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Discussion Starter #1
It's still early days, so it's not much, and includes some pretty boring stuff (aka practical), but when I write everything down, it accumulates. It's not as impressive as it sounds, as I have a short attention span so nothing is really set. I really need to work on getting these on verbal cue, some of them are in the baby stages of works in progress are still getting lured or shaped & heavilly coached (translation, me bobbing, weaving, pointing and generally acting like a spaz), but:
Here's the list, in no particular order:

Place- dog from front goes round handler and between the legs, stops.

Tall- dog stands on two legs (Sonic does this naturally (to get a better view) but on-cue is another thing

Back- backing up, Sonic's favourite leash walk move, but now working on getting it on cue.

Side stepping- another natural, happens on walks, sort of getting this on cue.

Pogo- Sonic's invention, springing straight up in the air, on leash. Just starting to get this on cue and only happens if he's excited

Bring it- dog brings toy and drops it in my hand. I'm using a tug-n-treat frisbee to help teach Sonic structured play, goes along with fetch & tug

Tuggees- tug the toy, see above

Get it- fetch if he needs a reminder

Target- touch a ball or plastic lid, he's mastered touching a ball, fallout from my failed attempts to teach him fetch & retrieve a tennis ball...put ball on stick and I have a great target stick

Spin-clockwise

Twist-counterclockwise

8's - figure 8 weave through legs

Weave - me walking forward, Sonic weaves through legs

Go! - go out ahead of me


Over- jump over my arm (me kneeling, he's not super dog-yet). I used a video by Kristin Crestejo as my guide. Had him already doing the whole thing, and then today, not so much, but still jumping. Yay! Indoor exercises.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Morning's practice was fuzzy. Rainy day? Or not a good idea to repeat from yesterday's practice, as in 'cross training' is a good idea.
so for the afternoon, specifically avoided anything previously covered.
And yep, that's the ticket.
Added target to a tiny foam ball, and stuck the target with a stick, now I have a target stick.
Stuck that into playdo, and he targetted the playdo. Oops. Stuck the playdo under a cushion, and voila, he's doing go-outs to a target stick. He was a wee bit cautious-walking, not running, but it's his first time.
Had him 'bring' plain frisbee (not his tug-n-treat), went well, he even wanted to tug.
Had him tug, my timing sucks, so now I'm holding the frisbee in two fingers, and only mark & treat after/if he yanks it out of my hands. Hopefully, he'll learn that he can have a rowdy game of tug AND get food...as my bad timing has likely taught him to tug like a wimp, oopsie.
All of this is INDOORS, which is excellent, as he was really afraid of being trained indoors for the 1st few months.
And because he wanted more, I did jump over arms. Yummy! I briefly had him circling and that got him excited and jumping higher.

And in case anyone is reading who has a brand new adult rescue who won't play and lacks enthusiasm in training, that's where Sonic and I started.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Made a trip to a nearby city to buy fish for my aquarium. Took Sonic along for the ride to practice in new places.
Stopped at a city trail/paved pathways through parkland.
In the parking lot, did some sedate (read-boring) loose leash walking to see if he would start looking to me. Check, yes. Teased him with his tug-n-treat toy and got him tugging, and got him started up. Actually engaged enough that I felt perfectly comfortable to drop the leash and have him chase the frisbee.
Walked the trails, he was very distracted, but decent on leash, going out.
Could not engage him in anything when I stopped in the middle of a ball field--he just wasn't feeling good out there.
On the way back, same route, he started bugging me for training, whip out the frisbee, and played tugging and fetch games on the (empty) trail (had to watch for other users, it was Sunday, mostly empty).
Seeing him get excited for play on a trail that he obviously found somewhat strange and disturbing going in, is exciting and new. I can no longer say that he only plays at home.
He was overly interested in some dog sightings, but behaved okay, needed treats and space to accomplish--leashes still suck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh boy, this past week, where to start.
Jumping over arms, yep, he's doin' it.
Tall (stand on two legs) 'almost' gettin' it on the verbal.
Ditto for Spin (best) and Twist.
This due to me finally learning to stand still, speak 1st, then hand signal, then mark & treat.

