Thursday, November 18, 2010

Table/Chute (Video)

I took Gilda to Agility Underground tonight so that she could work with her instructor, Jessica (Gilda loves Jessica!) Jessica and Dr. Randall (her other well-loved instructor) say that speedy dogs like Gilda are tough 'first agility' dogs especially for a novice handler. They are working with Gilda on her ability to read and follow body language and cues while I work to improve my handling skills so that I am giving her the clear direction that she needs. (she is advancing far faster than I am!)
Another added benefit is that with only Jessica and me in the building, Gilda is far better at staying focused on what the handler is asking her to do. Gilda's regular group class is good because it teaches her to focus and work while other dogs and people are working around her which is difficult for most young dogs and especially reactive dogs. Gilda does well in group class at this early point in her training although the distractions really slow the learning process.

Gilda is beginning to work on both the Chute obstacle and Sequencing. For the following Table/Chute video, Jessica first had Gilda run through an open Chute twice and a partially opened Chute twice. She then made sure that Gilda would reliably run through the closed Chute. She tossed a favorite tug-toy as Gilda was exiting the Chute to teach her to drive through the Chute with good speed.
In the video, Jessica transports Gilda to the start of the sequence using the tug-toy. Jessica then gives her a "Table" cue (an obstacle that she is very reliable with). This cue tells Gilda to jump onto the Table and quickly perform a Down skill. Initially, Gilda breaks her down cue prior to the release cue so Jessica repeats the verbal Table cue. Jessica releases Gilda from the table using Gilda's release cue, "OK" which is followed by a hand signal and verbal cue for the Chute (the obstacle she is now learning).
This technique of starting at the end of the sequence (the chute) and then adding the beginning of the sequence (the table) is called Backchaining. Notice that Jessica maintains eye contact and  keeps her shoulders pointing toward the obstacle so that Gilda clearly understands where to go.

{Jessica works with Gilda on her Chute skills}:

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