- Tika wouldn't play with me much at all, only with tremendous effort on my part and then only half-heartedly.
- Tika wouldn't stay in a sit for me to lead out to the start line
- When Nancy tried a sit-stay with her to demonstrate technique, Tika acted as if she'd never encountered the concept before.
- After an obstacle release, she'd run off after something and not come back immediately when I called her.
- When with me and I was trying to reward her or pay attention to Nancy or whatever, she'd immediately turn her head and go off in search of something interesting to do.
Freedom to do what?We did pass one test with flying colors. During the whole session, Nancy kept asking questions like, "Does she have a reliable sit at the start line?" And I'd provide answers like, "Uh, yes, well, kind of, well, usually, well, OK, I guess that means no it's not reliable, but it's pretty good except sometimes she stands up and takes a step forward." I was so glad when we got to "Does she understand her release word?" and I could comfortably and immediately say "Yes!" So I put her in a sit at my side and without moving or twitching or looking at her, I firmly said "OK!" and Tika immediately got up and moved off--towards Nancy, who had food in her hand. Nancy I think was somewhat amused that Tika understood so well that she knew when it was OK to go off scrounging.
However, of course, Rachel and Susan Garrett and others all point out that the release shouldn't necessarily be for the dog to leave you, just to release it from its current behavior, and for best results the dog should check in with you, even excitedly, to see what's going to happen next. Nancy didn't say that, but I was thinking it.
Anyway, we did take a look at her up contacts and a little on her down contacts, but spent most of our time on basics!
Who's my trainer? Nancy was concerned about taking me for a session (or more) because I guess she thinks of me as Rachel's student. Yes, we trained with Rachel from day 1 until she moved out of town. And Rachel could've helped me with these things, too, and would've if I'd asked. But Rachel's been gone 7 months now, I've been down to see her once for a session, and it's a 2-plus-hour trip each way. I just don't have that kind of time and energy in my routine.
And Nancy's a fine trainer, too. It's a weird thing because it's good to have continuity in your training--you don't want to confuse yourself or your dog by switching methods or strategies every month--but it's also good to have a fresh perspective, a different eye, the benefit of a different set of experiences and expertises. Rachel will always be my trainer. I'll always enjoy going down to see her and getting assistance. But Power Paws have never stopped being my trainers, either, at least in my eye.
The Training NotesHerewith my notes for the day:
(Note: Italic is text I added after sending confirmation email to Nancy.)
Up contacts (dogwalk only)
- putting a pipe, board, etc. on the dogwalk to force her to shorten her stride (currently she mostly adjusted stride to go over it, so try larger one like 4" speed bump or 4x4). We'll go for this pre-Nationals and then decide what to do longer-term afterwards.
(Eventually can paint it the color of the board to start fading it or make it less obvious)
- placing bar/etc. on ground in front of dogwalk to get her to change stride
- using plain board or clicker board & teach her to run across it
- Learn to have her leap/run onto down contact (for backchaining) and go straight to end of board instead of having her wait or stop on the board.
- Make sure I vary where I stand in relation to her during backchaining.
- Make sure she starts in different places during backchaining.
- Go back to ground board, get her blasting across that to 2on/2off.
Sit stay (and same for down)
Positioning on either side of me
Around the house
Notes after training plus regular class, following: Seems to me that Tika was already getting much better at her sit-stays and down-stays and attention on me, just after the small amount of work in Nancy's presence, her reminders and pointers on my technique, and more practice in my remaining hour of regular class.