Had a really good, right off the start, train/play session in the local parkette, even with swans nearby (which were slightly distracting to him, and really distracting to me--trumpeter swans, so beautiful)

Started 'go out's' to a target (a tiny ball on stick), and realized I was slowing him down with, you guessed it, too much movement. He didn't want to go out because my body language was ultra distracting/interesting. Again, me learning to 'stand still' with arms at sides, in this case, wait for him to touch the ball (still in the shaping stage), mark & treat. He's learning to move away from me independent, not looking for visual cues.

re: jumping over arms, and & 'tall', I over did/over-trained on Friday. He just wasn't all that 'into it' in the afternoon--note to self, don't be such a 'tiger mom'.

On the practical front, had him off-leash for the whole 90 minutes of a forest walk without me going nuts, AND he actually played tug & fetch (with a leather & fur tug-n-treat toy) in the forest. That was like pulling teeth with coaxing, etc... but a start. A good start. Lovely to see him free run for such a long time.


He met my in-laws puppy in their 5 acre unfenced yard. Sonic is acting pure bc in that context, stuck around, zero interest in wandering away, played a bit with puppy, then ignored, or bugged me, mildly friendly with folks to aloof once 'hello's' were done.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
HE PLAYED FRISBEE IN THE WOODS!!!
HE PLAYED FRISBEE IN THE WOODS!!!
HE PLAYED FRISBEE IN THE WOODS!!!
I thought it would never happen, at least not for a very long time.
Used the leather tug-n-treat disc, but he was really chasing, just like he chases squirrels, and he was bugging me for more, and tugging. He was excited about it!
Please excuse the enthusiasm, but this is an exciting FIRST TIME.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sonic's 1st agility class--completely awesome. Indoor arena, really fantastic comfortable people friendly instructor, and only 2 students! Can't get better.
Sonic was nailing his toy, and launching himself after it, velcro eyes on me, just really really into being there.
He did have trouble with the instructors dog when she started barking and jumping, started jumping barking himself (and not in a good way). Then he completely lost focus and looked like a dejected puppy for the next exercise.
BUT, BUT, BUT, this was completely fixed with a quick time-outside on the longline, where he instantly went toy crazy again, played a quick round, let him pee, then drink, and then back inside & he was ON again. So now I know what to do next time.
Learning some new handling skills, driving forward, rear cross. My former training we just taught the obstacles, and then direct dog to obstacles...which is fine if you have the obstacles. Here we are building handling skills that can be practiced without obstacles, which is ideal for poor folk like me...because when the money runs out, I'll be without obstacles but with dog & skills. So, yay!
Topics covered. Front cross (which was pretty much already learned by instinct, running with dog off-leash).
Rear cross--brand baby new. 1st, teaching dog to drive forward with food on a stick (treat in chuck-it toy), to get the dog to run ahead of handler (anti-laser eye training). This would have come in handy in the early 'afraid of treats' stage.
Then teach circling at a trot (not there yet).
Then forward motion with me behind (rear-cross)
Wraps--hand signal & go round cone (used a traffic post at home), (egg-beater hand signal & toss treat forward)
Drive forward with toy (go! command). Been doing this in the woods with squirrels, so he has some idea already. Collar hold back does not work--which I'm actually happy about, since I've spent 9 months training him NOT to pull. When I gave up on that & just lightly held his leash tab, said go! he surged forward, I dropped tab & threw toy--that perked him up.
So all in all very good. He showed his top form, which looked AMAZING, and also his chips, the reactivity to barking dogs, and a brief moment of shut-down, so it looks like he's READY READY READY -- Yay!
I think I got me a brand spanking new little sport dog! (I miss you Dynamo, I really do, but I'm happy to get another kick at the can, ONE MORE TIME)
and now I'm feeling a little weepy, really, seriously, I never thought I'd....never mind, bye.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just got back from nursing home visit.
He was so cute & comfortable, working the old folks, wiggly piggly, a social butterfly. What fun. He's always been polite and aloof there, friendly if invited, but today he really looked like he thought it was fun and took the lead in interactions. Nice.
I take no credit, this is Sonic being his happy self, just taking joy in seeing it.
Oh, and the off leash walk went well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Cheating my journal, but it fits. Wrote this to a friend: sums things up for the week.

Yesterday, as usual, we took Sonic on a long walk through the woods on
local forest trails. Did a 'leave it' and then played frisbee--hard. A perfect re-direct.

