Canine Freestyle Winter 09 – Class 5

Training Notes:

Another awesome class! This class is a total pick me up for us as instructors – Thanks Everybody!

The dogs are pretty much raring to go when they get into class, handlers are doing a good job of maintaining a connection as they enter the studio to fight the draw of the awesomeness of Canine Freestyle Class! Handlers could do a bit of a better job capturing the initial reorientation and release as the dogs get inside, but it’s just a matter of a few seconds improvement in settling.

We decided to let each team work on whatever they wanted in this session and to have 2 floor sessions instead of one. Good decision!

Team Onyx
Team Onyx stayed on track again tonight, not much interest from Onyx in the other dogs or the studio environment.

The left/right foot touch is not really understood at the conceptual level. It’s pretty much pattern trained. It was an interesting thought exercise trying to figure out Onyx’s understanding of the behavior as his handler started to generalize position on the cue. Onyx offers Right Paw on the bend of the left knee when the handler is facing the dog, but as the handler turns away from the dog, what’s the cue? Does Onyx believe it’s left knee to right leg or Same Leg as Knee… Interesting conversation.

Remember to generalize the position more subtly. Moving from facing the dog to 90 degrees is too different a picture for Onyx to process correctly – he’s just guessing and he’s got a 50/50 chance of getting it right. It’s very easy to just get paw offered willy nilly to get reinforcement. So generalize handler position in 10 degree increments.

We’ve also got to transition from LuringLuring is a technique in which the handler entices a dog to follow and pursue a primary motivator for position and movement. Luring is a technique that requires handler leadership. You must lead when luring. If you try to help or follow the dog while luring it just doesn’t work. The dog follows the lure because it is being taken... to Targeting. This should be easy due to Onyx’s PVybe Foundation.

Remind me to talk about eye contactUnsolicited eye contact or Attention is a great way to hook up with a dog. If you have something the dog wants he should give eye contact in order to get access to it. This quickly becomes akin to asking permission for things that the dog wants. If your dog offers Attention when they see something they want, most dog... as separation for better understanding.

Floor time was AWESOME with Team Onyx. Much better performance than we’ve had before. Be sure to check out the video!

Team Ransom
Team Ransom had a great session as well. Not as awesome a floor session as his handler would want, I’m sure but working with a little dog can be hard. They tend to disappear out there on the floor sometimes…

Remember that Luring and hand cues need to be achievable and exciting. The achievable part is totally there, in spades, but the exciting part is a bit lacking. Luring is like fishing – set the hook.

The pressure of the target stick was interesting. Remember to set it in the direction you want the dog to go and then pull it away from the dog. It was being set on the dog’s nose, not unlike a decently set lure, but it’s not the same process. Ransom knows a ton about the target stick. Set it where you want him to go and he’ll be there.

The Target Stick is a great tool for working freestyle with a little dog and will be extremely helpful in directing him to where you want him to go.

Remember to lower your criteria to solidify the concept you’re after.

Backing up is pretty awesome!

See Team Onyx’s Alternating Paw above ^.

Team Emma
Great learning session Team Emma! Settling was quick and efficient. Your alternating paw is really coming along and the backing up is solid – like the little bow out there at the end of that…

The wheels fell off a bit as we released the hound from her lead and took the floor – too much freedom… You handled the escape attempts quite well keeping her on the floor the first couple times, and you really handled her successful  escape attempt extremely well. Removing her from the environment when she totally lost her cool was the perfect move.

Remember to use eye contact to keep Emma engaged and to reward for position. Also, don’t forget to jackpot reorientation from a serious distraction.

Be sure to heed the advice on Team Onyx’s alternating paw as you begin to build some distance on that behavior.

Team Irie
Awesome Job Aye-Aye!

Sorry about the rush on the music. Nice attempt at hooking up through attention on your rushed start, but just not enough. In the future, request a restart of your music if you’re pushed into starting too early.

You guys really settled in to the jam session after the rough start.

You might want to take the floor with dismissal with Irie. Try to send him away when you take the floor and wait for him to peter out in his scavenger hunt. TakeA Take is a cued Bite that replicates the placement and timing of a throw. Usually used with overs, vaults, and flips, the Take is a powerful teaching tool for creating habitual leaping and commitment to flying targets. Takes allow the handler great latitude in placing discs. Just pop it out there sharply and hold it; it’s easy to place... control over that behavior, put it on cue and get it out of the way before you start. He’ll learn that it’s a pain to have to go look for cookies when his mom has them right there.

Team Kaia was again MIA… Cry

NextNext is an important feature in a fast paced game. Everything hinges upon Next. If you like the game, then Next is important to you. When a dog loves to play disc Next, the next trick, opportunity, or movement, is  a great motivator. Next can be a Cookie. Next can be offered consequently, as positive reinforcement for good behavior, and... week is the last session of class. Bring people cookies and Beer!!!