Tuesday, August 27, 2013

11 Months: Training - Days 164 & 165

Emma loves playing in the yard.
Mondays are always a recap day here.  I evaluated Emma to see if she remembered her break through from the week before and sure enough, she was happy to retrieve for me yet again.  I had dropped a small key fob card on the floor when I was talking on the phone and pointed to it as she stood before me.  She quickly scooped it up and handed it to me.  We hadn't yet started adding the final steps to her retrieve, which is to step up onto the foot boards of the wheelchair and hold the item until cued to release it - but she was getting better about not spinning in spot and worrying about giving up a prize.  This time there was no spin and she was prompt in putting it into my hand.  I was so pleased I told the person I was talking too and we both rejoiced in her progress.

We worked for a bit on Target to refresh it - since I have several targeting behaviors she needs to learn and Target will be her primary way of learning new tasks in the future.  She was so thrilled to play bop the hand she was running from hand to hand to get the click.  She was lit up and In The Game as we played.  We moved to targeting a post it note, which at first she was a bit worried about and she tried to check out on me, but I called her back and reassured her she was right and soon she was bopping the duct tape on the wall I was using as a target.  A moment later we were pushing cabinets closed with gusto.  She's spot on with her target behavior and I need to look at Level 3 Target and see where we are headed next.  I also need to take Level 2 Target into Home Depot and have her close a few cabinets there to generalize the idea.

Each day I spend time finding new things for Emma to pick up.  I decided to pull out my keys and have her work on them.  Metal has been her bugaboo when retrieving, though she'll take it in her mouth without issue.  I think it's the weight and sound of the metal that is the problem more than the feel.  My keys have a cloth fob on them and I had her target it, but each time she moved the keys or felt the weight she would shrink a bit.  We got to her taking the fob and handing them to me, but not picking them up from the floor.  That's fine - it's a good start.

I'll work on a spoon with her soon and see if we can get to picking up silverware and work back to the keys.  At this point, I am no longer training her to pick up and hand me things when I am standing - her job will be to work with a wheelchair bound person and thus I am training her to work with him and not a general idea of anyone.  I am now asking for behaviors as she holds the item in her mouth to increase her hold.  She can do a sit and a paws up into my lap now when holding an item she's comfortable with.  I have not introduced the wheelchair until I have a solid default paws up and patient wait for release cue.

Emma is well on her way with her primary task now and just needs to build more confidence and experience now that she's decided to join me in the retrieve game.

On Tuesday I worked Emma outside.  I took her outside of the fence while the other dogs were in the yard and worked on loose lead while walking with a person.  She did fantastic and we'll take it to the next level and go to a parking lot and work on calm leash behaviors.

We also did retrieve with distractions in a new location.  This video will tell you how that went!

As you can see, Emma's retrieve is 90% complete.  What an amazing jump in only a week!

Level 1
Zen Target Come Sit Down
Step Completed Completed Completed Completed Completed

Level 2
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step Completed Completed Completed Completed Completed
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 3 4 2 1 2
Jump Relax Handling Tricks Communication
Step 1 1 Completed Completed 1

Level 3
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 3 2 0 0 1
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Jump Relax Handling Retrieve Communication
Step 0 0 0 Completed 0

Level 4
Zen Come Retrieve Target Relax
Step 0 0 4 0 0
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Handling Communication

Step 0 0

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