Afterwards, I was ambitious, and set up my impromptu agility practice
which consists of two folding lawnchairs set up with front and back
sections upright to make low broadjumps for the dog. Sonic is great
at sticking by my side like glue, but unless I can run really really
fast and turn on a dime, this is not ideal for agility...so I am
practicing at home at my leisure with whatever equipment I can find.
The purpose of the two jumps is to teach him that moving away from me
and taking the equipment (jumping, in this case) is as or more
lucrative than sticking to my side. I have a throw toy to reward him
at a distance, but first I have to convince him to keep moving forward
even if I don't, and b) skirting around the obstacle produces no
goodies. The class, even though it is an hour long, is too short, to
train all things, and sometimes too distracting. Sonic does like it,
as do the husband and I. Santa may put some real jumps under the tree this
year (the husband can make them from pvc pipes). We had a set of diy pvc
equipment, but gave them away, thinking we would never again have an
'agility dog'. When Sonic runs through the woods, leaping, dodging,
climbing, flying across the jumbled landscape, it is clear that
agility (the dog sport) is not so much about canine athletic ability,
but about the dog and human's ability to communicate and work
together. There is nothing, physically, about the sport that Sonic
can't do (effortlessly) right now--teaching him to do what is asked
and not do what is not asked, and to do everything as fast as chasing
squirrels and have as much fun doing it--well, that is the task and
the challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Agility, Week 5 Video & discussion here:
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-performance-sports/week-5-agility-yep-excited-308042/#post3237874

Home Agility Fun Fact:
Okay, so I put him out on our verandah (our only outdoor enclosed space) and made him watch while I set up his course.
His course consist of 2 lawnchairs (ends up to make posts) as jumps (broad jumps) and one pole wrapped in a towel (in lieu of cone, to practice wraps) and a wooden box as table.
By the time I was done dragging this about, he was totally excited, MUCH more than when I just take him out to play--so I guess he likes agility. ;-)

Other stuff: plays frisbee in the parking lot after a walk, so yay! This is becoming a thing.
Taking him to petsmart to get used to being around dogs when leashed- not so good. Mostly not enough dogs to practice with, BUT I can get him playing and performing in the parking lot, which is awesome.

Cat feeding time: this used to be mayhem. He would just bark and bounce and carry on crazy (my husband puts up with this), I avoided it and would just crate him. Sooooooo, a few weeks ago, decided to make him do a LONG DOWN, which took some fussing to accomplish. Now, he sees his mat, plunks himself down with a relaxed eagerness that is good to see (while I feed the cats, I occassionally drop a cat kibble on the matt, but now down to 3 times). So, no more crating during cat feeding time--he can handle this, and his long downs are much better in general.

Erm, that's all, excepting I'm already anticipating pining for agility classes when they are over. It is sooooo much fun....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cat feeding all good.
Now doing nice leave it's. Practiced with tossing treats (which are always 'his' as I used tossed treats due to early hand-shy issue issues), so now teaching some are his (take it. get it), some are not (leave it) and some are the cats (cat's name). He obviously understands the concept of name = possession, which is bizarre but seems true, maybe it's eye contact & body language (with said cat). BUT all this equaled, once, tossed a treat for him and Simba raced for it, and Sonic looked at ME (yay, good dog, here's a different treat). Nice choice on his part. (Simba didn't want it anyway--so Sonic got to have it later)

Off leash: taking him to the dog forest more often as there are less and less dogs outside now. Lots of dogs on Sunday, and again Tuesday. Watching him to see how he handles off-lead dogs. With very rare exception, does not play with dogs--does a polite greeting, sniff and move on. If the dogs are over bearing, too much energy, will do a fun imitation of speedy gonzales, but doesn't come back for more except with less energy, as in, darts away at 100 mph, comes back with less rpm, by that time, other dog is thinking Whoah, you are too fast for me, and not much more happens. Sometimes I slow up to join with folks with dogs, and Sonic will either ignore & move on (greetings done, you are boring, behaviour), sometimes engage in mutual sniff & pee session then move on to explore the woods, or just run ahead, or, if I stand around long enough say, hey, can I earn a treat here? He's just not all that into dogs.
He's has twice really liked a dog. Once, a female pug, mutual chase, then he kept trying to entice her to chase game, and circle round to come and get her (pugs just can't go that fast), and last week a goofy lab, he actually played some mutual chase and stuck around for peeing games & more chase. I walked with the owner. But that's it, mostly neutral, occasionally wary, definitely willing to stick up for himself, and communicates that with upright body language & look aways (hey, I'll stick up for myself if I have to, but I'd rather not have to). This works with any well socialized dog. He will respond to a cheerful 'let's go' if I think tension is building, or it's one of those bully dogs that will push his buttons instead of letting him move on un-molested (he does not like contact sports).

