Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Goals

What does 2012 hold in store for Maisy and I? Greatness, I’m sure of it! I have no idea what form that greatness will take, but I'm hoping it will look something like this...

1. Teach Maisy 12 tricks.
This was one of my goals last year, and I failed miserably at it. But Maisy loves to train, and anyway, we need to have something to show to friends and family members who just don’t appreciate a flashy heeling pattern.

I have a few ideas for tricks- like a bow, chin down, play dead, take it/hold it/give it with a variety of objects, spinning, leg weaves, crawling- but I would love to hear your ideas, too! Does your dog have a cool trick? Please, tell me about it in the comments.

2. Improve my heeling handling skills.
Although I took a class on heeling handling skills, I have yet to really use what I learned. Some of the moves are still difficult for me to do. It’s not that they’re awkward, exactly, it’s more that I just need to practice them so they’re second nature.

As I learn the skills, I also need to take time to integrate them with my work with Maisy. Some things don’t need to be explicitly taught to her, but others do, especially things like slow pace vs. halts. We're both going to be better at heeling this year.

3. Complete the Relaxation Protocol.
If there is anything I’m likely to fail at doing, it’s this one. I worked on the Relaxation Protocol once before, and oh my gosh, but it was mind-numbingly boring. Maisy probably doesn’t need to do the protocol, but I want to work on it for two reasons.

First, we haven’t worked on it since she started taking medication, and I want to see how that changes things. I imagine we’ll have a very different experience this time around. And second, I frequently advise students to do the protocol with their dogs, so I feel like I need to follow my own advice, you know?

4. Work on some Open and/or Utility Skills.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, since we haven’t even completed our novice-level obedience title, but I’d like to start working on open and/or utility exercises this year. Well, we’ve already started working on some- like retrieves, the drop on recall, and directed jumping- but we haven’t worked on others at all.

I feel like we have a pretty good handle on how to start working on most of the open/utility skills… except go outs and scent articles. I know there are a ton of different ways to train both, and I’d love to hear how you taught your dog’s go out and/or scent articles. Which method did you use? Did you like it? Would you use it again? What were the benefits and drawbacks?

5. Take (and hopefully pass!) the CPDT exam.
I’m a little nervous to post this one publicly, but here it is. I’m hoping to take the CPDT-KA exam in the fall testing period. I don’t need it, strictly speaking, but I like the idea and the added credibility it lends me. And besides, this gives me a very good excuse for going to seminars!

If you are a CPDT (or if you’re in the process of studying for it), I’d love some book recommendations. I have a pretty good handle on learning theory, but am mildly concerned about some of the other sections. Let me know which books you’ve found helpful!

Anyway… this is what I’m hoping 2012 will bring. It might not, of course. So much can change over the course of a year that it’s hard to know what to expect. Still, this is the direction I'm hoping it will go. And if it doesn't? No big deal. As long as Maisy and I have had fun together, that's all that matters.


Dizzy said...

I know how you feel about the RP! I never used it until the most recent reactive dog, but we stuck with it, and I have been converted! We've gotten to the point where all I have to do is tell her to lay down and then take a single step backwards, and she settles right down. Definitely a handy tool to have when we're out and about!

Good luck on the CPDT exam! I bet you'll kick it's butt!

Crystal Thompson said...

Thanks. I have learning theory down COLD, but that's only a third of the test! I'm sure it'll be fine and I'm just being anxious... I did the same freaking out with my social work licensing exam, and I passed that, too. :)

K. Daniel said...

Your really good... I have thought about my goals but havent written them down yet! The RP thing is new to me (having recently got my first reactive dog.... 15 month old BC) I'm still finding out about this stuff!

However the tricks part is something I DO know about! I love tricks, and both my dogs have HEAPS! I have found that tricks are not only a little easy to do thing that you can do inside at home (great raining training option), but can strengthen skills for both obedience and agility. I would recommend:
* Pivoting on a perch (rear end awareness and left turns in obedience)
*backing up (again rear end awareness)
* 'saying prayers / duck for cover' (stretching through the shoulder and neck for agility)
* sitting pretty / begging (strengthening and balance)
*Paw work sitting, standing and down, even on a swiss ball
* handstand (I know seems crazy but your dog is built for it!)

Take a look at the Susan Garrent blog: http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2010/01/the-puppy-one-hundred-and-thirty-five/

heaps of great trick ideas, or check out my blog to see how to train, and some ides of tricks to train!


Kelly Brody and Chace :-)

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

#1 For tricks, add the following please: backward circles, cross paws, limping, and hiding in a suit case. You may also exchange 1 for reversing towards you (butt to you) if you are inclined :)

#3. The first thing I said to Dr. Duxbury when she asked if I had mat work was I refuse to do the relaxation protocal!

