Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Of Dumbbells And Things

I have started, sporadically, working with Dominic on his dumbbell retrieve.  It's all well and good for him to excitedly chase after a thrown dumbbell and bring it back without much structure, but I would like for him to have a solid understanding of the full retrieve and feel confident in his understanding.  So we're starting off a little boring and beginning work on the hold.

As you can see, he's not really clean on what I'm trying to get him to do.  He has a general understanding that he is supposed to mouth the bar, but we haven't worked on him really clamping just yet.  He's on the cusp of understanding to put more pressure on it with his mouth, but not there yet.  I usually warm him up with simple mouth grabs from a variety of heights so that he refreshes his understanding that no matter where the dumbbell is, he should put his mouth on it.

I've been gradually working up to trying to hold out for rewarding after I hear his teeth make contact with the bar.  My timing isn't always great and I also want to keep him from getting frustrated.

If he's standing up and I place the dumbbell on the ground for him to pick up, there's currently a lot of pawing.  So I've started having him down and then worked at removing my hand and having him only mouth the bar with no pawing.  It's a work in progress, but I am seeing at least a little bit of progress each time.

Every time I do one of these progress videos where I sort of jump into where we're at, it always get me wishing I had videoed our very first session, to give a better comparison of where we started and where we're at.  One of these days I'll actually think to do that....

I also took some video of Miley doing some beginning article work with the metal articles.

Miley has already been through learning to retrieve a metal article.  So she's got that understanding.  Now we get into the process of teaching her to discriminate a particular metal article in the article pile.  To do this, my instructor had me start working with tea infusers and I am totally a fan of this method!

Within the specific infuser that I want Miley to search out I place treats.  Once she retrieves the correct one and brings it back to me, she gets the reward contained with in and starts pairing the article containing the treats with the article that most strongly has my scent on it.  And therefore the correct article.  I warm her up with one infuser that she gets to see me toss as though it's a retrieve.  Then I work up to having it placed out in the "pile" and having her retrieve it.  Then I add one empty infuser (I need to get some tongs for this.  For the time being I'm using the directed retrieve glove to touch the "wrong" articles.).  Since this session, we've added a third infuser to the pile and she is still pretty quickly successful.

I also apologize for the angle of the camera.  Unfortunately you can't see things completely as she's figuring them out at the pile, but you get the general idea.

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