Petsmart: will go on Sunday afternoons only. There are actually dogs there on Sunday, dogs plural, lots of dogs, dogs in store and and dogs in class, barking puppies. So there's something to work with, and when there's something to work with, he learns and does well. Even with surprise dog in face-->he looked at me. Had a conversation with a lady in the parking lot. She had a gorgeous white shepherd pup who got bored and lay down. Had him on a loose leash while dogs went in and out. Worked him on his traffic lead indoors, he's good, getting more relaxed, interested in treats, not doing any 'training' right now, no commands etc he's on a leash, looking at just getting him comfy with the idea that dog over there doesn't equal dog in face, and he's starting to understand that--ie, he looks at a dog without expecting to have to deal with it. Take him out in the parking lot for breaks, and play & train there, and he's playing.

Agility: he's now looking forward to playing frisbee/tug in the parking lot at the END of his off-lead forest walk! Whoot. So, took along a pole (to practice wraps) and a mat (in lieu of table) and put all three things together. He liked it! So another place to train, my yard is too small.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's been awhile. Ugh, he does not like contact sports. I knew that, but not much I can do about it on the hiking trails. He got boxed in by 2 great danes & a large dog, and a great dane tried to mount him, with 5 other dogs milling around. Not a fun moment. I could say all is well that ends well, but puts a damper on going out on the trails. I just don't like that sort of tension (and neither does my little guy). Will try to veer off-trail next time a see a gang of dogs coming at us (it was an 8 dog pack).

Agility. Started my 2nd session. He was awesome. The other dog (cattle dog) got rambunctious, barking & running, and Sonic just looked at me, like, hey, I get treats for this, right?

And we did more tunnels, so now he's driving into tunnels, Yay.

Petsmart: still trucking over to petsmart on Sundays to take advantage of their busy time. Lots of dogs, he's no longer refusing softened kibble as a treat. May be retiring the chicken so that he can remain aware of his surroundings. There were tons of dogs, but I didn't need to give him breaks, and he did not care about the barking dogs in the 'classroom' corner. There was TONS of barking; he's like, I get treats for that, right? Yeah sure, here's a kibble, and he doesn't drop it on the floor.

Here's a video from Week 6, agility. Pardon my shrill voice--I am working on toning that down--whoa, I just get too excited...

https://youtu.be/RCoRBHYFx8Y
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Update,
Agility--fun

Off-leash--on hiatus, working on engagement exercises.

Engagement Exercise--a one month prescription (given for free by phone from a very generous training school). (pm me if you want to know who)

Play with your dog more--
2 x per day, DRIVE your dog to a new place, take him out, play (tug) for a maximum of 5 minutes (stop before he does). Put him back in car, move on.
Wean him off the treats.


The reality, keep in mind, this was a no-charge telephone consultation, so I wasn't going to go into a stream of 'but, what if's'.

Getting him to tug, no treats, the enthusiasm fades. I have tried this before. Agility is an exception. He gets VERY excited about his toy in agility, but I do use treats there too for new behaviours, contacts and such, but sequences are rewarded with toy.
So after a few tries/days, went back to putting food in the toy. Getting him to play in strange places is a milestone as in, thought it would never happen, so going back many steps seems reasonable.

The homework, not quite totally getting done, car broke down, ice storms and busy days, so adding in deliberate attempts (and time, it takes time) to get him to play on leashed neighbourhood walks (places where he would never play).

Attempts to play & strategy.
If not interested at all, I open his tug and treat, and let him have a piece, and tease. If no interest at all, oh well. That's pretty much a no. If I have the time, I 'hang out' in that spot and just wander about and he follows & or sniffs about and then I try again.
If the toy then entices him, I snatch it back, then let him eat & close the toy quick, and tease. And/or drop the toy, and say 'bring it'. If he does that, treat, repeat, but toss the toy further etc...
If the above succeeds in revving him up, then more dancing around (this is hard to do in an ice storm), more tossing toy, and if it's a side street and all clear, drop the leash and let him give chase. Usually, by this time, he will also tug. Grrrrr....grrreat! Done! Asks for more, even better.
So that's how I get him to play.