#4. Yes, start them now!! scent articles I did the food on the bar method with both dogs. I liked it and it went quickly once I finally bucked up and did it every day versus just 1-2 times a week. I would do it again but would also be curious to try a different method. On the positive since, the food method also gives me something to fall back to if for some reason the dog started having major confidence issues.

Go outs I did paw based with Lance. Paw based with Vito, then nose based, and back to paw. We switched because he started becoming nervous with the paw touch but as soon as I switched he changed his mind and would only do his stupid paw. So I sighed and switched back. If I had to do it over I would do a nose based simply because it's less dangerous on knocking over the gates, but I think you lose some enthusiasm. I won't do anything but a touch based method though!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Oh and #5. Well obviously you'll pass!

Crystal Thompson said...

Thanks for the trick ideas, K. Daniel!! We have a few of those (pivoting on a perch, sitting pretty (we call it Prairie Dog round these parts), and I'm working on "ta da" (play bow) right now.

The handstand, though... I've never thought about that one. I figured Maisy's long back would be a hindrance?

The RP is great for reactive dogs, especially those who don't have an "off switch." It's also boring. If you do it, I HIGHLY recommend downloading the MP3 files from Champion of my Heart. So much easier than trying to read at the same time. :)

Crystal Thompson said...

Laura, I love you. :)

Maisy has a REALLY strong paw target to hand, and a crummy nose target to hand. I know a gate vs. a hand is different... but do you think it's different enough to make a difference? Is it better to do a target to a gate vs. a target lying on the floor? I've heard it's much harder to fade out the floor target?

We've been playing with some small Altoid like tins the past few days. Half-heartedly, but still.

LOL forever at #3.

Let's plan a tricks date night, okay?

Ninso said...

I just started working on scent articles with Jun. I tried to just do them plain, but she wasn't using her nose at all. A tiny dab of PB anf gradually decresing the amount has been working well for us.

I need to get back into tricks too. I've just had such a hard time with them lately. I always seem to get stuck at some point.

Rewarding Rover said...

Book Recs for the CPDT:

I'd try to get your hands on that Terry Ryan books about Coaching People. I don't have it, haven't read it, but there was a question or two on my test which involved very specific terms relating to how you communicate with people. Despite being a school teacher, they were not terms I had ever heard of before. It's not a large portion of the test, but it might help.

You are pretty good with your learning theory, but if you feel you need to make sure you have all the terms and acronyms down then Excel-errated Learning by Pam Reid would be a good concise book for that. But if you have other books on basic beh. psych stuff then don't bother.

I think you'll do great. IMO, the hardest part for most people would be just really knowing the quadrants, and you already do. I think you'll find the test much easier than you think.

Crystal Thompson said...

I have Excel-erated Learning (it was the first dog book I ever read, yes I do everything backwards, lol), and someone lent me Terry Ryan's book. I'm two chapters into it. I'm glad to hear it's probably easier than I think. I totally psyched myself out on my LSW, too.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Well I think the paw to the gate is easier to teach as it's more fun for the dog and much easier to tell when the dog is "cheating" by not going 100% to the gate. I think if you're going to go with the nose it could help to either teach a sticky target for duration and thus clearer criteria and/or closing of a light drawer with the nose for strength. But then again I've never taught a nose based go out :) Paw to gate has the downside of dogs getting too excited and smashing the gate down, or dogs being a little scared of the gate moving on their touch. If you're doing a touched based target to me it makes the most since to have the target be the gate/wall/stanchion as you always have it in the ring.

If you're not doing a touch based target you obviously need to have the target on the floor and i don't think there's anything wrong with that. But I personally want something that I'm always going to have in the ring.

I will join you for trick training any day! Just tell me when :)

Crystal Thompson said...

And good god, if Maisy ever knocks a gate over it will take MONTHS to overcome that. Skittish little thing, she is.

You must have to do a LOT of training with different gates/stanchions, then? Or are there not that many different kinds to worry about the generalizing?

We worked on retrieving a metal object today. I wasn't worrying about scent, but I'll probably add that in tomorrow.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Not as much as I should! There's not that much variety around here. Unfortunately TCOTC is the only one that uses the solid barrier that I of course get the most practice on. Most other places uses either PVC or wood stretchy gating thing with the stanchions (like at the agile canine trial). Solid walls also happen at Total Recall. Most people hate solid walls since there's no central stanchion to put their food or target on, but walls are what I get the practice with the 2nd most since I don't go to run throughs hardly ever I practice on random walls when I'm out and about.

I hate scent work but it's not that hard to train. You just have to do it! And of course build confidence like crazy.

Sara Reusche said...

Tricks: somersault!

You could pass the CPDT exam today, so no need to crystal about it. ;)

Crystal Thompson said...

