Thursday, July 29, 2010

not a fluke

Oreo had another stellar agility class night.

Yea! Last week wasn't a fluke!

This week, he was a bit more stressed when he first got out of the car. I think it may have had to do with my teacher's husband out on the riding lawn mower in close proximity. But, who really knows.

I was able to get Oreo to look toward me, so I could click/treat him for his attention. Then, he seemed to settle.

A few months ago, getting Oreo to look at me would have been almost impossible.

In class, we were working on obstacle discriminations.

Funny though, in my brain, the agility is always secondary. Keeping Oreo happy comes first.

Oreo did awesome with the agility. He got the tunnel/a-frame discrimination (he had to take the a-frame), which was good news. Remember how much trouble we had with that over the winter? He always took the tunnel. Hmmmm. Makes me wonder how long he had been suffering with some pain issues.

My teacher stood in the middle of the ring as judge and a couple class mates were in ring crew chairs. So, that was good practice.

I asked one of the girls if she would feed Oreo a piece of buffalo steak while she was sitting in the ring crew chair. She was wearing a big floppy hat, and is someone who is often at trials, but rarely comes to our class.

Like good ring crew staff, she turned her head to the side to avoid eye contact with Oreo, held out her hand, and Oreo walked over to her without any hesitation and took the meat. I was thrilled.

I won't bore you with all the details of our runs. Oreo had another super fast dogwalk! I couldn't believe it! Plus, I felt like his weave poles are getting speedier too. I had trouble keeping up with him at times. He did some sideways glances at people, but no stopping, or major rubbernecking.

In between runs, I left the door to his pen open so he could go in/out at will. I wanted to give him the opportunity to hang out near other humans/dogs, but be able to escape if needed. He stayed out most of the time, only going in his pen for the occasional drink of water.

Don't get me wrong, he wasn't interacting with any humans/dogs, but simply being in their presence in a relaxed state is progress.


Having fresh cooked red meat is certainly helping with this progress.

13 comments:

Dawn said...

Red meat huh? I thought Katie was pretty excited over chicken, but red meat could be my next big thing with her maybe.

Love the new header..love the nose too!

Diana said...

wow, taking a treat from the big hat women is a major achievement!!! Way to go! Diana

Sara said...

Dawn,
Oreo likes his medium rare.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I love the nose photo too!

Congratulations on another awesome class! Glad to hear last week wasn't a fluke and that Oreo was so relaxed. Keeping Oreo happy is more important than an agility stuff, I agree.

Gosh you guys are doing well with the RP from your twitter updates!

Holiday Inn vs. Holiday Inn Express - pretty goofy. But isn't the Express supposed to be the economy version - like Marriott vs. Courtyard by Marriot except that both of those are too expensive for me? It's all marketing, I'm sure. Trying to get more people to stay at Holiday Inns! I like Red Roof or Motel 6! LOL!

Sara said...

Ricky,
Well then, they should call it "Cheap Holiday Inn" and "Pricy Holiday Inn". Tell it like it is. They're not fooling anyone. LOL.

Priscilla said...

That's great!
Oreo is doing so well in class :) And I think you're doing a great job keeping him relaxed around people and other animals.

That's great that the woman with the big hat got to feed him and he wasn't scared at all!
Lucky boy gets red meat!!

Jules said...

Woo-hoo Oreo!! I am so glad he is enjoying himself so much.

Marie said...

Woohoo! Glad to hear all the progress that Oreo's making! I don't think that's odd at all that the agility is second place in your mind to Oreo's comfort. That's the way it should and needs to be for him to prosper. Good for you!

Kathy said...

Yea, good job Oreo!I am a VERY firm believer in the value of treats, that higher value treats transfer the value to what you want the dog to really enjoy. I use lower value treats for rewarding next to me for when I want my dog working away from me, I use the lower value ones for when they come to me and the super high exciting treats for rewarding when they go out, or I use the really high value sardines for hitting a contact behavior and holding which is hard for my dogs and kibble for releasing which is what they really want to do. I imagine red meat has to be helping at least a little. Adds a whole new layer of training ;-)

Sara said...

Kathy, Your comment is fascinating to me! I knew the concept of high/low value treats, but never heard it applied in such a way. How cool. Thanks. I'm going to keep that in mind.

AC said...

Love to hear good news! That's huge that Oreo looked at you...(so funny to say that, but I know what you mean here. It's always a good outing if Kona can look at me.)

I really like that your focus is on Oreo being happy. I wish more people approached training this way. I don't think it matters if the dog is an agility champion or in puppy kindergarten, it seems like a happy dog will work better/harder/learn more.

Josie said...

Sara,
I wasn't exactly sure what was going on since I've been gone for a while. So I went back and read so I could catch up on Oreo and Misty. So glad to see all those nice videos and pictures (LOVE THEM!), I can look at them all night and day! Oh and that hummingbird nest was remarkable. You can store them in a glass container. Keeps the dust off them. And people can admire it. What an awesome find. But the big new is Oreo's progress and your focus on his fun. Way to go!! All good news. So good to hear. Missed you and the pups. Glad to be back. Looking forward to reading more. Much love, MB, Josie and Blues

LauraK said...

That's so exciting! Oreo is getting so brave- it's been great to watch his journey of breaking out of his shell and becoming a super agility dog :) I think he wants that steak to keep on coming! You're doing such an awesome job with him Sara!