Q&A #94

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Allie McCain

Ringo update: Ringo’s aunt is a member here and his mom was able to watch the feedback of the prior lesson. We huddled up during their next session and dissected everything. Our takeaway was: Ringo was def stressed due to heavy winds that day (they had just settled before the session), he was exhibiting the same avoidance body language even in phases 1 and 2 after about 10 or 15 min of training ANYWHERE even at home. Ringo’s mom shared that Ringo’s reward after a session is to be able to go away and lay on his blanket. I have had Ringo’s mom keep sessions short and sweet to help him build confidence but I feel like the result of that is he taps out and was not finding value in pushing through his comfort level. I asked her to push a bit further at home, keeping him on a leash and working low-level phase 3 escape cond (I promise we have beat phase 2 into the ground.) and then after the session to take him running or for an off-leash outing (his favorite) to add value to working longer and enjoying his momma.

I also noticed at the session mentioned above that at about the 20 min he was panting and his back legs were trembling, I had her jog him around the yard and STormy came out to raise the stimulation level and after about 10 min of that he was no longer panting and was presenting confidently. MY gut feeling is that Ringo was in need of help getting over that threshold hump and also needed more excitement than just the training yard. Here are some clips from our most recent session with the above in mind ALSO we all agreed that the body language was a big thing that needed to be addressed and so that was our focus. Premack in a valuable setting and thresholds. I am fully prepared to be told I have this totally wrong but It was the feeling I had in my bones so I went with it…..I am happy to learn to ignore my bones if I am wrong.


Dave Page

For critique. One thing that hasn’t worked with Draco much has been the heel. He has been difficult to keep from forging to prevent having to correct for now backed up and working to set the patterns/operations using food since he is so food motivated. Doing a one step type heel feeding as we go, and timing it so he gets what’s left as soon as the right leg stops with my secondary reinforcer. (right leg heel for him). Had to working in some escape conditioning on the down when coyotes started howling.

Did a really short heel at the end to see how well it was working. Did much better


One more for critique. Have worked for solid recall and working to perfect his heel. On heeling I have now moved to giving him the treat when the right foot is planted, and he has stopped in position. Realized he thinks the good boy on the down means to release so am working to correct my mistake by giving him primary and secondary reinforcers before letting him up while he is in the down. To work on solidifying his recall The last several recalls were when he found food I had stashed when he wasn’t looking. As soon as he would find it I would verbally recall. Treat, praise and release to go back to it.

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