Zeke's Class--Day 2

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by tx_cowgirl, May 13, 2009.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Last night was Zeke's second day of class. He was very stressed at first, though I'm not sure why. Very nervous for about the first 20-25 minutes. Lots of panting. Had to take some breaks and have lots of tennis ball time to calm him down.

    Then we started "get back/get in" which I'll probably call "left" and "right" since I want a right and left heel(even though right isn't entirely necessary). Mudflap knows "on my left" which is to get in position ready for heel. Zeke has learned to spin to his right, but not to his left...so trying to lure him into position isn't working all that well, because he won't turn to the inside, towards my leg. He will happily turn to the outside, sit, and give/hold eye contact, but he's too far away. So then we tried luring him around behind me into position, which still didn't work too well. He just doesn't lure for a tennis ball and he still ended up too far out.

    On to heel.
    He already sits and holds eye contact when I stop, he already does well adjusting to paces, it's just the getting in position and keeping eye contact that we need to learn. Of course we're only doing one step right now, and by next week we're supposed to be able to heel for 5 steps, stop and sit. Today we're kind of starting fresh since he was so nervous yesterday. It should go much better because he's much more relaxed. We'll see. All in all, he did very well under the circumstances. He even worked for the trainer, twice--big because of his incredibly shy nature. He actually(unintentionally) did an almost perfect heel with her for several steps--she was really just demonstrating paces but he did great. Not close enough to her but everything else was very good. He approached three people on his own(slowly, but willingly) and has been great with the other dogs in his class.

    It's going very well. :) We're both enjoying it.

  2. fickla Experienced Member

    I'm glad to hear it went well, even if it took him awhile to get relaxed. For the right finish to heel (I call it "Around") would Zeke be comfortable if you stood next to a wall? A wall would prevent his butt swinging out or standing too far away from you when he finished. And for the left finish (I call it "swing") have you tried bringing your left foot back at all while you bring your left hand back in a counter clockwise circle? For big dogs I like to move my foot back so they have enough room to straighten out before they come to my side and I just gradually fade the foot movement. Obviously any luring with Zeke is a ton harder since you have ball and not food!
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Trainer suggested using the wall but with his timid nature he'll lure around me and the second he gets to that "crowded" place between me and the wall, he ducks his head and races forward, immediately relaxing the second he's out of that spot. I did try stepping back to lure him back and then forward, but he still ends up too far away. This is how I taught Mud, but with food...so obviously it was much easier, lol.

    I suppose I could start out further away from the wall but still parallel to it, and slowly move in so the small space isn't so intimidating. Would this work and still get the desired results?
  4. fickla Experienced Member

    I have no idea if that would work :) Generally you do the opposite, start close to the wall so you can have a nice close heel and gradually leave the wall once the pup has been rewarded enough for the correct position. So if you were to gradually move closer to the wall he probably would be ok with doing it next to the wall, but it might defeat the purpose.

    Oh well! I know you guys will get it eventually, you'll just have to completely shape it!
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol I thought about how backwards that was this morning. xD Haven't tried it yet. Hmm....might just have to do some random experimental work to try to get it right. Lol. Going to work with him today. If we could somehow manage to get a pivot perfected, Silvia's method would work great for him...but then again as clingy as he already is, he might end up with a too close heel, crowding me constantly. Guess I'll see what he gives me tonight at home and try to come up with something.
  6. fickla Experienced Member

    Yeah, Vito is (as you know) very clingy and in his finishes sometimes leans up against me. I didn't teach Vito to finish as Silvia does, but he is definitely doing a finish that way now without me teaching him too.
    When walking just 1-3 steps in heel he also touches me (I think he wants to be ready to sit very close to me as soon as I stop) but if I walk more then that he really can't maintain that contact so walks nicely. Right now I'm not worried about his crowding too much, although it would definitely be major points off if he was doing that at a trial.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    We got nowhere today, with anything. Minor progress with the heel itself, but actually getting in position to begin the heel is going terribly. I'm going to focus more on the just maintaining eye contact and staying in relatively good position for a few steps. Already talked to trainer and I'm going to take him up there soon to get some private help. I'm just not sure what to do and neither is he so we're both lost, lol. :dogwacko:
  8. snooks Experienced Member

    Sounds like wonderful progress so far esp for a shy dog. !! goodie for both of u. All dogs (and trainers :) ) have off days. If one day it just isn't clicking stop immediately and try again tomorrow. Sometimes a few days off and things we struggled with come out perfect. Weird but happens very often with me. Don't get discouraged. Those one step back days are always followed my many more 1+ step forward days.

    Upping the rate of reinforcement for short periods for anxious dogs works wonders. As they think and try to stay up with your pace they don't have time to worry. This also makes them tireder so you have a happy satisfied dog at the end of class.

    As for getting in position have u tried targeting a long wooden spoon with peanut butter on it at first, then just spoon click treat later? this way u don't bend to target your hand and send other physical cues, you're standing just as you would stand when giving the heel cue. Remember after touch/click take the spoon up and away and then give the treat. The target should be removed after click so that it's not just always there hanging around and stays more meaningful. I still have to refresh Chizzy if we're rusty so I may cue heel, she swings out to see my face as many dogs do or she sits too far away. I go back to the spoon and I do use whoops so she knows positively that she won't get a treat for that but she's close. I may help her a little by stepping forward so that she must move forward and that usually lines her up and gets her closer. CLICK. Or use the wall and heel next to the wall as suggested above. :)
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I'll give the target/luring a shot. Going in today for some private help so we'll see what happens. Fortunately I'm not getting as frustrated as the other members of the class, because I know it's going to be harder with a dog like my Zekers so I kind of expect myself(and probably the dog too) to have some difficulty.

    So far, the heel is going decent, just getting in position is still giving us issues. I abandoned it a few days ago so today will be a completely fresh start. We'll see how it goes. -fingers crossed-

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