I've also stopped rewarding with treats on the walk (toy instead, even if it's a treat in the toy, it comes from the toy) with small exceptions, such as stellar stuff I want to reward but traffic makes toy reward impossible. Or helping him get by a tough situation.


AND....

This is working!!!
Unbelievable, I thought I would never get him playing on a leashed walk, but it's happening. Sometimes enticing him into play is like pulling teeth, but most of the time, I can get him going if I have the extra minutes to 'warm him up some'.

Results (2 weeks in), less reactivity, happier dog, more relaxed dog, bouncier dog. What I'm seeing is play de-stresses him in a way food cannot. I've been using food all along for reactivity, but I've never seen food alone help him relax or significantly changes his state of mind.
A single minute or two of good tug & fetch play significantly changes his state from stressed tight wound up dog to happy bouncy engaged dog. He is more resilient going forward; it seems to put a break and end to trigger stacking that would happen on a long outing, as in, on long walks, he would get more ramped up, not less. With the play break breaks, he is actually ending his walks looking relaxed and satisfied. Yay. Hope these improvements continue.
I used to dread leashed neighbourhood walks because they looked more frustrating than fun.

And good timing too. Crappy winter weather (rain, freezing rain) has made it impossible to do anything but walk on the roads, which, without a playbreak or two, has got to be both boring and frustrating to a lively dog. He sure looks the better for it, even if I did wipe out on the ice a few times...
the things we do for dogs...
comments welcome...this is new stuff for this team...crossing my fingers. I actually like neighbourhood walks, would be nice if it can be fun for the dog too.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We needed to board him this weekend at a socialized kennel, he was 're-assessed' a week earlier and had a great half hour play with dogs then.

When we dropped him off, he just bee-lined for the arena and didn't look back.

Sonic received the following report from his weekend at the boarding kennel --

"Everything went well. I think I mentioned to you once before that he didn't seem to like German Shepherds. I put him with two this weekend and the problem resolved itself. "

He was excited to see us when we picked him but relaxed and mellow on the way home, so I think he did great. It's good to know he interacts well on his own.

On the home front, we've had plenty of 'ski' weather, and I'm not yet ready to off-leash him again (I want more engagement from him first) so I'm leaving him home to go skiing, and when I can't ski, the trails are horrible, so getting him out onto the trails will not happen for a few more weeks, but his road walks are getting much better.

Last night I decided to take Sonic on my roadside exercise walk (leashed) and he did fantastic. Yes he was excited, crazy, hyper, but he behaved just fine, and he took food rewards while passing dogs, and he played tug with me other times, and when his wheels were spinning too fast, I could get him to settle by giving him simple obedience (downs etc.) -- I could visibly see him calm himself down when doing this, with a positive change in behaviour when I got back to loose leash walking--kind of like reminding an excited person to 'breath'. I could do all of this and still get the walk done on in my usual (dogless) time (yes, I had to run and hussle, but that's good exercise), so I'll say now I have an exercise walking companion, yay--and it's obvious that he had (on average) an enjoyable time in spite of hiccups.

So, he's learning that dogs are fun or at least lucrative. Almost any fenced/window tethered dog can be handled on a loose leash, I do various things, but (given time) will stop or slow in those places and do minimal commands but always end with a loose leash--usually I just roll treats and he gathers, and I reduce the frequency to see how he's doing. His nemesis, the Howling Husky, no longer howls at him, largely because the dog is mesmerized with the rolling treats, but that's fine. Sonic does not deserve to be yelled at by dogs anyway. Sonic enjoys this game although he still gets over excited in anticipation.

Sonic can manage to by-pass leashed dogs, it's not fantastic, or pretty, or elegant, but he doesn't lose it, and he's excited about getting his treats.

Play, he is playing on his leashed walks now. I still need treats in the toy, but it is taking less time to get him revved up, and occassionally, he bugs me for the toy (would like to see much more of that) but that's exciting. Yesterday, he asked at a dead end street and went right into it, Yay! On the rural part of my walk, I can almost always get him playing. It's still hit and miss in the high traffic/dense housing areas.

