Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Newest Class Videos

Here are our newest videos that we submitted to Silvia.

I have to say, we aren’t making near the progress that some in the class are making. At times it is a little frustrating, but then suddenly he will have a huge breakthrough & my hope is restored. And it’s hard to know who in the class is doing this for the first time like we are. Some have taken it with other dogs and so have worked ahead. Some are able to devote much more time. And some aren’t doing it by shaping (I can’t know for sure, but Silvia seems to be able to pick up on it).

Why is shaping these things so much better than luring? Well, first of all, shaping is kind of fun  :)  I think it gives you an insight into just how your dog’s mind works. You learn how they learn. I’m learning Stout’s frustration level, and how to avoid it. I’m learning that it’s all the small details that eventually lead to the big outcome.
For example: I called John into the room last night to see Stout’s “reverse.” We had finally had a breakthrough. As John came in, I had Stout backing up all over the room, going in circles, running into things… Kind of like a little bumper car stuck in reverse. He would just keep backing up until I finally clicked. He was impressed.

“How did you even teach him that?” Well, I explained that I clicked for him moving one foot backwards. “And he did this?” Well, no. I then clicked for 2 feet going back. “So then he started doing this?” No, then he sat down. But as he sat down, he would move 1 more foot backwards. Then his 2 front feet backwards. Finally he’d have to move his butt backwards in order to have room to move his front feet backwards. The day before I had him scooting around the room backwards in a sit.

Video submitted of Stout backing up.
You can see we are just starting to break out of the butt scooting...

“So how did you get him to stand up?” Good question. I didn’t get him to do anything. In his own little corgi mind, he figured out that it was faster & easier to walk backwards rather than sitting. And the moment he did, I “jackpotted” him. Next thing I knew he was backing further & faster across the room!

So can Porter back up? Nope. And I’ve been trying to teach him just as I have Stout. I think he will in time, but it will take longer. As I said before, Porter doesn’t have the history of shaping. He has mostly been lured. Porter hasn’t learned how to “think” like that yet.

By luring, you are speeding up the process. But actually going slowly & letting the dog think & learn how to think first is the fastest way to the ultimate goal. Luring is bribing, which gives them the power – they decide if what you have is worth the effort. Shaping gives them a completely different attitude towards work. They are asking us what they can do for the reward. It’s a subtle power shift.

Stout is paw targeting a wooden spoon.
This is a precursor to learning to "cross his paws" & other tricks.
I'm not sure he'll ever cross his paws with those stubby little legs...

50th Post! And Stout meets sheep...

Stout got to display his inner herding dog yesterday!
After Porter’s lesson with Wendy, she asked if I wanted to test Stout on the stock. I hadn’t done it up to this point because I thought he was too young. I was afraid he was still too clumsy & awkward to move out of their way if something were to happen.

But he is 4 months old now (plus 1 week!). And he’s doing all these body awareness tricks in our online class with Silvia Trkman. And I had watched how Wendy introduced dogs to stock on Saturday. So I figured he might as well get his first glimpse of what his forefathers were bred to do  :)

So I put Porter in the car & grabbed Stout. I had brought my camera so I could take my “Stout A Day” photos later at Sandra’s, but I didn’t take it with us into the paddock. I assumed Stout would need me out there to shadow Wendy as he was introduced to the sheep. I didn’t think I’d be able to take photos as I boosted his confidence. After all, all of the dogs tested on Saturday needed their owners in there with them…

I was wrong.

After getting reacquainted with Wendy (he acts like he hasn’t seen people in years, even if he saw them a mere 10 minutes before…), the sheep moved in the corner of the pen. He stopped doing his “Gumby Guinness” (that’s what she calls him – especially when he rolls around like a wet noodle when you scratch him) and locked his eyes on those sheep. He completely forgot I even existed.

And so it began. She walked him around on leash, moving the sheep, telling him what a good boy he was. When she stopped them in the corner, he took a step forward, sat down, and just stared. I like to think he was “holding them,” but he was probably trying to find the weak one of the herd to pick off later for supper. He’s quite cunning like that.

They moved them some more. The next time he held them, he just couldn’t contain himself & was jumping & barking at the end of the short line. (I think at this point he had pinpointed the weak one).

There was no “coo-ing,” no baby-voice, no cheerleading (well, there was praise for how well he was doing), no trying to turn him on… He just got it. He really did well. He didn’t even eat that much sheep poo while he was out there.

I asked Wendy when they were done if I should bench Porter & start working Stout instead. She just laughed.

What does that mean? What did I get myself into with this puppy?  :)

Stout wanting to use his new herding knowledge on some cattle.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday in the Sun

It was such a nice day, we all spent it outside.

Porter pointed out that our Bleeding Hearts were blooming.

John strung up the twine for his hops.

Mesa came over to play while Matt & Megan took Dally to meet her ride to Reno!

The cats had a front row seat to all their antics.

"Hold 'em Stout"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Peer Pressure

Stout really wanted to join Porter in the creek...

But he was too scared.

So he stood safely on a rock and barked.

Or perhaps not so safely...

"Oh no!"

"Puppy falling in! Help me!"

Only the front end & the tail got wet!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good & Bad

Good Sit

Bad Sit

Good Heeling

Bad Heeling

Good Sit

Bad Sit

Good Heeling

Bad Heeling

Good Beginning of Recall

Bad End of Recall

Good Sit for Examination

Good Sit Stay

Good Sit Stay

For more photos from the Louisville shows, check out Porter's blog!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Louisville Cluster of Dog Shows

We had a pretty successful weekend at the Louisville show:

Porter finished his Excellent A Preferred FAST title & his first ever obedience title! I will post more tomorrow on his blog, along with a TON of photos. I am so proud! He even did all his weave poles all weekend!

Stout cheered on his dad Chase, his half-sister Lowri, his half-sister Ginger, & his Grandma Vivian in the breed ring.