Monday, March 22, 2010

One More Step Towards Good Dog-dom!

I am so incredibly pleased with my Bella dog right now.

Yesterday at the barn was a terrific day!

I took a crate for her, a blanket, my clicker and lots of treats.. Oh! And a chair so I could sit and reward like crazy for good behaviour. I started with only the back, where I was sitting, un-covered. She could only see me, but she could hear the other dogs. She did well with that, so I un-covered a side again, so she could see me, and also the crates beside her, which the closest one had my other dogs, and the one beside that had 2 stranger dogs. She started to bark at them, but turned back to me instead. Click, treat!

I then took the other side off, so she still couldn't fully see the dogs, but she could hear them, she did well, so I moved my chair to the front of her crate and un-covered all sides.* She barked once, and when she did, I covered her again on all sides. She quickly (like, as soon as she realized she was covered) stopped her little fit, and calmed down, I waited a few more seconds then un-covered her again. From there she went to watching a Sheltie do a full jumpers course, to a Collie doing the same, and then to a Border Collie doing it as well. All with out any fits.

Of course, she was getting a boat load of treats, and I was practically shoving them down her throat, but still, she was behaving, and doing what I wanted (which was paying attention to me (offering eye contact) and not reacting at the other dogs), and so she got major rewards for that!

I was very pleased with my girl. Next week we'll do the same thing (in her crate) except for the fact that I will be adding more time between rewards, and asking for more - longer eye contact, some downs and sits, etc..

After that, depending on how she does next week, I may try opening the door some (with her leash attached to her, and a hold of her leash), and eventually move to just outside of her crate, to someday out of her crate.

Just a general update on how yesterday went. We're looking into agility classes in May, and I'm very excited because it feels like we're finally getting somewheres!

*This was all over the span of about 2 hours, and it's also her 3rd week working on the issue in this manner

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Working more on the motion!

Today I took Bella to the barn again. I'd told the lady that I was going to take a break from working with her dog, and just work on my own thing with our dogs.

So I packed her crate today, and a blanket too. Took lots of treats and prepared to basically spend the whole 2 hours there beside her crate with her. I covered all 4 sides of her crate, except for one corner, where I was sitting - this corner was facing away from any of the other dogs, into a wall. From there I just treated for looking at me, offering eye contact, downing and sitting (in her crate) and behaving. All went well.

When she was doing well like that, I took one side off of the crate so she could see out, asked the same thing, and then eventually a half of the side closest to the dogs working. Any time she barked or whined, the cover went back down.

This worked well, and I felt like I was able to better control how close she was getting to her threshold. We're going to keep doing this, hopefully, until she can sit in her crate with no covers on it at all. After that she'll get to go out while our dogs do agility, and after that, while another dog jogs past, moving it up to the strange dog doing agility.

While I'm building up to the final result, I will work more on keeping her attention on me for longer, and up my requirements. Psyche's taking a break from agility for the next 3 or 4 weeks, so I'll have more time while at the barn to be there with her -- when I wasn't there to treat her for behaving, mom was. She was constantly rewarded for behaving, and I even let her out to do a couple of tunnels - which she loves - while the other dogs were out.

I'm pleased with today's success. No videos, sorry, because she was just in her crate, really.