LOL I do love Dobby's somersault. I can't wait until you've got that on cue. <3 the Derpy Dog.

And I crystal about everything, therefore...

Janet Finlay said...

Great list! You've spurred me into doing the RP too - for much the same reasons. Interesting to think through goals like this - might have to do a similar exercise myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

Jen Gerrity said...

I've been doing food on the scent articles, and we've moved down to a peg board with the unscented articles tied-down. Of course, that means that Scorch uses his nose about half the time, and the other half (when he's too excited) is spent nudging the articles to see which one isn't tied down.

So now I have to fasten them with longer ties. :)

Nose games were a great foundation because Scorch wasn't a naturally nosey dog. So we got metal cookie tins, poked holes in them, and I'd put a treat in one of them and scent it with my hands. Then I started adding dumbbells to the inside of the scented tins. That way he searched for the treat, rather than just licking the dumbbell or doing a "fun retrieve".

Still a work in progress, but it's a lot of fun!

Crystal Thompson said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Jen. Based on that, I think I'll avoid using the tie-down method; I've already got a problem with her nudging her dumbbell before she picks it up!

Tegan said...

Some dog trick ideas for you: chin target (or any other body part targeting), go anticlockwise and clockwise around an object, standing on hind legs, "lick your lips", "show your teeth", "where's your tail?"

Good luck for 2012. :)

Ninso said...

Here are some trick ideas!


Crystal Thompson said...

You guys are awesome- I love all the ideas! :)

Joanna said...

As far as showing off to friends and family goes, Dragon's best trick is backing up, doing a handstand against the wall (though he don't practice it enough for him to be able to reliably do it), and scent articles using common household objects like pens.

Advanced tricks I plan to teach some day: grabbing his tail, hot dog retrieve, blowing bubbles with his nose in a bowl of water, roll over and cover yourself in a blanket, concept training of "left" vs "right" targets and "high" vs "low" targets, run out and back up towards me, sitting up and hugging a toy (we started on this but took an extended break because he wasn't getting it).

Oh gosh, I did a bit of the relaxation protocol with Dragon but then I completely forgot about the whole thing. I doubt I'll bother to go back to it, there are so many more interesting things to train...

When I started scent articles, Dragon had already had a lot of Nosework training. Initially I taught him to retrieve a single canning ring. Once he was doing that consistently, I started rubbing my hands on it vigorously to really make my scent salient. He noticed the difference right away -- the first few times, he sniffed it and then balked before picking it up. (Some posters to ClickCompObed have written that if they rub their hands on the articles too much, their dogs delay in picking up the article; the smell seems to be overpowering.) After that I introduced one and then two more canning rings without my scent fresh on them. At first I let him see me rub one ring and put it next to the others, and he would run right for it. Then I started using my body to block his line of sight, and he figured out almost immediately that he could sniff out the correct one. This was my first time teaching this exercise, and I was surprised at how easily Dragon took to it. I was happy that I didn't have to worry about fading props like food smeared on the articles.

I'm not sure whether I'll get certified by the CCPDT. I'd like to, in order to have some formal credentials, but it's so expensive. But I've been keeping track of my teaching hours so that I can make the decision once I've reached 300. (161.5 more to go!)

Have you read Dogs, by the Coppingers? That's the first one that comes to mind which isn't about learning theory but taught me a lot about dogs.

Crystal Thompson said...

Joanna, I have the Coppingers' book in my stack of things to read. Another friend highly recommended it as well.

Thanks for all your trick ideas. :)

Anonymous said...

Crystal, I love how much you love your dog!

Here are some of Sylvie's tricks, although you probably have enough already to keep Maisy busy for a while:

Bring me my slippers (she has to find them too)

Put your toys away in the toy bin

Carry my socks up the stairs and put them in my sock drawer when I'm doing laundry

Put paper scraps in the recycle bag

Patty cake

At my old apartment she would turn on the lights for me on dark winter mornings, but now all my light-switches require opposeable thumbs

Walk on my feet (she's terrible at this trick but loves to work on it because the pay rate is so high)

Balance on front feet (cue is "Do your yoga!")

Play piano

Jump up on things/into my arms

Jump over/through/straight up in the air ...it's cute when I make a 4-shape with my legs and she jumps thru like a champ

Roll over

Left/right... last winter I had her pull me around on xc skis which was hilarious because she's a little 13lb terrier

Give me a kiss (I think this is gross but I use it as reward)

Scratch the sandpaper board to file down her claws because she was so scared of the groomer

Also I put her zoomies on cue and sometimes I use that to break up tense barking interactions with other dogs at the park


Crystal Thompson said...

Thea, those are some GREAT suggestions. I especially love "patty cake." I will definitely steal that one. :)