides Lizzie has made have left me feeling really hopefully about what Lizzie and I might eventually be able to accomplish. I was very, very sad after listening to the webinar and figuring out what I feel like I need to do...but then I felt really pretty good that we had a plan that seems to be working really well.

A few things from my new POA--Plan of Action:
**No more agility classes until I can get a handle on the running off, she is doing so much better but she still runs off at least once in every class. I think in her mind that is how we are at the agility yard. I feel like the running off behavior just has to not be practiced anymore, ever...I am taking her down to the yard and working on just a few obstacles and lots of crate games in that yard and making myself stop before she gets into the mode where she wants to go running. I can do sequences in my back yard and she never runs off-so we will be doing a lot more back yard agility, not as fun as classes, but, maybe a break and the work will mean we will be able to do a lot more agility in the future.

**introducing more distractions IN MY BACKYARD. Instead of having her good in the back yard and then going to new places, keeping her in the place she does well, and introducing distractions there. When we get to huge distractions in the back yard then start going other places.

**I am finding a way to involve myself in what Lizzie finds rewarding. Like she is obsessed with looking out the front window...I don't let her do that until she comes and does a hand touch or a sit and then I release her to stare out the window, we have been working on recalling away from the window, getting her to interact with me and releasing her back to her ultimate reward--the window. I have put her on a head halter and when we walk in the past she could care less if I was with her and treating her was not that rewarding because she was already getting as many rewards as she wanted from interacting with the smells, etc... I think that is fine for most dogs but it kept me from being able to reward Lizzie, with the head halter that is not allowed until I get some good behavior then I get to reward her with as much sniffing as she wants. The funny thing is that the more I do things like that the less she even seems to want to leave and go get those big rewards. A lot of times now I release her to go and stare out the window and she won't leave me, or I release her to go sniff and she just looks at me like she wants to keep playing with me.

**LOTS of crate games to work on impulse control, increasing drive and motivation and transfer value to recalls and agility objects. I want to transfer some of the crate games to chairs and mats.

**LOTS of Its Yer Choice games to build impulse control.

**LOTS of work on the games we did from the SG recall course to build value for me in Lizzie's little world ;-).

**LOTS of work on shaping, and letting her fail a little bit sometimes so she learns to handle stress and sees that is no big deal.

**Really monitoring and being careful that I do not use a lot of luring with training. SG talked a lot about how important it is to develop the dogs ability to make decisions to make decisions and then get a reward, if you lure you take away the dogs ability to make decisions.

So, a couple of days ago we had an assignment to go to several new places over a few days have a very light line on the dog's collar and their regular leash. We were to get the dog excited and then take the leash off the dog and just see what they did. If they ran off, just get them back and start over again. The light line was obviously there for safety. If the dog choose to stay with us, showing they valued staying with us and working with us then they got a big treat.

This game was in the category of TESTING THE VALUE. At Say Yes training SG says their philosophy is to BUILD THE VALUE,...THEN TEST THE VALUE. So this game was really a test to see how I am doing on building Lizzies value for me! These 'tests' can give you a lot of information about where you need to concentrate on more.

I took all the dogs to a Target and Staples at night fall a few days ago, then on a whim decided to do a real test with Lizzie yesterday afternoon at the entrance to Target at a busy time of day, followed by going to the park with lots of smells. I can not believe how good she did. She sort of started walking off one time and came right back, I never had to touch her light line. She relaxed enough to tug and play, with only the light line off and she still did not even think of leaving. I DID NO COMMANDS, LIKE CALLING LIZZIE OR USING THE LEASH TO KEEP HER WITH ME. How cool is that? ON the end of the tape I walked off and Liz just had her light line....she picked up her toy and came over to me. You know I do not know how far Lizzie will get, but for her to be able to do some tests like those distracting environments...boy I am sooo proud of her!


Ricky the Sheltie said...

OMG, Kathy! Fantastic job!! Look at Liz into tugging with you at Target and not going any where and at the park she picks up her toy and comes to you for a game! Wow! I am soooo impressed! All that work you have been doing is having such amazing results! You really just inspire me every day to work more and more with Ricky! Thanks for sharing all your training and congratulations again on doing such an awesome job with your dogs!

Diana said...

Very Impressive!!!!! Man you have been working hard. Diana

Sam said...

That's wonderful - and to think of all the times you've thought about just giving up on her, that she'll never be able to amount to anything - she proved you wrong! YOU proved yourself wrong! I'm so happy for you guys - Lizzie's future is so bright, and when she is successful, it must feel SO good for you!

Priscilla said...

Wow. That's amazing!
The plan sounds great and you have done such a wonderful job with your dogs. You have inspired all of us to work harder!

Sara said...

That is incredible. Congratulations on all your hard work paying off! I was amazed at how she didn't seem to notice anyone but you at Target.

Hey, Lizzie was able to play in front of the big brown truck!!!!!!! I'm so jealous :)

You've given me hope that if I continue working with Oreo, we too will make progress.

Dawn said...

Wow! I am so impressed! No way would Katie handle the front of a Target store like that! We need to get some more work done, that's for sure! You are inspiring!

AC said...

Wow wow wow!! I'm so impressed with your work! I also learned a lot from this post. Your work with Lizzie motivates me to keep trying and be creative with Kona. Thanks for the inspiration!

Sagira said...

Nothing better than when everything just kind of comes together and finally clicks.

GREAT JOB LIZ! I must say I am shocked your Target didn't say anything though. Ours is super duper mean about dogs anywhere near or in the store.

Kathy said...

We are STEALTH, we snuck into Target, hid right in plain site at the door and then got out of there before anyone could find a manager to complain, LOL!

Marie said...

Way to go Lizzie!

Morganne said...

Wow! a lot of information in this post. I think challenging dogs teach us so much more! Think of what a great trainer you have become working through Lizzie's issues.