Friday, February 22, 2008

Predatory Overdrive as training setup

So a couple of weeks ago, my innovative training director came up with something to help us out.

Laev was being very distracted by a corner of the training barn where she just KNEW she should check for mice and cats. So we went over there, and another club member reached under the wall with a glove and faked small, darting prey movement. At the same time, the helper behind us cracked his whip to stimulate her further.

It was roughly like putting me between chocolate-covered almonds and fudge. Laev's brain ramped up to threshold and teetered on the edge.

I cued Laev to sit. She was hectic, but finally she tore her eyes to meet mine in a hope that I'd release her to SOMETHING. I clicked and sent her to the helper for a bite.

Repeated attempts produced a slightly faster sit, though I had to help her with a physical cue (lightly touch the left hip, stabilizing her at heel instead of letting her spin out like a banshee). I am very hopeful that this technique will work well for us in the future. I can't spend much time on it now, though, because Laev's prey-monster mindset is leading her to thrash on the slipped sleeve -- ugly -- and is uglifying our outs. So we have to back off the prey stimulation for a bit, balance it with aggression, 'til that's fixed.

And oh, remember how we said it was all Fabio's fault? (That's the sire who is said to be an excellent working dog but for his abnormally high attraction to small furries.) Well, that's not strictly true. I spoke with Laev's breeder, who said that her dam is also the most likely to go after rabbits, squirrels, etc. above all else. So, my club concluded, Laev is line-bred on critter obsession, which is why they call her "the worst I've ever seen."

But hey, at least I know it's not just me. :-) And we're making progress!

1 comment:

Judi said...

Glad to see you back writing. The UDC National is coming up so I expect you are going?