Worked on several things yesterday. The sit target is well understood and is now being used as part of the directional control training. By placing 2 sit targets (one on either side of me) I can direct him to the target that will “pay off”. He picked this up quickly. As the training progresses, I’ll add more distance. I’ll also start close by me with 2 targets to get “move out away from me to a target” and “come in toward me to a target” in addition to the left and right directionals we are currently working on. This will eventually get used in field work when the downed bird was seen by me, but not Voodoo and I need to direct him with visual cues to where it is located if the send out goes bad.
I also started and made excellent progress on the “go out” that will have the cue “fly” (as in fly away). I used luring to get him into a rhythm of circle the cone to the right, then the left, then right, then left. When I stood up to stretch my back, Voodoo went around the cone! So I did less luring at that point and only used it to help him when he got stuck. In this first session, we went from zero understanding of the behavior, to racing around the cone with joy! I know some people are “anti-luring” or feel the lure should be faded quickly. But I feel luring is a very useful tool in helping the dog get it right quickly and avoiding the frustration that free shaping a dog that is not advanced, can bring. It also allowed me get speed into the behavior right from the start.
Lastly is a short bit of the start of “leave it” training. Just “hand zen” at this point. I start by clicking for his nose moving away from the hand with the treat and eventually click for eye contact as well. Eventually, when I say “leave it”, my goal is to have the dog give me eye contact. If they are looking at my face, they can’t get into much trouble 🙂 I haven’t worked on this behavior much at all, so we aren’t very far into it. But I NEED it on cue because Voodoo likes to pick up all sorts of things off the ground. For now, “release” and trading him a treat for the items seems to be working. but I’d like to prevent the pick up of strange items in the first place. 🙂
Okay, here is the video: https://vimeo.com/171526587