We had a tough training session last night, working on tunnel/dog walk discrimination. It was very hard and quite a few of us struggled. Niamh was really good but Zeki just couldn't cope. She had done similar at Leah's last week with a lot of success so perhaps I was a little over confident. That said last night was up several degrees in difficulty. The pattern below shows some of the sequences we worked on. The black numbers were just some short drills getting the dogs to discriminate between the two tunnel entrances and the dog walk. The red numbers were the longer sequences we did.
Zeki was choosing the tunnel every time over the dog walk. Having thought about it afterwards that is most likely because I spent time in the garden yesterday working on the collapsible tunnel so she was probably very tunnel-focused by the time training arrived last night. On our last sequence we actually ran clear, this was the sequence #1 - #17 in solid red circles.
I think I mentioned in an earlier posting that she had run past the collapsible tunnel twice at the weekend. This is my fault as I haven't trained this obstacle enough. So yesterday we had our first session. I set up the tunnel with a cone about 10 yards away and just did about 20 repetitions sending Zeki out round her cone and into the tunnel. I had placed her food pot about 15 yards on from the tunnel and put a piece of food on the lid so that she got immediate reward. I clicked the moment she committed to the tunnel and then she would drive out to her pot. I will repeat this today on the other hand before I start to introduce movement from me. Right now I just want her doing it independently with lots of reward.
We put the collapsible tunnel out at club last night and even though it was slightly offset she went out to it and picked it up successfully each time. I rewarded the first attempt with food and then just marked each time she picked it up and let her carry on to the next obstacle which is a reward in itself to her these days. It used not to be but she is becoming much more driven and finding obstacles rewarding which is exactly how it should be. Now I am hoping to see the collapsible in her classes at the weekend. What's the betting there won't be any :o)
Then disaster struck! The naughty little sheltie was breaking her start line. Oh my god, I can't cope with that. When I say breaking, what I mean is that she was moving forwards; sometimes shuffling on her bottom still in a sit (very clever!) and other times getting up and moving towards the first obstacle. I really struggled to get her to stay put. So, another thing to train today. She is barking like crazy on the start line which I like as it shows that she is keen to get on with her job. Andy mentioned that she appeared to have gone up a gear last night and that the start line behaviour is associated with her stronger desire to get on with the exciting stuff. I think he is right and whilst I am delighted about her attitude I have to sort my start line. I cannot function without a reliable wait at the start. Those who know me well will feel my fear or alternatively they will laugh their heads off!
Last of all Zeki now has a new depodit box. In normal terms that is a new soft crate. This strange terminology is Bill's fault as she coined the phrase when Zeki was a puppy. We have always called the sheltie's soft crates their "pods". So one day when I popped Zeki into her pod Jackie fell around laughing (don't you just hate people who laugh at their own jokes) and said "Oh look, Zeki has been depodited", i.e. a take on deposited. Oh well I thought it was funny and we've stuck with it!
I bought Zeki a new pod for the car because she is rather noisy on the way to our walk. I also use this at training between her runs, again because she is rather noisy. It was a good size except a little low for her. So that small pod now belongs to little Itzy Bay. Karen had a nice pod for Todd (that rhymes) but thought it a little too small. Last night I took my slightly bigger pod for Zeki which is rather too big and Karen and I decided to swap. So now all the shelties are happily depodited in the appropriate pods. I am sure you will find this interesting which is why I shared it. I am in a strange mood today!