No amateur training video today. I gave myself a break last night and stayed away from the computer for a whole four hours before going to bed. I don’t think I’ve done that in a long time.
That doesn’t mean Shiva got to laze around. This week we worked on learning our lefts and rights. I say “we” because I don’t know them all that well either. Yes, I know it is a little sad but I have always struggled with remembering which is which. 90% of the time I guess correctly. That 10% I get it wrong has caused me a lot of problems. It’s one of the reasons I never, ever give directions anymore. Anyway, I stopped working on training left vs. right with Shiva over a year ago for this exact reason. I kept rewarding her for getting it wrong just because I would say one thing and mean something else. It was confusing.
But, our agility instructor re-introduced it last class (before the infamous clash) and now I am determined to get this directional cue thing down. I will not have my inadequacies hold my dog back. Thus far, I think I have done pretty well. I don’t think I have gotten it wrong once this time! Perhaps focusing on my dog helps – prevents me from over thinking it too much.
Dog training, not only is it fun, it also cures dyslexia!
Basically, I start with Shiva sitting between my legs. I then say “left” and cue her to move left with a hand target. After rewarding, I do the same thing again but cuing “right”. It’s pretty simple at first and I make sure to change it up so she can’t pattern too easily on “left, right, left, right…” Now that she has started to understand what I am asking, I have removed my hand target and now throw out my reward once she moves in the right direction. It’s pretty tough for her little brain.
Those of you who have watched Shiva in action in the past know how eager she is to work, and work, and work. It is crucial in dog training to keep sessions super short. I admit, I sometimes can stretch them out a little bit longer than I should. Especially if she is doing well. Shiva’s insane drive gives me some leeway. Last night, however, I think I pushed her a little too far. For the first time ever she actually stopped showing any interest in the activity, lay down, and started chewing on her Kong. She couldn’t be any more obvious with her signals. I just had to laugh.
Is this what it is like to work with a normal dog?
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