Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nosework news and other stuff

Well I was really hoping everybody else was slacking off on their 1,000 treat challenge so I would feel better about having only trained a few sessions, but nooooo Eileen has to be out there making progress...fine....I'll get back to work

Reyna is doing well in the very few sessions we have had. We have a college student working with us now so she is going to help with some of those comeafters in the levels we had to skip because we didn't have anybody to work with her. I'm really excited about it. 

On her CGC stuff we have been practicing a lot of self control like crate games, and also spacing out reinforcement more as well as working basic behaviors in more distracting situations like around the feral cat feeding stations. I need to start translating her crate games into mat work games to improve her understanding. Even though its not directly a CGC requirement, the skills she is learning in crate games is really helping. When we went to the campus today three people stopped and petted her and she held her sit cold each time! 

We are exercising a lot more these days. Having Sam here really showed me how much better Reyna does when she gets a 2-4 mile walk each day, I do great for a little while and then slack off again and forget how important it is to her baseline behavior. 

Along the same lines as crate games helping her CGC stuff, we have not been training Nosework specifically,because she knows how to find birch. What she can't do is walk on weird surfaces like decks, stages, bridges to find birch...way too stressful (btw- she grew up running around on decks and bridges so I don't know where or why this fear cropped up). So we have been taking the time we would normally spend on hides, to find every bridge, stage, or deck possible. I did not want the fear linked with Nosework at all, so just like when she was afraid of boxes and I played fetch with her ball near, around, and eventually in, a pile of boxes, this time we are just going for walks and "oh lookie there, a deck how cool, let's check it out....oh wow where did all these treats come from, they are EVERYWHERE! Okay let's go now." I kept that up and then having Sam here really helped her make some big leaps in her confidence levels.

Yesterday I took her to Home Depot with some hamburger, left her in the car and hid treat pieces in the sheds. Some very close to the doors some all the way in the back. Then I got her out of the car just on her regular collar and we walked down the row of sheds when we came across a shed with treats in she would find it, eat it, and then I would put her back in the car just like in a search environment. Then I'd get her back out and we'd walk down the line again. I never gave her a cue, or encouraged her to go into the sheds. At first she was a little hesitant, but by the end she was practically dragging me over to the sheds.

All these forces combined until tonight....drumroll please....Reyna searched for birch confidently on a low outdoor stage she has never been to before!!! AMAZING!!!! I am beyond proud of her, and I am so glad I didn't push anything! We will continue to work on her confidence outside of Nosework and just throw some hides out from time to time to keep her nose sharp, but I just cannot tell you the joy I had in watching her search that stage...if we don't title in march I have already won. Just like the CGC "failure", this is a benchmark of where she is and how far she has come! 

Coming soon I promise....videos of Reyna and Sam. 

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