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this place is for the birds

Control Unleashed

Control Unleashed

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Second Class

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.

  • what kind of people treats did you get? mink hat? diamond bracelet? oatmeal cookie?

    we could certainly use the crate and mat games...

    As usual, Matilda sounds like she's a star!

    • Loose diamonds work best. They're the right size for a treat bag. In another exercise she had us see how many clicks and treats we could deliver to our partner in 30 seconds.

      Don't you think you could try turning your back on Stella and throwing treats at her when she comes to you barking . Kienan said its best if they even land on her. It's more startling and interrupting. Obviously you don't want to use very messy treats to throw in the house

  • was the whiplash rewarded with a click and treat
  • also... for the treat storm, which is a really interesting idea, you just have lots of easy access treats on you at all times at home? ...and how is this NOT rewarding her barking though? and does this work in other instances... like outside on the leash?
    • You aren't marking the behavior with a click or a yes. You aren't looking at her. It's a calming interrupter.
    • Treats

      Yes, you would have to carry treats with you all the time to be ready for the barking. Some small, non-greasy treats.
    • Yes, this would work outside. We were outside at the class when she barked at the barking dogs in the yard across the street. She almost always barks back at those dogs when we first arrive at agility.
  • Tell Kienan that Dawn and Whisper say hello! Enjoy your class.
  • when shaping to the mat... that standing on one leg etc... are you giving a command? or are you just waiting for her to offer the mat?
    and when she goes to the mat are you clicking/treating or just food rewarding?
    • Originally, you are shaping going to the mat, clicking and rewarding as your dog gets closer and closer to doing what you want. At first you would reward standing or sitting on the mat, later you would only reward lying down on the mat. You keep refining the criteria for what you reward. Eventually you reward the dog going to the mat and lying down with his whole body on the mat. When the dog is going to the mat and lying down, you can name it, "bed" or "mat" which means go to your mat and lie down and stay there until I ask you to do something else.
      • no no no, we've got the mat... she loves going to the mat from anyway, its hard to get her off the mat... I meant, when you are doing all your crazy positions, one leg and so on... are you saying: go to the mat then? and are you clicking still at that point? or just treating?
        • Yes, you say "Mat" and click and treat. You might be far away when you sent her to the mat. The click marks the behavior before she gets the treat.
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