Problem Solving

As a dedicated SMART trainer, it's amazing how stumped I can be by simple problems at times.  I normally call on a friend or two or three or four for advice, but I was bound and determined to solve this one on my own today.

Bailey's newest rehab exercise is backing up, and then backing up around an object.  The end goal is backing up in a figure 8.  We could heel backwards in that pattern, but then she's really turning her head to the side.  We don't want that.  I tried to have her back up around an object on the floor but she just kept offering a 2on 2off behavior, because it has such a high history of reinforcement.  I tried using our duration chin target behavior and adding in a backing up part.  We got the packing up part, not the turning while backing up part.

So I discussed it with my boss today, who trains field dogs.  His advice?  Use a stake in the ground.

I put a stick in the ground weave pole out with the intention of clicking my dog for backing up to it.  Check.
Then I wanted to click for moving out of the way.  No check.  So I tried to "guide" her with my body pressure.  No check.  Then she hit it with her shoulder, CLICK!

Tonight I shaped Bailey to offer a shoulder target to a stick in the ground weave pole.  I moved around it like we do with the pivot box and she moved around it too.  Head sufficiently low enough for me to not be concerned about throwing her whole body out of whack.  Shoulder very solidly on the stick.  She thought that was a pretty cool game.

Next task, work the other side.  She was using her left shoulder tonight.  Tomorrow is time for the right shoulder!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I'm confused. If she's backing up in a figure 8 won't her head be turned because her body is curving? Is backing around an object better then backing around you??? Because backwards circles/fig8 around you would be way easier. Great job on the new trick though :)

Megan said...

I should have specified. It's the head up and turned sideways part that Dr. Julia doesn't like.

I tried to teach her to back up around my body a while back and failed miserably. I didn't have a better plan for this time, so I scratched that idea again.

I'd more than welcome suggestions for getting her to back up around me. She moves pretty awkwardly backwards (I'd assume due to her structure) so it's difficult for me!

Kristen said...

Helping you problem solve is more fun than solving my problems.

Great job!!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Well can she do a tight pivot in heel or side for a full 360? I base backwards circles around that as the pivoting basically is a backwards circle, it's just with you moving too. But I guess if her looking up at you is the concern then circles around you would have the same effect.

While I taught Vito backwards weaving based on the backwards circle, with Lance I experimented wit a different method. I based his backwards weaving off of his reverse to between my legs. So that method wouldn't have as much head tilting.