It’s funny you know, with Lu, how much I’m learning all the time about her, about training, about myself.
For example, today I realised that it’s ok if she doesn’t ‘get’ turns straight away- she’s a dog for whom it takes 4-6 sessions to ‘get’ an idea. Full height dogwalk took about 8-10 sessions before she was consistently running and not leaping. Being keen for food games probably took 3-4 sessions. But sometimes I forget this, and when I find a solution to a problem that makes perfect sense in my mind (like putting poles/a stick at the end of the dogwalk to remind her to run all the way down), I can’t sort of reason why it doesn’t make the same perfect sense for her, too, and then just magically work every time from then on.
We had a great session tonight. We did right up to 90 degree turns, and ended up having a twig on one side of the walk (see picture). I also had some great discrimination opportunities there too with a tunnel to the side, straight ahead, and a jump off to the side. Of course, being Lu, like she cares about a tunnel unless really blatantly cued. In fact, sometimes I’d celebrate her good hit on the dogwalk and have to run her right to the mouth of the tunnel before she’d go in because she was wondering if she could get her reward right away. But it was good to do that kind of discrimination, it was good to do turns. It’s good to be able to no-reward some attempts, and jackpot others. I think, actually, that the clear distinction between ‘yes’ and ‘not really’ is super important for her learning. But she certainly wasn’t hitting 100% of the time, or even close to 80% probably, but she’s learning – and in another 2, 3 or 4 sessions, I think she’ll be hitting much more consistently and I can remove the stick. I also hope that with more confidence and experience doing turns that she won’t feel the need to shorten her stride like she seemed to be doing tonight. I think she’s thinking so hard about having to go all the way down that it’s altering how she was running, too.
I was talking to Penny tonight, and certainly something I’m planning to do from the very early stages with Loki is introduce soft turns and discriminations. Given that Lu wouldn’t ever drive to a static toy and that I really just needed to get her RUNNING, that was my main focus. I have a feeling they won’t be major concerns with Loki, so I can focus on turns and discriminations earlier on.
Such different dogs.
So much learning.
& note to self: if she doesn’t ‘get it’ in session 1, this is normal. NORMAL.