Libby and her dog Elliott chose one of my favorite training games to shorten one of those cold winter weeks in Kentucky, and is wearing only a sweat shirt! Ohhh to have sweatshirt weather again! Winter weeks here in Canada are ranging in the -22C (-7F) range.
“Sist’as Turn” is a game I first taught to Feature and Encore when I wanted to bring both girls out to train. Makes me laugh every time I send my dogs to a table. Swagger and Feature now play as mother and son training together! Libby is learning our program and applying her Puppy Peaks learning. Just like she is “proud” of Elliott (4:22) we are proud of her doing the work as she ventures into learning our program!
Here is Libby’s Month 4 Puppy Peaks review.
Puppy Peaks: Month 4
It’s been pretty cold and nasty out lately, so I haven’t done much training outside with the dogs. But, we had an oddly warm day and I was itching to go outside, so I decided to work with the dogs for a little while.
I didn’t have anything in mind that I wanted to work on, so I decided to get an idea from Puppy Peaks. I was scrolling through the site index and saw “Self Control: Learning Sista’s Turn Part 1” in Month 6, Week 3. It “peaked” my interest and as I began watching it I realized that it is the solution to the problem I have been having with Elliott. It shows how Susan teaches Swagger to stay on the table while she is working with another dog.
When I work with another dog at the agility field Elliott becomes obsessed and wants to be included. He ends up being in the way, causing problems, and his obsession increases because of the lack of structure. I don’t want to put him in a stay because it would set him up for failure (I need to work on the stays so that eventually we can have rock solid stays, but it will be a long process). Also, I’m okay with him moving a little as long as he is in one general area, so putting him on the table is a perfect solution.
Elliott’s been taught the table for agility, but we hadn’t practiced it in a while and his drive to the table wasn’t quite as fast as I wanted, so I started off by building value for it. We did some tugging on the table first, and later I incorporated food rewards as well.
After we built value for the table, I started adding distractions. Starting small, I just walked away from him and would return with a cookie or a game of tug, gradually increasing the distance. This part went very quickly, he had no problems with it. Next, I started throwing his toy around in front of him, trying to get him to jump off and fail, but he stayed put. So, I decided to add a much bigger distraction – Zoe going over some jumps. He jumped off the first time, but after I replaced him back on the table he stayed on. I was actually happy that he had failed because I wanted him to know what the boundaries were.
I followed the same procedure with Zoe, except her high value reward is food rather than tugging. She stayed on the table through almost all the distractions. Occasionally she would reach to try to get a cookie that I had put in the grass beside the table and would end up jumping off. A little more ItYerChoice is in order! Other than that she did great.
The big challenge for Zoe and Elliott was when I put both dogs on the one table. Elliott had problems being with Zoe on the table; he would jump off whenever I told Zoe to go get on, I’m still not sure what the reason was and am trying to figure it out. After a few mistakes they both realized that the same criteria applied even when they were on the table together.
The hardest part for Elliott was staying on the table while I called Zoe to go over a jump, but this is the reason why I was so eager to teach them both to stay on the table. Elliott improved greatly though, and by the end was sitting politely watching Zoe go over jumps, I was very proud!
Zoe’s biggest challenge was watching Elliott do obedience. She is the one that I did all my obedience competitions with, so she had a hard time when I was heeling with Elliott. Zoe also would sometimes just look at me when I told her to go get up, so I think I need to work more with her on building value for the table. We still have a lot of work to do to get them both reliable on the table, but they both did great and I am looking forward to continuing this training and having a solution to Elliott’s obsession!
Thanks Libby! Today Im grateful to have the joyful impact on Libby’s training with Elliott and Zoe learning Sista’s Turn Here is my 2008 blog post with a little clip of the girls playing.