20 May 2008

Training "Distance"

One of the Level 2 behaviors is called "Distance" in the Levels Book. It is basically getting the dog to go in a circle around an object at a short distance. We've been working on this one since we finished Level 1, but not very intensively. We've just done a few short sessions a day as I've felt up to it.

It's been a while since I did a new behavior from scratch so it's reminding me how long it actually takes to do this. First, Molly wanted to do what's she used to doing that works--retrieving. She kept wanting to pick up the object I wanted her to go around. When she isn't picking up objects, she's pulling htem usually, so she kept trying to interact with the object instead of go around it.

But with patience and the tiny Frolic treats, I managed to click as she moved her feet around it and she started to get it a little. I also mixed in some luring by throwing some of the treats ahead of her. It helped to quit using her regular hard kibble because they bounced all over and didn't always lead her in the right direction.

At this point, Molly is volunteering partial circles around the object and approaching full circles. I want her to do full circles before I start adding the cue. Things are improving though and it is fun to be doing something totally different.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca & Molly,
Great blog! And a useful list of references & resources. You may also want to add Barabara Handleman's DVD. I found it offered some creative ways and cheap props to teach SD's.
I saw the pics of Molly. Wow, she has the same build as Jessie, though she is much more photogenic. Jessie mostly black with some red/tan highlights so is hard to see in photos. She likely has some BC in her too!
Jessie weighs about 30 lbs and won't be getting any taller/heavier. How big is Molly? She looks maybe in the same range. 35 or so?