Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ending on a Good Note

One of the most important rules of Positive Reinforcement Dog Training is to be sure that your dog ends ALL training sessions (even 1 minute sessions) on a positive note. This rule is all the more important when dealing with a stressy or Reactive dog like Gilda.

The general rule of thumb to keep in mind is: If your dog (or yourself) isn't 'getting it', go back to something the dog knows well and performs consistently, have them perform it (even something as simple as a sit), treat (or click and treat) and end the session before either of you gets frustrated. This way, the dog ends with success.

Staying true to this Agility Underground principle, Gilda sure ended this session on a good note! She  had another great class during which she was focused, willing to work and had a wagging tail nearly the entire class! (the tail thing is HUGE for Gilda)

It had been quite awhile since Gilda had seen or attempted any type of Broad Jump so we started with the 'Happy Game' [See FAQ 6: What is the Happy Game? ] just calling her back and forth from either side of the jump.
{Broad Jump example}

After running around the jump twice, she quickly realized that the only way to get a tasty duck treat was to jump over it!

We Backchained a short sequence and ended up with: Jump, Jump, Tunnel (FC), Jump, Jump, Double Jump, Broad Jump.

Gilda really seems to be getting the idea that paying attention to me wins her the prize of running, jumping, climbing and tunneling.

With Gilda more focused and eager to follow, Linda & I are able to work more on Handling. We are learning that at this point, Gilda isn't confident in Sending very far away from me and that my cues need to be extremely clear or else she chooses follow me.

These are not bad issues to have at this stage of the game as I'd rather have her following me than stressing and running off any day! I am so proud of my Gilda...

[Somehow Linda & I both forgot to have her get on the Teeter to continue her desensitization program!]
{Gilda: "Cross Your Paws"}

{Pico: "Got it!"}

As for Pico... he continues to be both the smallest and most expensive dog We've ever had! After 2 beautiful sends through the Tunnel, he was off and running and then proceeded to disregard the new 'Potty Fee' rule by pooping on the Astroturf! He redeemed himself and managed to end on a good note by offering to Jump with lots of distractions around!

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