Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Generalizing is Hard

It's been raining a lot, so we haven't been able to practice much.  Bummer.

Anyway, today Jonah and I went and had a private dogwalk session with Grace.  It was really good, in that he wasn't perfect and we learned a lot.

The first two times over the dogwalk, he got in the yellow easily but broke his stride and trotted on part of it rather than striding confidently across.  I was a little surprised by this, as he's been on this dogwalk 100 times and isn't nervous about it.  Maybe he thought he was supposed to stop for a 2o2o.  I don't know.  Anyway, by the third time he was in his stride and was consistently jackpot-ing.

Then Grace made it harder :(.  Instead of having me throw the ball, she placed the ball out in front of the dogwalk.  Then she added a jump.  He was good about driving out to the jump today so long as I was ahead or parallel with him.  When I was behind him, he would slow down.  I think the ball really helps him drive forward when I'm behind.  So, even though it looks like we can mostly fade out the ball, we're going to keep working with it when I'm lagging behind so he keeps getting repetitions driving forward no matter where I am.

Next we tried different entries, and it actually did make a reasonable difference.  We had a curved tunnel to the dogwalk, which was fine.  Then I tried to run the tunnel the other way and have a harder entrance to the DW, and he lept.  Oops.  We also did tire to dogwalk with a sharp 90 degree turn.  It definitely changed his striding.  Grace wants us to keep working on that so he figures out to either add another stride or power through to hit his contact.

At the end I did dogwalk to tunnel and dogwalk to tire, both as pulls.  Unless I lead out or send him around something, I can't be enough ahead to push at this point in our training.

In sum, it was a great lesson because Grace pushed us out of our comfort zone.  I also learned that, just because Jonah is doing great at home, it doesn't mean that he'll be able to generalize instantly to other dogwalks in other locations.  Grace suggested that we do ring rentals at other places to try to get him exposure to lots of equipment.

So, the dogwalk project is far from finished, but we're well on the way!

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