Saturday, March 04, 2017

Those Stolen Moments!

Since the time of my last post, I have managed to "steal" about 5 minutes of each day to work with Bandit on little training things.  Sometimes this makes my mornings extremely rushed, but I have managed to make it work.

At first Bandit was a bit hesitant.  It seemed like he expected that something not-so-good might happen when I led him off into the back bedroom by himself.  But now when I invite him back there to train, his eyes light up and he shoots back into the room!

We mainly work on Freestyle skills.  I often have him swing into side or heel position and we simply take a step forward or a step back, or he does a 360 right or a 360 left.  Of course we work spins and twirls and leg weaves and his paw tricks.

We also do a good deal of work on sustained focus - of course just one tiny step at a time!  I have devised a modified "Look at That" protocol where I click as his head begins to dip toward the floor and treat when he lifts his head back up.  He almost always raises his head back when he hears the click.

It is my hope that doing this consistently will teach him to self-interrupt and he will start to offer focus with a natural enthusiasm, all on his own.
Twice we have also worked on toe boards for Agility

Bandit working on his toe board 

At first I was not all that pleased that we have a very small space to work in during these "stolen" training sessions, but I am coming to see the small area as an advantage.  It is compelling us to work on tiny bits of behaviors:  click/treat for one step forward with his head up, getting two continuous leg weaves, moving forward and backward just one or two steps, tight turns, etc.

The best part of all of this is that I am starting to see changes in Bandit!  I am seeing a more eager and enthusiastic attitude toward training in general.  He is starting to move more willingly into heel or side position, even in more open spaces.  His sustained focus at Rally class was the best that it has ever been!

So, I am incredibly pleased, and Bandit and I will absolutely continue to steal these moments for daily training sessions.  The icing on the cake is that we both love this!  Win-win!


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