Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Agility class 1.4

Class went so well this week! We worked way off on the other side of the room during circle work, and it was a completely different experience for both Chimera and me. I was relaxed. He did beautiful heeling and I was able to give lots of reinforcement for attention. In fact he got more distracted by the equipment we were passing than by the dogs, until I moved a bit closer. When he got distracted by the equipment, I would pull him away from the distraction and reset him. With the dogs, I'd let him look for a moment but was able to call him back to work. I also was more careful this time to keep the work sessions very short. During rest, I'd sit on the floor with him and he mostly watched what was going on from my lap. I checked in with the instructor and told her that we'll continue working at a distance and slowly move closer to the other dogs, and she was supportive.

There was one section of the floor where someone must have been dropping treats, because he started sniffing madly. I was surprised to realize that I have literally never had a problem with Cai getting distracted by the floor until now. Previously he'd spent all his time either focused up at me or staring at other dogs or people. I tried gently inserting my foot under his nose to interrupt him, but he started stress-sniffing my pant leg. I mentally flailed for a moment, and then literally thought: "what would Denise Fenzi suggest in this situation?" I thought that she would try to make the sniffing as least reinforcing as possible, while making the work interesting and rewarding. So I shortened his leash until he couldn't move farther along the floor, waited until he lifted his head, and then did a little heeling turn and rewarded it. We had to repeat this a few more times. He did lose interest in sniffing those same spots again, but I don't know whether it will work long term. I should ask Denise what she really would do...

He's doing well on his stand stay once he's in the stand, but I still have trouble getting him to not sit. Cuing problem.

Worked on collar grab and driving to a toy. He tugged hard on his bunny toy. Yay!!

After class he saw the giant shepherd exiting the building and heading toward the potty spot where we were, and he didn't react! Yay again!!

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