As usual, I'm behind on my posts. Did I mention that I just started working again?
Anyways, I did say before that we had started a new class on contacts and weaves. I was pleased with Lexi's work in class, though she did break a few times (when we ran past her, when we FCd the first time) but she quickly learned the drill and seems to be doing much better.
Here's a quick list of some of the things we did in class to practice proofing:
-Run past, FC, BC, RC, throw a treat on the ground, do jumping jacks, say words that sound like the release word, etc..
-Test the dog's recognition of its release word by not moving your body at all, but saying your cue (no problem for Lexi, "okay!" is her favorite word!)
A couple things I tend to forget:
1. Remember, no reinforcement (or even a NRM) if the dog misses and has to be placed back on or has to try again. You can give a marker at that point "Yes, that's it!" but no reward.
2. Always reward the dog looking ahead with a low topline. You can work this my having the dog stretch and reach for the treat a bit. The dog should scoot its front legs to reach.
An interesting thing that I learned (that makes sense) is that dogs are usually more likely to break a 2o2o when the handler uses a front cross versus using a blind cross. This is because a FC puts pressure on the dog, but when you release the pressure (complete the cross), the pressure is released and the dog responds to the release of pressure by breaking. A blind cross never puts pressure on to begin with. Obviously not advocating one over the other, just something to think about (and train for!)
Here's a video of Lexi at home working on some of the things we practiced:
We also worked weaves in class and Lexi did great. Of course, we were only doing straight approaches, but that's when our instructor said that Lexi slowed down, collected, and go on her rear (HOORAY!).
A drill that I found particularly helpful was where you put your dog in a stay and lead out farther and farther into the weaves until eventually you can stand at the end of the weaves, then release your dog and they are to find the entrance and weave entirely on their own. The reason that this is helpful is that it teaches your dog to ignore your motion in the weaves. The weaves are the only obstacle where we want them to do that.
Here's more of Lexi's ball work: