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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Marguerite thank you for those suggestions. I am very familiar with Susan Garrett and Denise Fenzi, but haven't looked at their material recently. I should give myself a refresher.

When I took Lily by the collar yesterday I was very gentle and spoke to her very sweetly to say let's get back to work. She responded quite well and her work improved substantially during the time I was in the ring, but utility does really require a confident dog so I do want to take care to keep her normally excellent and enthusiastic working qualities fresh and happy.
 
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<snip>When I took Lily by the collar yesterday I was very gentle and spoke to her very sweetly to say let's get back to work.</snip>
Aha! Garrett has a "collar grab" game to turn grabbing the collar into something fun and not something to dodge--good for safety, among other things. Basically, grab the collar, pull the dog to your leg (I pull to heel position), and simultaneously put a high-value treat in the dog's mouth. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. She says that the dog will eventually start to "offer you her neck."

Enjoy reviewing the blogs and videos!

Marguerite
 
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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Yeah, actually she is pretty used to having my hand on her collar and doesn't duck away, but I will make sure that as I use doing so "correctively" to remind her it is all good. I don't use much food but I am generous with praise and pets and play as rewards.

The reason I don't use too much food is that I ruined go out with it about a year and a half ago. Go out had come to mean go look for food over there. I wasn't able to fade using it with any success so I left working on it aside for a couple of months, changed go out into fly away and started from scratch with no food. Part of my problem is the last couple of weeks is that instead of sitting when I tell her to, Lily has been shopping down at that end of the ring looking for crumbs missed by other dogs. Many people at my club use way too much food IMO. Someone who was there recently fed probably over 1/4 of a cup of liverwurst to a small dog during just the short time of a routine (and the dog is chunky!).
 

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The reason I don't use too much food is that I ruined go out with it about a year and a half ago.
I was able to fade food for Devlin (the rat terrier) in the go-out by switching it to delivered by me instead of his finding it by the stanchion. You already know, I'm sure, not to lump too many behaviors together--f'r instance, don't ask for the go-out, sit, jump over there all at the beginning. So I'd send him out, tell him to sit, and deliver the food to him, leave, and ask for the jump in a separate request.

It's my understanding that food helps build enthusiasm, which the dog will associate with the behavior and not the reward (if trained and faded properly). I think of it as a "paycheck" instead of a "bribe."

Marguerite
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
I do use food when teaching something new and when I returned to go out as fly away I always took food out to Lily if she did a good one rather than letting me find it. Part of the problem is that we have a "cheese stanchion" at the club and it must really smell very cheesy since Lily often goes to check it out and look on the floor near it for crumbs. We had a trial at the club a couple of weeks ago so the cheese stanchion has been taken out and nobody has thought to put it back yet which is fine by me.

I also think of treats or play as a paycheck, but also think Lily understands well enough at this point that the paycheck sometimes gets lost in the mail for a few minutes. The small dog that ate all the liverwurst yesterday has already been trialing in utility so for me I would give the paycheck at the end of the performance as would occur in a trial if I were taking a routine. If I was working on trying to improve something and got my picture of perfection as a response I would reward right away with food, pets and praise for that.
 
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Paychecks and behavior chains

Here you go--part one in Denise Fenzi's 8-part blog series on behavior chains. I'll be interested to hear what you think, especially if you tried any parts.

Behavior chains – Part 1: The Basics | Denise Fenzi

She includes a lot of videos, but watch out for videos that are actually ads on the blog. They're fairly easy to spot, once you know they're there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Marguerite I will check it out when I am home. The network I am on right now (in a hotel) is really slow. Thanks for the link.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
The tough love strategy has worked really well. I took a utility routine yesterday and while we waited for our turn (got there really early) I worked on keeping Lily's attention and showing her that the only rewards would be from me. She did a great routine. Even the things she has a hard time with (the go out and the drop signal) were really good. The go outs were nice and straight with good prompt turn and sits, no shopping for crumbs. The drop signal was responded to promptly and with just a half step from one front foot!

We have a trial this weekend with match time possibilities. Even if we don't qualify I think we will have great practice time out of it.I am viewing this trip as an expensive match, but will be more than a little thrilled to get a leg in utility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
made a breakthrough with signals

Lily and I were at a three day set of rally and obedience trials this weekend. Even though I knew we wouldn't qualify in utility I entered so I could evaluate how things are coming along. doing matches at my club isn't really telling me much, so this was like a very expensive match.

Anyway this club offers practice time in the late afternoon on Friday and Saturday. When we did our practice time on Saturday a friend from my club helped me by acting as a judge to give orders. She told me to put Lily back at where she was supposed to have dropped when she crept in on the signal. Well that has really helped. I worked on signals in the hall at my hotel on Saturday night and got her to drop in place at about 40' away. In the Sunday trial she only took two steps in before dropping. This still isn't good enough but was way better than having her five feet away from me before she dropped or not getting a drop at all.

Even better (hopefully) I took her to work with me last night and did signals in the long hall where my office is before class. I got her to drop in place at about 60' away (way more than you need in a trial). I also did signals with heavy distractions while my students were working in lab. I got the whole sequence of signals at about 30' with 15 people milling around and talking!

