Friday, 10 February 2012

Slow it down

One of Stella's nicknames is zoom, zoom girl.  She definately has a lot of enthusiasm for life and does most things high speed.  While this is tremendously entertaining and fun it can also be interesting to train.  Now that we are both getting more comfortable with shaping she tends to want to zoom around offering everything she knows at warp speed.  This week we started working on slowing down.  I am rewarding for just sitting in heel position and giving attention.  We are working on holding a down stay for short periods etc.  I had a platform out today for her front feet to work on a front position and she was cracking me up spinning from one side of heel to the other with her front feet on the platform but eventually she slowed down enough to think about what I was asking for. 

One of the things I enjoyed most at clicker expo was watching extremely talented trainers work with dogs.  Kay Laurence provided some interesting tips about slowing our bodies and actions down when our dogs get into overdrive and it makes sense.  All of her movements from start to reward were executed very slowly with one hyper dog and you could see the dog take in that energy and calm itself down and think.  If a dog is fast moving but still thinking and "connecting" then this wouldn't apply as much.  It's nothing that I haven't heard from my trainer before but sometimes just seeing it in action gets through to the brain better.

My trainer has been trying to beat into my head that I am to much of a cheerleader when I work with my dogs and she is probably right :o).  I could get away with it with Riley more easily because of his personality but I will need to be quieter with Stella.  I have also been more quiet and aware of my body working with Riley and am noticing some good results.  This doesn't mean that I still don't cheerlead and play while training.  I take great joy in having fun with my dogs but perhaps I am more aware of when it is a suitable time for that. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh boy can I relate... Training Luna her tricks has always been challenging. part of me wished I had started the whole shaping/clicker idea more as A puppy as I really think that would help her "think" better. I will try and take your tips about moving slowly, sometimes I am better at this than others. She likes to paw and bark like made when she is frustrated or not wanting to think past the obvious. A goal this year is to work on more tricks, we finally got an official trick book, it will be fun to see how many more she can learn this year.