The girls were alone for several hours today. When I came home Cassie reacted strongly. Dave said that she did some pacing throughout the night as well.
I didn’t work on this until late and didn’t feel like setting up the equipment to video. So we worked with no video tonight. I focused on doing lots of backwards work, but mixed in some other moves as well. She really struggled with keeping her head down tonight during the backwards work only.
Since I am unable to ride my bike yet, Cassie has been getting minimal exercise. Hope tears around the yard and wears herself out, but not Cassie. So this morning I put Cassie on the treadmill for a couple miles. It’ll do in a pinch, but its not the same as a bike ride. At noon Cassie had her K9 Nosework class. The girls were alone for about 2 hours when I went to class and until Dave returned home. When I came home tonight, Cassie again had a full tilt barking fit as I pulled in the driveway. I fully expect that it will take 10 days to 2 weeks again of never missing a day of Rel Pro before she gets calmer again. Basically, by not doing it for a week we were back to square one. I’m having surgery on my knee next week and hope that will not sideline me more than a day or two and set her back again.
The video today focused on building duration out of sight. She did very well, but I did not go out of sight by the back door, I was in the hallway or bathroom. Also, I didn’t close the kitchen door
I was again gone for two hours, but in the afternoon. Cassie went tracking in the morning and the girls went with me to one session. Then I brought them home and went to another private. There was some barking when I came home, but not as much as yesterday.
I went back to basic Relaxation Protocol. In the video I’m trying to get her to maintain head down while I do a move, click and reinforce her. This is difficult because she keeps raising her head up when I go to deliver the treat.
I was gone for 2 hours this morning. Dave was home so the girls were not alone. But when I came home Cassie had a full-on barking and pawing at the door fit. I believe this was caused by a couple things. The girls have had almost no exercise since I wrecked my knee on the 9th, so they have a lot of pent up energy. I have put Cassie on the treadmill twice a week, but I don’t like to do it more than that as she has come up lame in the past when I’ve put her on the treadmill too often.
Also, because of my knee, we didn’t do much training until the other day. This just proves to me how important it is to do this procedure every day. Missing as many days as I did set her back.
I also feel I am pushing her too hard. I don’t think she is really ready for hard-core triggers yet. So I am going back to working on building duration while I am out of sight. And I’m not going to use the back door for training for a couple days. I will work on leaving the room and closing the door, not just going out of sight.
I did do videos today, but it wasn’t specifically separation anxiety work. I was filming videos for the book.
The girls were alone for several hours while I went downtown. There were 3-4 barks when I came home.
They came along with me on my two sessions this afternoon, and Cassie was a decoy for the second session. When I returned home, after they ate, we did our session. I focused on getting duration out of sight by the back door. I opened the screen door several times, letting it close on it’s own and reinforcing. Then I began to briefly step outside. She struggled slightly with this, but ended up doing well.
We got some great news today. Cassie was picked, in a blind draw, to be an entrant in the AKC Tracking Invitational in Clermont, Kentucky. I am so excited. All Champion Tracking dogs who qualified between January 1, 2005 through June 30, 2011 are eligible to enter. Only 10 dogs are picked. They had 46 We were drawn #3. We’ll be running on Saturday, Sept. 17th. Yeah!!!!!!
The girls were alone twice today. Once and lunch and again when I went to class. No barking when I returned from lunch, but a couple barks when I came home from class, even though Dave was home then.
Combining the key trigger with the back door movement is a real challenge for her. Because it felt like it was too much for her at this point in her training, I’ve decided to go back to working on duration out of sight before working on specific triggers again. The back door is a trigger itself but she is quite good when I go out of sight in any other direction, so I really need to work on the back door.
Today was my first day off crutches. Because I only did one session this past week, we did lose some ground. When I came home from lunch, she did bark several times.
We worked on keys. This was a very short session crammed in between other activities, so I didn’t video.
You will notice a gap of several days since the last video. I wrecked my knee and am on crutches. I did today’s video with difficulty because I didn’t want to lose any ground. So Cassie got a little unwanted break, unwanted because she loves to do this training and frequently asks me to train her.
There was one day this week when I had to go out and the girls were alone. When I returned, Cassie barked several times. A slight set-back. But I am attributing this to the fact that she got no exercise all week because of my knee, not did she get to do any fun training. So she was a little stressed.
To get her back in the swing of things, today we did out of sight work to get her back in the swing of things. I started by going into the pantry, then the hallway and finally towards the back door. The last trial I did actually open the screen door and step outside for a second, then return. She maintained a calm head down the whole time. Unfortunately the video camera ran out of juice and turned itself off.
Cassie had a busy day today. We went tracking this morning in anticipation of getting into the AKC Tracking Invitational–keep your fingers crossed we are chosen. She was fabulous and had no trouble crossing the various streets. The Invitational is not a straight VST test. It is more like a combo of VST (there is no moment of truth turn) and TDX, so there is some high cover. We have not worked high cover in a long time. Consequently, Cassie had a bit of trouble deciding to enter the cover, but ultimately did and what a wonderful job she did. She is awesome!!!
She also helped me with a couple privates today. She is invaluable for my work with reactive dogs and has helped rehabilitate many of them.
Tonight we did video 20. It was pouring rain, so I decided not to work on starting to go outside, my original plan. Instead we worked on triggers again, or more specifically keys. It went well, although she was clearly keeping a close eye on me when I picked up the keys, put them in the door, hid behind the open back door and moved the door a little as if to close it. She was successful and ended up putting her head down to get me to come back.