Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Ruby Random Bits

Finally caught up with posts about travel.  No more trips planned, happy to be done with travel.  Plenty to keep me busy right here.

Started back up with Miss Ruby's training.  No video yet, I've been too lazy to set up the camera.  For weave training I've got my channel weaves set up with the remote controlled treat gizmo at one end and me with a bag of treats and clicker on the other end.  I had to put a plank up next to the poles at first to stop her running out of the channel.  Unfortunately I can only get my poles about 1' apart so the channel is very narrow to start.  I was following Silvia Trkman's method which has you use all 12 poles right from the start so it was a long narrow channel for such a wee dog and she seemed very confused.  So at first I stood in the channel with her just a few poles from the treat gizmo and quickly moved back.  After a few days she seemed to get the hang of it so I moved the plank then a day or two later started introducing angled entries.  And she immediately started running outside the channel again.  Back to straight entries and last session she stopped running through the channel altogether.  I'd restrain her, say 'go' and release her and she'd just stand there.  I think my next move will be to go to 6 poles, that big long channel seems a challenge for her.  Think I may try some 2x2 shaping as well using Mary Ellen Barry's method.  I can also pony up the money for channel weaves that go wider apart.  At some point I'll need new weaves anyway because my current ones have the old 21" spacing.  This is o.k. for a little dog just learning but when I get a bigger dog, and at some point I will get another border collie or mix thereof, I'll need 24" spacing.  But for now I'm waiting to see if I can find a used set or a good deal somewhere, no hurry.

For tunnel training I'm using an old nylon chute barrel.  I bought this chute from Clean Run ages ago for Lola and when it came I realized right away it was way too long.  I intended to cut it and have someone sew the ends rather than return it but never got around to it and forgot all about it.  I dug it out of hiding thinking it was my small play tunnel and discovered this monstrosity.

And of course now we don't even have the chute anymore so I cut off the fabric, gave it to a friend who will re-purpose it and now I have a little mini training tunnel perfect for Ruby.

I started out using a Lotus Ball to reward her running through but again she would sometimes run around the tunnel even though it's so short.  And after each rep I'd have to wait for her to run away with the ball, open it up and eat the treats.  So I switched over to the treat gizmo and now after a couple few weeks she's finally running through consistently.

Jump training is also proving challenging.  I'm using Linda Mecklenberg's method and we're still at stage one, just getting her to want to offer to jump.  She'll sometimes run the long way around behind me to try to get the treat or dive her head under the bar.  Not sure if jumping is physically difficult for her or she doesn't understand.  She's still getting the hang of offering behavior though is much better with it than she was at the start of the summer.  Still kind of sticky though.  Shaping has never been a strength for me.  I figure she's a great challenge though, best to work on my rusty skills with Ruby before I get a young dog or puppy.  I think I need to learn more patience.  I get fed up waiting for her to offer behavior so I'll either give up or make things easier or start luring her just so she'll do something.  So progress has been slow.  I've got the jump set at 12", she measures roughly 13 1/2" so she'd jump 12" in all the venues except USDAA where she'd have to jump 14"  Would almost certainly put her in Performance.  If we even compete.

Tight turns around a cone are moving along.  She's finally doing a full circle, still working on getting multiple wraps and sometimes she'll go back to sitting down and offering nothing.  She's enthusiastic about training in general, gets super excited when I gather up the training stuff to head outside and has started offering behavior more often but is still a newbie and learning about learning.

I bought a couple of winged jumps from Clean Run during their Black Friday sale but of course we got about 5-6" of snow last night and it's freezing today so no practice for a while.

It's 10 degrees and you want me to go out?

No thanks.

We did get a run in yesterday before the storm.  No I didn't plan this and yes it was as embarrassing as it looks.

I also took her to Boulder County Fairgrounds to a DOCNA trial over the weekend.  We went both days for a bit, hung out in the bleachers on Saturday and stood ringside on Sunday, saw some of her friends including her Auntie Joy who was happy to see her and get an update.  She did great, such a novel experience for me to have a dog that sits quietly in my lap in the stands and can hang out ringside without losing her mind.  Being on the trial grounds was clearly not an issue for her.  Not sure what she'd do in the ring but we're a LONG way from thinking about that.  For now it's all about the basics and as long as she stays happy and enthusiastic about training we'll keep up with it.  Now to wait for the snow to melt.

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