No we have not sudden conquered all of our self control behaviors...but I have stared in the face of my own temptation and came out successful on the other end.
I am teaching nervous, crazy Reyna to walk on a treadmill. Back in the day I would have just slapped a leash on her and expected her to get over it. But that was three years and a lot of learning ago. So knowing my tendency to want to "help" the learning along I have done all her training sessions without even a collar on to prevent me being able to make her get or stay on the treadmill...here is our timeline, some of these days were up to a week apart...
Day 1 - Clicking and rewarding any interaction with the stationary treadmill. Including frequent breaks away from the treadmill. Reyna was unimpressed.
Day 2 - Take two kinds of treats down and work the treadmill with Susan Garrets crate games in mind...interaction with treadmill equals chicken, take a break and do other stuff earn kibble, back to treadmill, earn chicken. This time she quickly shaped to running and jumping onto the stationary treadmill
Day 3 - Reiterate the awesomeness of the treadmill. This time she is standing on it and I turn it on 1/2mph...she wigs out...bad move. Back to stationary to rebuild confidence. Turn it on again, she bails but comes right back. We take a break and I decide to leave the treadmill running. I try and be very clear with criteria and because of all the chicken in the bank she gets up to walking one foot on the moving treadmill
Day 4 - We quickly get up to two feet walking on the moving treadmill, I try to lure her all the way on, no dice, too much pressure, she walks off. We take a break. I turn the treadmill back off and we spend some time getting on and off the stationary treadmill. Back to moving, she is confidently walking with two front feet and occasionally lifting a back foot. We call it a day.
Day 5 - This time we get up to three feet walking on the treadmill which sounds as weird as it looks. Now we are stuck. We take lots of breaks during each session and repeat the stationary exercise back and forth with consistent results. Stationary she jump right on, moving she settles right in to walking with three feet on one foot off.
Day 6 - She is now walking VERY confidently with those three feet, but she is stretching herself out to do it and I am worried she will hurt something. We stop after 5 reps and just sit and think
Day 7 - Still thinking...Okay She is comfortable jumping on the treadmill while stationary, so I will add a physical cue of a hip tap to ask her to jump on and then maybe I can use that to get her on the treadmill while moving. So we spend most of the session teaching me tapping her hip is cue to jump on the treadmill. No problems. Turn it on, give the cue and she leaps on!!! aannnnddd flops right off the back. Luckily she wasn't phased at all and soon becomes good at jumping on and falling off the back.
Day 8 - Time to think again...how do I teach her to WALK? I try luring as she jumps on, no luck. Hmmm, if she were just wearing a collar I could keep her from going off the back by physically holding the collar...and then I would have betrayed the whole point of this training. Okay now what...
Day 9 - Okay what if I teach her that my hand on her hind end means walk forward...so we spend a session shaping that and she catches on quickly.
Day 10 - reiterate the last lesson and then try to add the treadmill into the mix. Hop on hand on the rear, she sits, and then falls off the back. We go back to hand on the rear means walk forward for awhile then back to the treadmill...she sits again and then falls off the back. Call it a day.
Day 11 - Really focus on clicking those back feet for moving. We make quick progress, now she is running across the treadmill perpendicular to the belt and thinks that is AWESOME! *sigh*
Day 12 - Okay now I need her to stop bailing off the side. So I block it with a plastic tub thinking maybe she will get on and stay on....nope....now we are back to three feet walking on the treadmill.
Day 13 - Really thinking hard about that leash and collar at this point....how do I teach her to walk while she is on there....she can walk with three feet but as soon as that fourth foot gets up there she stands stock still and falls off the back.
Day 14 - Okay somebody HAS to have done this before...lo and behold a quick internet search pulls up this gem... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I25QXJLXHNg why did I not think to check online before??? The big piece we were missing was teaching her to run across the stationary treadmill.
Day 15 - Spend the session training running across the stationary treadmill. No problems, she loves it. Then I start the motor, nope. Go back to stationary for several reps, then start the motor (remember she is extremely comfortable around the treadmill at this point so I was comfortable raising the criteria in the same session) nope....okay stop and think for a second....put a pile of chicken on the floor at the front of the treadmill and let her get really excited about getting to it and the only way over is across the moving treadmill because I am on one side and the tub is on the other still. She thinks about it for a minute....and then goes!!!! I dump half the bowl of treats on the floor and throw a massive party. Party over, she looks at me, I look at the treadmill, and she runs across it again!!! and then again and again...she has it now! (I felt that because of all the foundation work she could handle the pressure of having the chicken on one side and her on the other, if she had shown any real stress I would have called it immediately and gone back to the stationary belt)
Day 16 - Now she thinks running across the moving treadmill is really cool...how do I make her stay on the treadmill? I tried clicking and treating as she got on but she would just run off the front past my treat hand and then turn around for the treat. I tried that with the treat in multiple locations and sizes of treats with the same result...run past then turn for the treat. What is something bigger that will really get her attention? her food bowl...can she walk and eat treats out of her bowl at once? probably not. So I spend some time away from the treadmill teaching her to walk and eat treats out of her bowl at the same time. Then back to the treadmill and.....SHE DID IT!!!! She walked on the treadmill while I held the food bowl in one hand and dropped treats into it with the other!!!!!! YAHOOOOOOOO We did it!!!!!!
The training may have gone much faster if I had watched the video beforehand, but I think it was also a good learning experience for me to have to try and come up with Reyna friendly solutions that would help her understand what I was looking for. I can't tell you what a huge success this is for both of us...for Reyna overcoming her fears and for me keeping Reyna's attitude always ahead of the results I was wanting and getting both in the end!!!!
We still have speed, duration etc to work on, but this had just been an awesome journey these last several weeks.
Thank you Reyna!