I think I am going to apply the same concept to the go out. I will take Lily and ring gates out and send her. If she stops before I want her to I will go up to where she stops and guide her gently by the collar to the target spot and sit her then leave.

I know she understands what she is supposed to do since she does it in places where she is comfortable. Maybe we are really close to getting a qualifying routine together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·

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Thanks! Someone had shared it by email or Facebook and I replied already.

It looks like an interesting set of changes and makes it more inclusive for dogs that have issues with stays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
CharismaticMillie I like some of it and don't care much for other parts. I like that they are reducing the number of stays to one. I also like adding the recall over the jump for novice. I am not so sure that an exam is the best thing to put into open to replace the second stay. There isn't much description of what kind of exam it is (moving vs. stationary, novice type or more like utility). I think maybe something with a glove could make it more interesting for the dog. I like that deaf dogs will be allowed to compete. I like that you can ask to leave the ring with a mark of NQ rather than excused.

I am very concerned about the change numbered 4.i.: "revise hand position for the heel free exercise: Hands must be held in a natural position; any position or movement of hands and or arms that the judge considers an aid to the dog will be penalized." for me I heel with my hand held at my waist not hanging at my left side. The height combination for me and Lily is such that if my arm is hanging free at my side I whack her in the face. If I hold my arm close to my left side to avoid colliding with her then I suspect I may get penalized for holding my hand like a target. Do you think you could have the same concern with Tiger?
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Thanks! Someone had shared it by email or Facebook and I replied already.

It looks like an interesting set of changes and makes it more inclusive for dogs that have issues with stays.
If you are on FaceBook join the group Ring Tested Obedience to see lengthy discussions of many aspects of the proposed changes.

Marguerite my issue with they stays is that (at least near me) the days of leaving your dog on a sit or down stay while you pop into the corner store for a newspaper and a cup of coffee are long gone, so this exercise has very little to do with anything a dog might actually be expected to do in "real life." I think one group stay is sufficient to show the dog has impulse control.

I also think that if your dog can't do a stay around another group of dogs you probably should think twice about taking that dog into that situation. This is why Peeves in now a rally dog. He is not reliable on formal stays unless I can talk to him. I think he would do it for BF but he doesn't like dogs shows so it is on me to do stuff with him and I won't risk having something happen by pretending he can control his desire to visit other dogs.
 

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<snip>I think one group stay is sufficient to show the dog has impulse control.

I also think that if your dog can't do a stay around another group of dogs you probably should think twice about taking that dog into that situation. This is why Peeves in now a rally dog.</snip>
Hi Catherine,

I may have mentioned before the obedience venue of Companion Dog Sports Program (CDSP), which has no group stays at all, you can talk to your dog (except during Signals), and you can treat between exercises (very specifically, though--after the judge says "Exercise finished" and before you take a single step to start the next exercise).

A lot of folks in our area still have their sights on AKC and UKC titles and use CDSP as an intermediate step. But there are also folks with reactive or fearful dogs that would not be able to complete a title in a venue with stays. That describes my rat terrier Devlin. An out-of-sight stay seems to be more than he can handle. We are working toward a CDSP Utility title, but honesty compels me to say we have not yet had a Q.

Oh--there is one stay in the venue. It was recently changed from an honor stay to an AKC BN-style stay in the middle (sit or down, handler's choice) while the handler circles the ring.

Full disclosure--I'm a judge for all levels in CDSP. I'm not going to dis Rally, either, since I'm a new provisional Rally judge for UKC (and thank you, Devlin, for earning the titles that gave me the right to apply).

Also, thank for the tip about the Facebook group. I'll go check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Hi Marguerite, Yes you did mention CDSP to me and we have a fairly active interest in CDSP in my area. I haven't pursued it since I have enough of a hard time keeping the rules for one venue straight in my head. I did dabble in APDT/WCR rally with Lily way back, but never continued as it was too much juggling dates too. That is also one of the reasons I don't do CPE agility anymore either (aside from different equipment criteria). I think if I were a newbie I would be more interested in exploring CDSP, but I am not enough of a "title hog" to go looking at all other venues right now. I like the titles that go on their names too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
We have had a couple of different conversations about the proposed rules changes at my club this week. There are mixed views among our members about a number of things. Some people are really happy to see the number of stays changed to one, but others really think that the things that will go in the place of the taken away stay are dopey.

There were a number of us with large dogs there today who particularly focused on the natural arm position for heeling. One person with a terv has always had her left hand hang at her side, so she didn't care. The rest of us heel with our left hand at our waist and all were concerned. I worked on heeling with my hand down and had a lot of lagging at first. Then I put a treat in my left hand. I let Lily nibble at it as we went along. After she finished it she actually stayed in position well even with my hand down. I guess if it changes I won't have too hard a time making sure she will stay the right distance out from my side not to get smacked in the face.

On a different note, my tough love policy for the things she has been blowing me off on is paying off. The signals are light years better and today I got good go outs. Since she loves to jump I didn't let her do the jumps until the very end after she had done five good independent full distance go outs.
 
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