Monday, May 28, 2012

Update and a video...

I have been so busy with work and family I haven't had much time to work with Reyna...we still have not even begun NL3. In what little time I do have I have been trying to get Reyna out for walks and keep her energy levels down. We have been doing well on that front lately, getting in a 2-3 mile walk most evenings.

She is doing fine with walking and even occasionally passing other dog/handlers along the way without issues. We have three doggy friends in the neighborhood now, Sam a nine month old GSD, Lily a 4 year old Bichon/Maltese and Charlie a two year old Pointer. So three very different sizes, shapes, and ages and Reyna does very well with all of them. She can even walk with Lily or Sam, which has been very freeing. Even 6 months ago her leash frustration was so bad that if she was going to be close to another dog she HAD to be off leash or she would flip her lid. Now she can walk side by side with Lily or Sam and even have one person walk both her and another dog without a problem.

I have also noticed that Reyna has started defaulting to avoidance instead of reacting when she is uncomfortable. If I am walking her with the stroller (which I almost always am) and another dog runs out, barks, leaves their yard to follow us, Reyna will actually switch to the other side of stroller all on her own. I have been cueing this behavior for a long time (dog runs out barking - I make a gap between myself and the stroller and cue "other side" and she will duck between the gap to the other side putting the stroller between herself and the trigger) but now she has started to offer it at times when she would have reacted before!!!

Proof that even during training breaks learning still happens :)

For her agility training I have just been piddling around with it on the weekends, but she is still doing well. The 2x2 weave poles I made have been great, but as Reyna gets more confident I need to stake them down because they shift easily when she bumps them and they require constant resetting (as you'll see in the video).

We are up to 6 straight poles, just solidifying entries from all points on the arch and starting to introduce new locations...the left side of the back yard instead of the right, going towards the house instead of away, and even the front yard!! GASP!!! 

If I have time next week I may even take the poles to the park and start over out there to see how she does. The poles have really worked well for me, especially for $19 for the whole set. I think my next purchase will be twelve stakes with a spacing ribbon, since it will take up a lot less space than an actual twelve pole set, or even a 6 pole set on a base.

Reyna is also jumping full height now, she has only been there for a couple days, so you will see her clip the jump a couple times, but no bars down and no tail thwapping the stanchions!

I'm not really sure where to go from here with the jumping...I guess it's time to actually purchase the Developing Jumping Skills book...I think we've gone as far as we can on our own without risk of messing her up.

So here it is in all it's unedited glory...

That's all for of these I will get back to work on our levels...don't want any backsliding that's for sure!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

NL2 Pass!!!

Well we did it! Reyna has officially passed level 2 of Sue Ailsby's Steps to Success! I can hardly believe it, and the change that Reyna has gone through is remarkable! She default relaxes when I come home from work...she now sees my truck pulling in as a cue to relax and won't get up until I release her!

The other incredible thing is that I don't get angry or frustrated with her during training sessions...if she is having trouble I don't drill it anymore, I was soooo bad about that. Now I just make it way easier and remind-reteach-rethink I am gradually learning to treat everything like a game of chutes and ladders.

Lessons learned...
- Never say never...Reyna wil NEVER learn to relax on cue
- Never say can't...she just CAN'T sit on the wood floor without sliding her feet
- Train the dog who shows up...just because I trained her to do xxx doesn't always mean the dog she is in this exact moment can perform xxx
- Do not hold on to the past except to enjoy it and learn from it
- Chute back to the start after the second missed attempt it saves so much time in the end.
- Pre-brief...Be brief...De-brief
- Play!!!!

I love these levels!