Last few day we have concentrated our work on obedience with Freya. I have finally taken on project of making her keep her head down while on staying task. This has been taught with shaping. I first rewarded a head down movement and then I started to wait for longer time that she kept her head down. During this training I ended up making to problems. First one was a movement that dived forward when she went to head down position. Second have been a smelling of the ground. This problem probably has come from my rewarding her down and sometimes dropping a treat in front of her.
All problems are solvable so now I have kept modifying her work and I have been able to also take distractions with the training. First I just moved little steps and then moved my body in different way. Then changed all this to my side because this is the position she need to be able to do this trick. At this point I can go around her and she will keep her position. At this point I have used a lure reward to keep her focus to the front of her. Freya has really gone miles forward in just a few days. I usually have made two training session per day - one in the evening and one in the morning.
Mark cone training
In Finland we will have new ob rules in 1.8.2015. This will bring a new breeze to this sport and gives nice new tricks to teach. One of the things that will have new meaning is mark cone. There will be many new things that a dog need to do near it. One of the cool thing is sit-down-stand positions after a mark cone. This will be part of a jump retrieve in the highest class. Also dog needs just go around a mark cone and come back. This means it has a little bit different role than in old rules where the dog only needed to know stop at the mark cone.
Yesterday I trained with Freya a marking of a mark cone and going around it. With marking I mean that dog need to look at the mark cone from my cue. This helps the dog concentrate to the up coming task. I reward the dog form looking at a mark cone so that I can give this task a cue. Then when its ready the dog just turns its look for few seconds to find the cone if give the cue. Freya picked up this cue in few takes. I also use this cue to mark the right cone for the dog. This part I make stronger by making a cone circle where I turn to a new cone after every try. Freya did this gone circle training superb. She didn't even remember the last cone. Pixie had a problems of giving up the cone that she got reward from last time. This is just one of training ways to making the dog understand better the meaning of the mark cone.
Freya has retrieve ready as whole task but I have now started to make each part of it better. She has already really fast running speed to a dumbbell but her return speed is a little slower so we have work on it with speed retrieves. This means that as soon as she takes the dumbbell I ask her run to a toy. This has helped a bit. I got a tip from Tarja that she might have too much thought into the dumbbell so my next goal is make her run with the dumbbell. I have planned to make her run with in a agility tunnel, around mark cone etc. I hope this will give her more confident with it so that she can run faster with it. Freya need also repeats with the return. I have to decide will she come to straight to my left side or around me. Both ways ok. Now I just have make it decision which is better for us.
That a little bit about our obedience training lot to go but I hope to enter her to trial this spring under the old rules. I want her to get experiences in different trial places.. We will see how far we will go with ob.