Jul 11, 2010

Finishes, and Heel position in general

So this morning we worked on  finishes and heel position in general for Potion's breakfast. She got quite annoyed at me at one point (this is our first time shaping something relative to me vs another object or just herself) and barked at me - she was about as unimpressed with my reaction as I was to being barked at. ;)

My main goal for the breakfast session was to get her to realize the behavior I want may be in relation to me, rather than teaching competition-quality any of the above in a single session. In the beginning I had to move a little bit in order to get her to move around and would c/t anything remotely close to my left side. The criteria got gradually more specific until I was requiring she be facing the same way as me and fairly close to me. What I found quite interesting is because of the treat delivery (in this session I tended to toss treats away in front of me to reset for another attempt) she began offering both finishes on her return to heel position. She had a slight favoritism towards the around finish over the swing finish but I rewarded either. The favoritism may be based on my response - the around finish is easier to get a nice response so probably got small jackpots more frequently than the swing finishes where I was weighing if it was good enough to c/t that.

As you may have noticed, I don't necessarily work on a single behavior straight through in consecutive sessions - I'll probably do the stand / down again for dinner tonight but prefer to change things up. I've yet to see a reason not to in the training sessions thus far (both with Potion and other dogs) so may as well. ;) I find myself more prone to getting frustrated (and/or raise criteria too quickly from session to session) if I do multiple sessions in a row on the same behavior. Easier to have more realistic expectations when "we haven't worked on it in a while." :)

Going to be quite scarce for the next few days - a friend of mine and I (Angie of Humble Schnauzers and a Sam) are going to NC to pick up her new Samoyed puppy from Brandy (of Agility Laughs). He's making his trek from his breeder, Donna of Wintersong Samoyeds, to Brandy's in NC where we'll pick him up on Monday. Lots of pictures to follow of this handsome boy I'm sure!

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