Friday, March 11, 2016

Advanced training, mystery medical problem

For the sake of my own health and trying to fix my sleep/wake cycle, I started a regimen of walking/hiking for 30 minutes right after I get up in the mornings. Of course I take Cai with me. My motivation for going out is quickly changing from "my health" to "Cai loves it." If it's raining in the morning, I now do 30 minutes of playtime and training with Cai instead.

This morning it is indeed raining, and we worked on some fun advanced training skills:
- Heeling while he's facing backwards. (This will be our Alternative Behavior in rally-free, as well as a great Free Choice behavior.)
- Turning 180 degrees to face away from me while in Center position. (The first part of the Advanced "Turn: Back Through" RF behavior.)
- Moving from Heel to Behind position on a verbal cue, and NOT confusing it with the backwards circle.
- Directed retrieve using those little rolled up Whole Foods bags that I always have on hand.
- Down from motion.

It was during this last one that I finally out the pieces together with a strange behavior that Cai sometimes does. For a long time now, he has occasionally yelped while jumping up from a lying position. This has never before happened during training, only when he was doing his own thing. So I could never tell whether he was feeling something funny, yelping, then getting up, or whether he was yelping as a consequence of getting up. Well today he did it twice as he got up from the down position on cue. And then he started offering playbows instead. And then I realized that our problem of Cai frequently offering a playbow instead of a down is likely not a cue discrimination problem, but a physical problem. Holy smokes.

He has a visit with a new chiropractor in two weeks, so in the meantime I won't be asking for any downs in training. I hope that this won't be a mystery problem that takes a long time to figure out...

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