THANKS SOOO MUCH TO EVERYONE for checking out my video from the Susan Garrett Recallers contest and supporting me. I was VERY honored to be selected as one of the final fifteen out of two hundred videos that were submitted. I did not make it to the top five videos who are the winners-they will win a free ecourse to the next project and some other mystery prizes, but I came in around eight or ninth video in vote numbers, so I am pretty proud of that. Everyone who entered did get a free recallers course so that is pretty cool. It has been a long time since I have won anything so it was a big ego boost to have been picked and the support I got really made me feel very happy!
As far as my training....
I have been working with Cricket on the running Aframe using Rachel Saunders method of running Aframe which utilizes a PVC box to help the dog learn how to go over the Aframe and still hit the yellow contact area. As with all good things, .....it was going so well, pretty much without a hitch and all of a sudden we just had a huge backslide. Cricket had the box on the Aframe and was consistently hitting the top of the box. I moved the box higher like the instructions say and she would still hit the top of the box, it was weird and I could not figure out what was going on.
Last week I was finally ready to buckle down and get busy working on the aframe again and by Friday I decided I had to really video and watch every practice session, I made up a flow sheet to try to account for every variable I could think of so I could try to figure out why our performance was not looking so hot after it had been going so well.
Sorry this is pretty boring, you can skip it-but I am into keeping records right now!!!
Here is what happened the last few days:
Thursday march 17: I took my aframe and took it apart so it was flat and positioned two jumps on the upside of the Aframe and put the box on the yellow contact zone. We got a 100% success rate on four tries, then the whole setup was just too unstable and the jumps were falling down, the box was bouncing around when Cricket was hitting the aframe before the box, so I had to abandon that plan ;-).
Friday March 18:I bought some more chain to lower the aframe, it is pretty low now, around 4 1/2 feet. 6 out of 7 tries were successful-two hits on the way down from the top, all four feet in the box and not touching the pvc with her feet. I have the pvc box about one slat above the contact zone, that gives us a second hit about a third the way down into the yellow, looking good! The one unsuccessful try was a two hit try but the first hit was the third slat down the Aframe and then one on the fourth slat and then leaping to the ground without hitting the contact zone. On that try I was positioned in front of the Aframe and moving.
Saturday March 19:We did grids on the ground and I could have SWORN we had a 100% success rate. I got the video inside and watched it in slow motion because I figured I could not take anything for granted.....well, 4 out of 7 tries Cricket nicked her back feet on the PVC box as she went out, What was that about. I had noticed over the past few days that there was a LOT of Cricket curling around to look at me or tracking the toy as I threw it.
Plan....look at another way to deliver the treat. I could beg my daughter to come out and throw the toy...I could place a toy in front on the ground which would mean I would have to use a non reward marker, and I really am concerned about dampening her enthusiasm esp if we end up with a lot of non rewardable tries....use the manners minder-although Cricket isn't wild about the MM so I think Iwould have to increase the value if I want to use that...hummmmm...
Sunday March 20Aframe was once again lowered as low as it goes. I decided to take out my movement while we figured this whole thing out....I got my daughter to throw the toy for me...I did not position myself too far forward. 6 out of 7 tries were successful. The first four times Cricket still was curling way back to look at me, but the last two tries she was looking back less and anticipating the toy being thrown in front of her.
1. practicing on the Aframe about 3 times a week
2. continue trying to have someone else throw the toy as a reward-maybe work on the manners minder to increase its value.
3. work grids and work a lot to the front of the box, work more handler movement for now
4. continue documenting all I can and video taping so that I can have a record and so that I can see what is going on!
5. just work on grids and the lowered Aframe until we can get a success rate greater then 80% on the grids with more movement on my part and with more handling around the grids-rear crosses, front crosses, push past, etc...
It was sort of bumming me out that things were falling apart and everything I was trying was not working so after a good week of really watching more closely...I think I am a lot more aware of what is going on, so hopefully....we are back on a good path ;-)