Agility, will miss it. Finished up our last class last week, awesome, had two private lessons as the other student was away. Have plenty of homework to keep us busy until I sign up again (next fall, I guess). No new videos :-(
 

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Spring fever has hit.
Snow is melting, squirrels are out. Dog brains are overloaded with sights, sounds, and smells.
Sonic's brain is exploding.
He stopped wanting to play, he spins & figure eights and barks on his walk.
Last week, I guess I was grumpy, I stopped fussing with him, and just kept marching forward (very grumpy) and let him do anything...which turned out to be continuous barking and darting back and forth--for 30 minutes, yep, 30 minutes. Who knew that there is a dog living in every fourth house, I do now--he set them all off like fire-crackers, block by block. Pretty funny in hindsight, not very nice of me to let him do that.
So I guess that's still his default behaviour--I think he was having fun, I hope; I wasn't.

Fixed that yesterday, being patient (it was entirely all my fault after all), just stopping at each and every bark and lunge, and moving forward again at the moment he settled or calmed himself, which he was entirely capable of...which is tremendous progress.

Play is taking a backseat, partly due to spring fever (above), but also due to other things.

Decided, beyond that sometimes he's too anxious or frustrated to play, that there were two other factors.

Getting food to emerge from my pouch is easier, toy equals less food, so nope, don't wanna play, I work for food, mom.
And...play interrupts forward momentum. If I play that means we stop and we are moving WAY too slow already, nope, don't wanna play.

Soooo, my treat pouch is full of the usual fare, marinated kibble, rollover, hotdog. His frisbee is loaded with catfood, chicken, cheese. Fixes #1 reason. That's food worth fighting for.

And, if I can get him to play, sometimes I just start running in the direction he wants to go, so he can tug and get where he wants to go--fast. Helps with #2 reason.

Last nights walk was better. He still flipped about like a crazy thing going forward, nothing awful or uncomfortable, just rambunctious and occassionally dizzying. Walked him on short leash for a good long portion (ends the behaviour but is boring but also necessary--traffic) BUT he did play, wanted to play. We did a calm walkby the fenced husky (who in turn, calmly watched), and Sonic, which all his crazy behaviour seemed to be having overall a good time.... which is what counts. A happy walk, yay. And quite a spectacle...that's okay too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
https://youtu.be/7i1Uof4uGHQ

Wow, he played just after by-passing a hugely reactive dog (other dog was barking, growling, clawing at the pavement towards him). The fact that he's playing at all is huge. This is on a neighbourhood walk, a cul de sac; and just after a pretty tense situation. His recovery time (ability to play) was so fast that I'm considering it quite the milestone.
It is wonderful to be able to give Sonic some real joy on a neighbourhood leashed walk, as leashed walks are not the most fun for his lively self.
Just pumped that he now plays on walks, he needs this, he needs to be able do something athletic and crazy and acceptable on a leashed walk, love it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
https://youtu.be/LVha4xiJLso

Still working on engagement, now in the woods as the trails are finally accessible again. Soooooo tempting to off leash him, as it's been a long time, but due to ice, he hasn't been in these places much, so patience...(and he still gets off leash time in another field, with my husband, so he is not deprived of 'be a dog time' during this part of training).

Soooo, spring fever is here, aka Aggressive Nesting Geese Season. Fun, not, no, wait a minute, FUN!
He's actually not going Ape at the sight of them. He's heeling and looking for treats. Better yet, I've had him redirect and bug me for his toy when he was frustrated by overhead flying geese. How cool is that. Exciting, hope it happens again. He just launched himself into frisbee instead.
But, it is spring fever time. He just is less 'into' play right now. But, but, but, he is playing in the woods (video) a thing I thought he would never do.

On other fronts, finally having successful shaping sessions. Last year, every attempt completely freaked him out, so I stopped trying. So I started up again with a 3 treat rule (literally, the 1st few times), and now he's doing well. Actually had him back stepping on the box and getting it! And then the next time, he locks up, oops. Soooo, next time, will toss more treats (aka, get him off the box). It seems like as soon as he figures out the game, he overthinks and gets locked up. Reminds me sooooo much of me when I'm working on some (art) and it starts to shape up into something possibly fantastic and I just completely choke and can't do another thing with it. So if he's feeling like that, I know what to do. Toss that treat, off the box, change things up.

So, two focusses now. Play anywhere continued & Learning to Learn. While he knows bunches of things, and it's fun to start new things or continue shaping other things, hoops, jump over arms, leg weaves and such, the focus must be on Learning to Learn as being NUMBER ONE in a training session, keep it short, keep it fun, keep it moving, doesn't matter if he learns nothing at all specific, just that he learns that trying a new thing is fun, AND not trying a new thing is fun...aka, I have to remind myself not to be so ambitious.

