Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I had a bit of a breakthrough tonight...not only w/ Lola, but w/ myself. I was actually successful free shaping a behavior! This is a big deal to me b/c I've attempted this w/ Penny & just end up frustrated. I have the patience of...well, a puppy! But Lola is a clean slate and I thought I'd really give it a go. I gave myself 15 minutes to free shape Go to Mat. I put a blanket in the middle of the floor in the bedroom & then sat down on the bed. Lola went through her best behaviors...sit, attention & targeting (my hand). This was my warm up. Then I waited. She sat & stared for 20 seconds...then her head turned toward the blanket (C/T). 5 more seconds...head turn (C/T)...body turn (C/T)...walk toward blanket (C/T)...front feet on blanket (C/T), etc. It took 7 minutes before she was running to the blanket w/ all 4 feet in a little puppy sit. Yippee! Success!! Ideally I want her to lay down, but I stopped w/ our victory.

Without even realizing it, I have been gearing my training toward Sue Ailsby's Levels.


I've referenced her website on more than one occasion and have read & re-read Stich's Blog many times. But I was looking at it this weekend & realized...Lola was just about ready to pass level 1. I need to work more on Down, but we're a nosehair short of passing. Not too shabby @ 15 weeks. We also have a nice start on Level 2.

I'm focusing on this right now so I can get a clear picture of just what I'm trying to teach Lola. Level 2 is the basic behaviors I really feel all dogs should have. Does this mean Sherman & Penny could pass Level 2??? Ha!! Penny could (w/ the exception of Distance...I could have her doing that in a day)...Sherman No. But I think I could get him to pass w/in a week if I worked w/ him every day. Do I see a challenge for myself??? Maybe.

I do think too many behaviors are added between Level 1 & 2. But I didn't make the whole thing up, did I??? Maybe I'll make up my own Level 1.5.

I'm hoping Debby will be my tester. I really want to do this right & have someone "judge" my progress. It's way more fullfilling that way.