Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Training

I have a lot of training news to report today, so bear with me.

Let's start with Marge's interactions with other dogs. We have been doing a bit more socializing as of late, as Marge's reactivity pretty much has disappeared around other dogs (with the exception of Agility, which I'll get to.)

As mentioned, she met up with two old park friends, very mellow dogs who she has seen countless times before. Aside from a fun chasing match with Henry the Chi, she just really sniffed and minded her own business. Now, neither of these dogs are the playful type, so to speak.. they're more just your hang-around kind of pups. So I'm not sure if her indifference was based in confusion on how to act, or if it was just, well, indifference, because they're not playful and neither is she.

We met up with an acquaintance of ours at the board walk. Her friend was walking a Boxer puppy roughly the same size as Marge. They did a quick sniff, with no hackles or anything from Marge. Marge jumped back once because the pup jumped up on me, but otherwise, I'd say it was a neutral, if not positive, interaction.

Later on that night we bumped into a very small, submissive looking Corgi, who Marge took to immediately. Play bowing before she even got the chance to sniff. And that was it for that night.

It was a lot for us, that's for sure. We're still doing a fair amount of ignoring other dogs and/or clicking for looking calmly, especially at Agility.

And on that note, I'll now turn my attention to the Agility class we had tonight..

In short, Marge was reactive. I think she was illustrating a couple of different "types" of reactions, though.

  • She met a well-socialized Golden for the first time ever before class. Good initially, lots of sniffing, loose body language, soft eye. Unfortunately he became too much for her, though (even after a couple of play bows from both of them) and she gave a snap at him. We did end on a good note, with Marge sniffing, play bowing, and doing her playful zoomy thing.
  • I can't remember where we were coming from, either the A-Frame or the tunnel, and she went FLYING at poor Chase the BC while barking. However, I firmly believe this was more of a chasing (or even herding, as I'm starting to think) instinct than it was a fearful response. Fortunately she came flying back when I called her. I apologized to Chase's mom.. Chase himself has some issues around other dogs (though he and Marge do get along) so I can relate to what it feels like when someone else's dog comes and bothers them.
  • Lastly, she was very unhappy with Blue the Pit Bull going over the A-Frame. She actually growled on that one. I refocused her, praised/treated, and all was well. But she DOES definitely get wide-eyed when she sees him go up higher than her. This, I think, was more of a fearful response because he IS big and he IS a bulldozer type dog. A nice dog, a happy dog, but one vastly incompatible with Miss Don't-Touch-Me-With-More-Than-Just-The-Tiniest-Tip-Of-Your-Nose.

Are these incidents related to all of the dogs she's been seeing? I'm not sure. I don't think seeing dogs outside of class translates into dog reactivity at class, especially since she has been so social in those situations AND does not show fear when merely passing dogs on the street. I do think that maybe the situation with the Golden might have started her out on the wrong foot. At the next class, which is in two weeks, not one, we are NOT going to interact with any dogs before class and we'll see if that makes any difference.

In addition, Marge was not walked much at all today, which gave me a VERY fresh dog to work with at class. Of course, that freshness can manifest itself in both positive and negative ways, as I've witnessed tonight.

On the GOOD side of behavior/training talk, Marge met a couple of people down by the boardwalk last night as well. She was good with both of them - both woman - and accepted light pets without any bribing from me. She did get the opportunity to sniff a man as well, but he wasn't a dog person... which was probably better. She was also pretty social with the people at Agility.

As for the actual training that took place at Agility, it was a rather light night, yet again, due to the temperature and Marge's all-over-the-place-ness.

  • We did some Teeter work, which went well. She plays the Bang It game very well and enjoys it immensely. She goes over the Teeter just fine, but likes to stop in the middle to wait for it to go down, so we're working on having her come all the way to the end before the teeter moves. She ran across it nicely once, and all the other times I had to help her a bit because she braced herself in the middle.
  • Finally got the Tire back out... Marge was not doing the tire well in sequence last time, but this time she acted like she's been doing it all her life.
  • No dog walk, and only a couple of random runs over the A-Frame, due to its positioning.. it was where the other dogs were running.
  • She weaved all 12 weaves, albeit bent weaves, going AWAY from me rather than being recalled to me. VERY proud of that! All of our weave sessions in the backyard have paid off.
  • Had some tunnel issues tonight, as she didn't want to be sent into them, but I don't think it's anything to be concerned about and we'll see how she is next week.
  • And now, one video, courtesy of my sister..





BTW, that's not her making that noise, it is another dog crated nearby. Couple of things I like in this video. One, I am running upright rather than slouching, at least for most of the time. Two, Marge has speed, is running in a straight line, and is attentive. However, I am throwing my arms all over the place, which is something else I have to work on. At least I finally am starting to get the running right..

So, on the docket for this week..
  • back crosses
  • going back a step and working on attention around other dogs
  • MAYBE some dog-dog interactions, if the opportunity is right.. but VERY few, if any.
  • *hopefully* starting street walks again at very quiet times.. (she has been freaked out since the 4th, and with ongoing construction two blocks away, it has been rough.)
  • fine-tuning some Rally stuff.

We have some exciting things coming up later in the week, but I'll leave you all in a state of suspense so you can come back over the weekend and see what I was talking about! Let's just hope and pray they go as planned.

3 comments:

Sue July 15, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

Nice video, she looks good. Do you think some of the problem in class is just that there is more tension among the people there? Everyone gets a little uptight in class worrying how their dog will do, how they will do and what the other dogs will do. The dogs feel the human's tension.

Morgan wouldn't go outside after dark from July 3rd till last night. Between thunder storms in the morning and fireworks at night, she just refused to leave the house. She seems better now.

Martha Basset July 15, 2009 at 5:15 PM  

We enjoyed watching the video - it looked pretty impressive!
You are really doing so well with Marge. We are not sure about training classes as we have never been so not sure whether it is better to meet the dogs outwith the class or not!
We will be interested to hear how you get on. Good luck.
love
Martha & Bailey xxx

Brownie July 16, 2009 at 9:26 PM  

Nice video! I agree with Martha that the tension in a class can make dogs a little nervous.

For the tunnel, I don't know if this is going to work for you, seeing as Marge is more dog-independent than Brownie: we met a very nice, socialized, calm Bernese mountain dog using the agility course while we were around. Brownie and Bernie played for a little bit, and then Bernie's trainer asked him to go into the tunnel. Brownie is very sociable and she followed him right through - three times! I had tried to get her to go in with high-value treats previously - to no avail. But then again, I'm not sure if that strategy is going to work with Marge. :)

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