Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bad timing

I have really bad timing. Or maybe it's just lousy coordination. I swear I really can walk and chew gum at the same time - but you'd never believe it watching me trying to learn a new skill in agility.
Yesterday was Dax's and my first lesson in our new space ( with our instructor Dee - possibly the most patient teacher and best agility coach on the face of the earth. (She also has the #1 and #3 Airedale in the country! ) Our objective is to build a better working relationship between Dax and me - so that Dax knows what's expected of her, how to do it, and to do it at "squirrel-chasing speed."
One of the exercises we worked on was simple. I sit in a chair about 10 feet back from one set of 2x2 weave poles. As Dax goes through them, I click my clicker and toss a treat so the reward (cheese) is in line with where the rest of the weave poles will be when we add them.
Darned if I could click and throw simultaneously. Or throw straight. Or click when Dax was actually moving. Dee very gently pointed out that I was rewarding my dog for stopping instead of moving.
So today - I sat in the chair and practised throwing and clicking. Without Dax. Some days I practise agility with my dog. And some days, without her. Because practise makes perfect. And to mix many metaphors - someday I'm hoping to get to Carnegie Hall.
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1 comment:

Betsy said...

Ah, clicker training. An absolutely beautiful way to train a dog and VERY effective.
It has one major flaw...timing.
If you time it wrong, you are rewarding for something else.
Fortunately, dogs are pretty resilient and even with our foibles, still pick up the essence of what we need. If you click it correctly 90% of the time, you're doing well.
LOL on the coordination thing. It is VERY tough to do things perfectly when working with what I would almost call a perfect teacher.