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Old 03-19-2014, 05:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Everybody has bad days.

Pongu melts down frequently so we get to have a lot of them. I'd like to say I'm over it, but that would be a lie. I'm over NQ'ing in trials but I am often sad and frustrated when he can't function in just everyday training.

I think I figured out the breakthrough we needed, though. As with most such breakthroughs it was an old piece of information that I just wasn't ready to hear until a recent instructor beat me over the head with it.

So now we're doing a little better. But yeah we still have plenty of bad days. Again, everyone does.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Merciel View Post
Everybody has bad days.

Pongu melts down frequently so we get to have a lot of them. I'd like to say I'm over it, but that would be a lie. I'm over NQ'ing in trials but I am often sad and frustrated when he can't function in just everyday training.
Can you explain what he does when he 'melts down'? And can you now tell when he gets close to that point?
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yesterday, Bella (13 wks.) had an off day and it was evident pretty quickly. I stuffed some kibble in my pocket, for the first time on a walk to try to see if it may help her sit at each street crossing ? It did but I could tell her heart was just not into it. She did see a lady wearing some sort of hat and started barking, and another person she was more willing to accept a few pets. Later she was coaxed into taking a stick in her mouth and carrying it, she seemed content. I told her she was a good working dog and we brought the stick home together. Just a day that was not fast pace, good day, but a little aloof.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Can you explain what he does when he 'melts down'? And can you now tell when he gets close to that point?
For Pongu these days, a "meltdown" now means he gets so stressed that he can't focus or work appropriately during a training session.

Here's an example of a diagnostic exercise we did last month:


As you can see from the video, he's always close to that point. Pongu is stressed to the verge of breaking from the very beginning of that clip, even when I'm only about 12-13 feet away (the first Down cue). This is a familiar park and he has the extra safety blanket of the mat for reassurance and to help him remember what he's supposed to be doing, but he is over threshold for that entire video, comes really close to breaking at 0:43, and finally does break on the last repetition when I'm about 75' away.

So yeah I can always tell when he's close to going over threshold but that information, in and of itself, seldom does me much good.

What has changed is how I approach our training sessions, where I set criteria, and how I use play vs. food as motivators. We've only been on the "new" training method for about eight weeks but I'm already seeing promising results, so hopefully this helps us on our journey.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks Merciel - I can't see the video (IT police at work), but I'll be sure to look at it tonight! Great information!
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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so training was a snore-bore something to endure -- then you
" when we got home i took him outside and played with him for awhile...he was really into playing around with his new flirt pole. I hope it is just an off day with him.

too much fun at home .
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Oh I know right from the crazy bread half peice to the flirt pole...I really screwed up today.

insert walk of shame here.

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Old 03-19-2014, 07:17 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Skadi used to have a lot more days when she would be constantly testing. Now that she is settling she has fewer of them... Grim has been climbing on top of his crate lately :-)
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:34 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Merciel if I were that dog I would wonder what you are asking and when I was doing your bidding.

Your down is angry. The dog downs . You march march into the dog to give it a treat ? The dog pops up into a stand and you treat again.

Are you teaching and proofing the down? Then keep the dog down, quietly praise it while walking quietly around it . Your down gets more angry, the dog shows confusion. Each time you walk up to the down who has just downed , he rocks forward in anticipation of standing and receiving the treat.

Better result if there had been less repetitions. Better result if you had released and relaxed the dog intermittently -- burst of running and down on the spot .
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:15 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Are you teaching and proofing the down?
No, it's a diagnostic. I'm neither teaching nor proofing anything here.

The whole point is to do a stress test, that's why there are no movement breaks between repetitions and I'm moving farther away each time (12-13', then 25', then 50', then 75'). The goal is to see how Pongu responds at each level of raised criteria and how his movements change over the course of the exercise (and under the influence of increased stress) so that my instructor could see where exactly we needed to start work on his emotional state.
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