Training update 3/11/09: new teeters and flat boards

Last night Miles and I had our first adventure on a foreign teeter.  On Monday, I sent an email out to everyone I knew who might have a teeter at home to see if I could come over and use it to help Miles with generalizing the obstacle.  Thankfully I got a lot of responses, so we’re going to have a lot of great training opportunities in the next few weeks!

So yesterday we went over to my friend Jasey’s house to try out her teeter that her dad had made for her and her dogs.  She warned me that the board isn’t actually attached to the base, but just rests on it with a groove over a bar.  She said that her big labs have never knocked the board off, but I can’t say that I wasn’t a little worried!  Well, Miles strutted into her backyard (he’s never been there) like he owned the place.  I asked him to do some jumps for cookies first to get him warmed up and to let him know that we were there to do agility, not just play.  He was very comfortable with that so I sequenced 3 jumps to the teeter.  His first try was a little tentative with a slight pause with his front feet on, but then he decided it was okay and went right up it…success!  I did several more reps and he just got more and more comfortable.  On one rep the board bounced so far off the base, I was a little worried.  He could have cared less though!

This weekend after our NADAC trial, I’m going to go to another friend’s house on Sunday.  Then we have 3 other houses to go on Monday!  I’m so excited because I really think this is going to help us tremendously.

As for little Rue, we have started our running contacts training.  Right now I’m just working on her running full speed along an 8ft board.  Eventually I will only reward when she actually hits well into the contact area.  Rue gets frustrated easily, so when teaching a new skill I’ve learned that I need to keep her rate of reinforcement very high before I start getting too picky.  She’s really enjoying this game!  I have set up jump standards about 6 ft before the board that I send her to wrap around before she runs the board.  There is a food container about 15ft after the board for her reward.  If she doesn’t hit the end, she gets a piece of kibble that is on top of the food container.  If she hits well, then she gets the kibble and I open up the container and jackpot her with a higher value reward.  Last night we used cooked chicken.  She  hit well and low three times, hit high four times, strided over twice, and jumped three times.  Here’s her very first video:

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