We started with massage to make connection with our dogs. Then Kienan had us put our dogs in their crates and we played a shaping game with a human partner. One person in the trainer role tried to get the partner in the dog role to do something by clicking and treating when the person in the dog role did something that was a step toward doing what the trainer wanted. My partner clicked and treated until I stepped onto the teeter. Kienan wanted us to get the idea what shaping feels like from a dogs point of view.
Our first exercise with the dogs was to work toward shaping go to mat, lie down and stay on the mat until released. Those of us whose dogs already had this behavior worked on distance and giving the command while in different positions: standing on one foot, crouched on the ground,looking through our legs, facing backwards to our dogs, having them go to the mat when the mat was between us and the dog. At first Matilda seemed thrown by some of the weird positions, she just lay down on the grass right there. I moved closer to the mat and tried again. She got so she was doing very well. The idea is to make the go to mat a really strong connection.
Next we worked on whiplash head turns when we called our dogs. Kienan came around to each of our dogs and engaged them in play. Then we called our dogs. If they didn't immediately turn to look we could make noises, touch them but not call their name again. Eventually we should be able to call them from a "Zoomie" and have them focus right in on us.
Next Kienan talked about releasing our dogs from a crate, the car or out a door. We are to work on having our dogs leave the crate, car or go out the door and immediately focus back on us. We do this with our dogs on leash. When they do focus back we click and treat, click and treat, click and treat until we release them or ask them to do something else. We should work toward being able to release our dogs from their crates from another room in the house and have our dogs come to find us. When the dogs are in the crate they should be waiting calmly. If they're moving forward as we go to open the crate then we don't open the door.
Last Kienan introduced Doggie Zen. We are to hold a treat in our hand away from our face. As long as our dog sniffs, paws, licks at our hands we ignore her. As soon as she looks at us we click and reward her with a treat better than the one we had in our outstretched hand.
We have a lot to work on. As I began packing up, the dogs across the street began barking. Matilda began barking. I asked Kienan if she had advice about the barking. I told her Matilda often barks at agility when she's impatient for her turn and at home she will come running to me barking about something she has heard outside. Kienan had two suggestions. When she barks at agility I should turn my back on her, ignore her, and click and treat her when she is quiet. If I respond by giving her something to do such as leg weaves or touches, I am rewarding her. The other suggestion which I think would work best when she barks at noises or other dogs is to throw a handful of treats at her. I shouldn't look at her or mark it with a click. I should throw more at her when she finishes those. This interrupts the behavior until she becomes calm and will eventually break the barking response cycle. Throwing treats at her worked pretty well tonight. She calmed down and the barking stopped.