Leashed walks with him when I am by myself and have time to train are PURE JOY.

With my husband, or in a hurry, not so much. Bark bark bark, whirling twirling figure eights, ack, unless on traffic lead. Obviously moving forward at a steady pace is the most difficult task of all.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Okay, the necessities (aka functional obedience) are done, now for the fun stuff.

Took an online challenge Play With Your Food, by Meagan Karnes, The Collared Scholar. (PM if you want details) & will be incorporating this into warm-ups.

also, I find filming myself distracting and distruptive yet incredibly informative on review, so I will film each warm-ups, and may or may not post, as benchmarks.

If you're reading, they are boring, I will share the fun stuff elsewhere, I just need to make video's no big deal to me to end the self-consciousness.

Play With Your Food Day 7 <--2nd warm-up. I'm putting the Focus exercise away for now. It's very obviously off-putting to him and his 'hand-shy' problem made a brief recurrance (quickly cured by tossing treat instead of waiting for him to snatch it.

Relay Races seems to be a great way to pump him up. Relay is- toss treat as far away from me as possible, he chases it, and comes running back to me because I'm so much fun & I have food. Cool.

After I put the camera away, he popped up and down to tell me he wanted to play frisbee so we did, and then a quick send to the wall, a wrap, frisbee, & on with regular walks.

Benchmark, Play with your Food Day 6


Forgot, this weekend, he played with a dog in the woods & kept racing back to me to include me in his game. Super Cool

Also, last week or so have been practicing with husband relay recalls in the woods, going our separate ways & calling him back and forth between us. Husband needs better treats, though, or a better back, but it's still working out really well.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Today morphed Play with your food in whatever turns him on. (which was the point of the challenge).
No focus exercise--he really hates it because he is already being such a good boy.
I'm filming on my own, so he needs to do a down stay anyway while I fiddle with camera, so I placed in view. He broke stay once, but I think he'll figure out that the fun starts when he holds.
After I turned the camera off, I did more frisbee, send-away or two and comleted a leash walk.
This video is 2 minutes, so is watchable.
http://youtu.be/2INs4DA-1aE
 

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Discussion Starter #19
New off-leash game, lets call it Ping Pong, is completely awesome for all three of us. My husband has a bad back, so he can't do much in the way of active engagement, it's too physical. Me, I'm not an athlete, I can't run like a squirrel, I can't even run much, I can speed walk, I can do 1 or 3 quick sprints, then I'm spent.
So, Ping Pong. Husband and I separate on the walk, one of us goes ahead, one drops back. Encourage (if necessary) the dog to go to one or the other. At first, Sonic was not thrilled to run to my husband, he didn't expect much of a reward (I do all the training) but now he's thinking it's the best game ever and just bolts back and forth between us, especially at increasing distances. It's fun, so it's a good game. Dog gets exercise, husband's back doesn't get wrenched. I can choose to dart about or just make like a treat tossing tree.

Moving along with the Play with your food.
So, Sonic's frisbee chase & returns look like there is some conflict going on (slow, a little delicate), so changed the game.

1st. now play with your food sequence is toss treat far away, Sonic gets his treat, runs back to me, toss treat in opposite (or unexpected direction) get Sonic bolting freely in various directions with me at centre & occassionally (every 4th time?) do the human treat dispenser game (rapid fire treats from my hand).
When that goes really well, add in frisbee, so it's toss frisbee, fetch & return frisbee, toss treat really far as reward, dog returns, repeat, & occassionally do human treat dispenser game.
Fun.

Working on weaves, 8 poles now, my yard is looking mighty small. Sometimes he gets his rhythm on, sometimes not.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Stopping in. Have dog nerd buddies in town now & do some nerdy training. Video is a little training challenge for an off-lead free dog distance down (down at a distance outside of a training session). So, cool!
Having lots of fun training these days, non-competive, fun stuff, but freestyle-ish, got me a play tunnel (which makes a nice hoop collapsed) & hoping to get to an agility class this winter. Last winter, busted my shoulder, sucks, and had to cancel agility.
https://waitingfornino.blogspot.com/2019/10/distance-down-training-challenge.html
 
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