Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's okay to get it wrong.

I'm on another crazy streak. Paired with the threshold work I've been doing with Psyche, I'd like to start teaching her that it's okay to "fail".

Of course she never gets a "OH NO, bad bad dog. You did it wrong! Bad!" and she sure as heck never gets a "haha, loser, you did it wrong", but Psyche is a really soft dog and she really lacks confidence. So I got to reading and researching today and started thinking, well maybe if I teach her that failing is okay then she'll get a little more confident, and maybe that will help with her agility issues, and if not, well heck, it'll teach her lots of tricks.

So we're starting a Shaping Challenge. I haven't yet decided the rules of that shaping challenge for myself and Psyche, but we're going to start with doing some perch work... or at least try to.

I'll keep y'all updated on how it goes. This dog loves shaping, but I only ever do it when I want her to learn how to DO something... now I want her to learn how to accept when she didn't do it.

The after thoughts: So I started to work on some perch work with her and because I've done other work with a similar prop (we've worked on putting her face and paws on a "podium" and adding her "sad" trick on top of that) she was really struggling and I was too, so I decided to try something completely new. And I'll be honest, I had no idea what it was going to be when I decided to start working on it.

The "perch work" we tried was really good for her. Because I was asking for something new, and because she already had an idea of what she wanted to offer there were lots of times she'd try everything we'd already done on this similar prop and then just sit there and think "well, now what...?" and I just waited her out. It used to be that I would "start over" from there. If she came to a stand still I'd help her along a little bit. Today I just waited until she decided to try something new. I realized that before if she was 'failing' I was right away saying "oh, that's okay, let's try again!" Now I always knew my shaping had a little luring mixed in *tisk tisk* but I didn't realize how much until tonight. Wow. So I waited her out tonight. I just waited. And it was good for me, if nothing else.

I then moved her onto a new trick all together. She likes using her paws, so I decided we'd do a new "paw based" trick, I just didn't know what... so I waited until she offered something new that I liked and went from there then decided what I wanted. What I want: For her to raise both front feet off the ground and paw/beg at the air. So tonight to try and get to that I clicked pawing the air, then rewarded her high. By the end of it she was starting to get a little bounce in it so those were jackpots and we ended on that. I videoed it all and learned a few things already. One being that I need to keep my sessions shorter--holy clips! And I also witnessed again those moments where she shut down and stressed a bit (panting, looking around, sniffing the air) and then the moments where she "came back" and was back in the game...

Anything's worth a shot, right?

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