Wally vs Me: Day 2 - Arriba/Abajo | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wally vs Me: Day 2 - Arriba/Abajo

Freaking blogger...ugh. Extended downtime really stinks. Just totally. It stinks almost as bad Wally's poop when he's sick. Almost.

Anyway, things didn't go so well this time around:

Not nearly the same success as Day 1

As you can see, Wally struggled much more this time around.

And again, there was one distinct context that did it, if I called for the direction while I wasn't either at the top of bottom of the stairs. Another thing that got him a bit was calling for a direction right after. Like if he got to the top of the stairs on "arriba", if I called for "abajo" he'd get mixed up, especially at one spot where he can go up another "stair" or come down the stairs back to me.

So there's a gap in our training, the second major one uncovered in just two runs with these games. If nothing else, I'm glad I decided to do this for that reason alone. I never would have thought to do this otherwise since most of the time, I was focusing on training for "real" situations. It's not often (ever?) that I have him go up or down the stairs without me about to do the same, or going in that direction and I might want to have him go before or after me.

It is that situation, Wally did very well. He had no problems going up or down in that context.

I think I'm getting another "life lesson" of sorts about thinking on how to further extend a concept during training so that his knowledge can be more well-rounded. Pretty much a lesson in more generalization during training over time.

To Wally's credit, he does pick up on what's going on, and that shows up during these games. There will be a streak where he's very inconsistent or having no success on the first try, but then he'll start doing it as if it's no big deal. At that point, he's getting into a rhythm and having a run of successes. There seems to be something of a mindset he's having that might be getting in the way more than anything else. He knows how to do it in the sense of what behavior goes with that sound.

I think part of this is he gets an idea of what's going to happen next, and he's all geared up to do it, he's just waiting for the sound (i.e. the cue). Thing is, sometimes any sound that's close, he'll just go do whatever it was he was geared up to do.  I didn't count this in the game, but if I go "arriba" to send him up the stairs, "pare", to stop him about halfway, and then say "abajo", he'll keep going up, or if he comes back down, there's a lot of hesitation.

And I know there's one existing quirk where he'll be just so ready to do whatever just got him a reward and then gets that stuck in his head. It's almost like I need an "okay, reset your brain" cue!

Just some quirks that's coming up with the games. I imagine there will be some more gaps in the coming days since the challenge will probably go up for him. Perhaps I'll actually delay the other games a bit. That may be "cheating" but I want Wally to "win" anyway. On the other hand, it might not be a good idea since the point was also to see where we are as of now, so "teaching to the test" would disrupt that aspect, and maybe not to a lot to help him anyway if I'm not hitting on the areas that he's struggling in.

And hopefully, blogger won't be shutting me out again anytime soon. Tech problems: 1, Me: 0.