Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A little backyard agility fun!

We got to do some agility a week or so ago. We've been doing some since in the backyard (including our DW retraining), but no video. Just this vid from last week.

We had a big breakthrough just a few days before this vid. Gracie can now drive to a target after the weaves and doesn't need any 'babysitting.' Wow, this is huge for her!!!! It's taken a long time for her to be confident enough to get to this point and we are super proud of her. To get her to drive Mum was having to really stick with her in the weaves and cheer her on with good girls. But now, she's driving on her own. Mum is so happy!!!

Hoping to get a vid comparison of her weaves before targeting and after targeting this week sometime, and time the difference. Should be interesting! She sure doesn't need any fat burner, skinny girl, but Mum could, BOL!!!

For me we worked a little on tight turns and both Gracie and I got some work on rear crosses. I didn't need them so much, but Gracie sure did. And she did great! We think she is really starting to read Mum. Oh, and you can see Gracie doing a little heeling, she likes it, I don't :)

So here's the vid, enjoy!

6 comments:

Diana said...

Congrats to you both!!! Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Wow Johann - you and Gracie and your mum are looking great! Those are some awesome weave entries! Good job!

We have a question - if one throws a toy/treat container or uses a target to get the dog to drive through the weaves or over a board, how does that translate to the dog doing the obstacle fast and independently when the target isn't there or the object isn't thrown? Mom has been experimenting with throwing a treat container for me and I fly through the weaves or over the pseudo dogwalk board. She just can't imagine me doing it by myself.

Johann The Dog said...

Thanks Diana! Can you tell we're excited for Gracie BOL!!!

Hey Ricky! This is how we look at targeting. Kind of hard to explain, but....when you practice utilizing a target or throwing a toy as the reward, it becomes the way we learn the obstacle correctly (or the way our Mum wants us to do it). This can apply to sequences too.

They're motivators and if your dog likes toys or treats, then they will do stuff faster if they know a reward is coming after. And that's what my Mum wants me to do, be as fast as can be. With motivators, I learn the correct (fast) way to do the obstacle or sequence.

With us dogs stuff gets ingrained in us through repetition. If we do it right (in this case fast and accurate), we know we'll get the reward.

So we practice one obstacle with a target like these weaves to get them faster, then we build on that and add in other obstacles after and before, so it becomes a sequence.

Then that gets ingrained in us that we are doing it right.

So that when we get to a trial, we do the same things as what we have learned in practice - we just make sure that Mum gives me my treat after a run - which is in reality a really long sequence, right?

Here's a human example, not a very good one, but you'll get the idea.

Say I put $20 after the weaves. She would do the weaves lots faster because she wants the money and doesn't want anyone else to get it before she does. BOL!!!

Then I'd add in a jump after, with the money now after the jump. She'd do the weaves and the jump fast because she wants the money.

Then we add more obstacles before and after, and soon you've got a sequence. And she's running the whole thing fast because she'll get big money (jackpot) when she completes it fast! Make sense?

Soon a sequence becomes a full course.

It's worked really well for me and Gracie - we just take it a step (or obstacle or sequence) at a time.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Thanks for your answer to our question! We get what you're saying and it makes total sense, but mom's still a little skeptical about it all. She sure does like seeing how fast I go when she throws the treat container though!

Johann The Dog said...

You are welcome Ricky!! I remember the first time Mum used a target out from the weaves with me. I thought her eyes were gonna pop out of her head I went so fast, BOL!!!!

One side note: Mum was throwing a treat container with Gracie, but Gracie was still focusing too much on Mum in the weaves, and in sequencing. When Mum started placing the target, Gracie stopped eye balling Mum and focusing on her job. That's what really is so great about this!

I think that Stuart Mah (love him!!!) has an article on targeting in this last issue of Clean Run. May want to check it out.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

We did read the Clean Run article but we might have to reread it!