Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weave on!

Criteria for the session: Encourage the boyz to take a more independent approach to the weaves by seeking entries and driving to the exit.
Environment: 18 degrees, Sunny, very windy. Moved to the obedience yard.
Time: Sessions 1 and 2 at 12:30pm, Remaining sessions at 4:45pm...10 minutes to warm up but want them to still be eager to play.
Reminders: For me to BE QUIET... both in voice and body... Minimal to no cues.

After reviewing the videos from yesterday's sessions, several experienced sets of eyes raised the question as to whether the boyz are actually looking for, and driving to the weaves on their own.... Because when performed in the face of distractions, it can fall apart... To sum up, as one expert put it so well:

"It's like the dog starts saying, "MUST do weaves. MUST do weaves... let me at 'em!"... instead of, "HAVE TO do weaves. Oh, but look there is a butterfly...."

The consistent message is that the boyz need to have their weaves to the point where they can look for them, find them and drive through them as the introduction of distractions at a trial will throw them.

So we broke them right down yestererday... Right back to 2 poles. I even moved the session out of our regular agility yard to another spot which causes an unexpected variable that shows up more in Mick's sesssions :-).

I set up Bryce's first session with us positioned at the 12 o'clock position and ~8ft (2.4m). He's a bit confused about whether I'm out in that yard to throw the toy or to do the poles :-). He had no trouble finding the poles, but I did use a bit of body language to help him for the first throw. Not the second one, though.... ;-)

Bryce's second session... I stayed at 8-10 ft(2-3m)... I can see that I unintentionally confused him by swinging the toy around and making him think it was a retrieve, but otherwise, I think he's getting the weave entry on his own.

Bryce's third and fourth sessions... increased the distance a bit so I went back to start at 12 o'clock. We're now at 15+ feet. I moved position around the clock and maintained the same distance... We had a bit of a "Mexican standoff" but I held my ground :-). After one bobble, things go smoothly. For the last session, I'm our of camera range, but I remained statuesque in my response to Bryce's chatter ;-).

Now for Mick... The only guarantee when working with Mick is that I can expect the unexpected, unusally caused by his following something I've told him to do to a tee! He didn't fail me in his first session with 2 pole entries :-).

This is the yard I use to practice obedience with the boyz... So when I release Mick ("OK") he waits for me to move and then joins me in heel position... I was very compliant with his plan and kept my body straight and even stepped with deliberation into my heel position for him :-). I thought it might be the "flippin' Frisbee" so I changed up the toys, but then it dawned on me that he was totally set up for obedience!

I used a bit of body language to get him going too...

Mick's second session... I tried to remember to use a more animated posture, and then drew him back a couple times to play and get him going... I also switched ends after a break to keep him from getting stuck.

For the last session fo the day with Mick, I wanted to really get him going before we started (you can see it doesn't take much:-)... I kept moving closer but then realized I needed to break completely so that he didn't think I was setting up for obedience :-).

Thank to all the support and suggestions! We're listening :-). I can feel the "click" when I get it right, and appreciate the prod when I get off the path.

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