Today I took Lyra for her first run through in many months. It is rare that I do a “run-through”. To me, that means I have pre-decided which exercises I will do, and mostly I ignore errors. I’m checking to see what needs work. I use no classic reinforcement until we leave the ring.
And I’m glad we did it!
Here’s Lyra’s run through. The heeling is mostly good; we need to work on her fast pace (which I knew) and smooth out her halts (which I also knew). We also need to work on moving into pressure areas, like corners and directly at people and dogs (which I did not know or had forgotten).
Her stand for exam was a disaster. We’ve been doing mostly moving stands and the signal exercise, so the ‘waiting’ didn’t make sense to her. I think she can master that exercise very quickly now that I’m more aware of it.
Her recall was noticable for a couple of reasons. One, her front is too far away and second, it’s crooked. Finally, her finish is very weak, and leaves her butt out.
Normally her recall is better than this, so I suspect it is the pressure of working close to ring gates that is causing the challenge.
When I returned to the ring I focused on one thing; the pressure of walls.
I bring my toy back in the ring for this work.
What I’m demonstrating with these two videos is this: Go ahead and test on occasion to see where you are at, but when it’s time to fix issues, isolate them and return to a high rate of reinforcement to help the dog understand what you are looking for.
On balance I was comfortable with these sessions. She worked nicely for simple personal praise and she also worked hard when I isolated the problem areas and pushed her to work correctly.
I also did her long sits and downs with this line-up; I know the dogs well and I felt very safe. She was perfect on both, even though she has never done a formal group stay before. We have done a TON of prep work on passive stays away from line-ups, so they generally transfer well unless your dog is nervous about other dogs, which Lyra is not.
You can see the “fixing” video here: