Saturday, August 14, 2010

training challenge #2

I decided to perform an experiment this week to see if our chute problems were due to equipment or environmental situation. Since I must have science genes embedded somewhere deep within my genetic makeup (although they clearly weren't evident in ninth grade), I set this training challenge up using the scientific method.


1. Problem/Background research: Oreo refuses to do chute at agility class. All the other dogs in our class do the chute without a problem. They've all had the same teacher, chute, and environmental stressors.

2. Hypothesis: Oreo is a freak. Oreo refuses to do chute in situations he finds stressful. The chute itself is not the problem.

3. Experiment: Take familiar chute to different locations and see what makes Oreo freak out see if Oreo will perform chute in potentially stressful locations.

4. Observations: See notes and video below.

own backyard: Happy dog. I was also quite relaxed. No problemo.

mom & dad's yard: Dog did some scanning, due to collie across street barking, neighbors walking by, and having to do random terrorist check, but did the chute without hesitation. I was also not as relaxed as I am at home. Too concerned about what parents' neighbors must be thinking.

school playground field: Brand new place near our house! Dog had a lot of anxiety upon getting out of the car, given this was a totally new environment. Dog was scanning for terrorists a bit, but once he began going thru the chute, he was fine. No hesitation. I made sure to pump up my enthusiasm. Dog looked to be having that possible?

games agility field: Dog did chute with zero hesitation, even with cars pulling into the field. I threw in a jump or two before the chute to rev him up a bit. Complete success!

standard agility field: Put our chute next to regulation chute. This caused a bit of confusion. Duh. Couldn't really get much of a running start, since it was the first obstacle by the gate. First run, after an opt out move, dog suprisingly went thru regulation chute, and I gave him a jackpot of buffalo steak! Second run, dog went thru our chute, and I shouted lots of praise & kept running onto tire. As I was putting chute away, dog went thru it again on leash. Then again, under the tent, with people/dogs milling about. Treats galore.

Dog did choose chute that was closer to me. Was this done purposely? That will remain unanswered until further tests are conducted.

click here for youtube version if you can't view vimeo videos

5. Analysis of Data: Oreo will do our chute anywhere!

6. Conclusion: Oreo is a freak. I'm thoroughly confused. Oreo did the familiar chute in a variety situations, including ones he would normally find stressful. He was most hesitant in the standard ring, but he did perform BOTH chutes, despite stressors being present.

Results inconclusive.


Priscilla said...

Yay!! Great video! Well done Oreo :)
I think the conclusion is : Oreo feels that his chute should be present at each agility trial for him to choose :)

Jules said...

Very interesting....

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Now who is the overachiever? LOL!

Completely awesome training challenge for this week! Love the chute in so many locations, love the scientific method, love the video!!!

Oreo and I must be related - we are so much alike with this chute thing (ie. we are both freaks - LOL!) I will do my chute any where also. Go figure. It's too bad your results were inconclusive because you could've really helped us out too!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

PS. Best of luck at the trial! We're looking forward to hearing all about it!

Diana said...

Great Challenge!! Very well done. Its interesting how Oreo looked the most nervous in the standard ring. Maybe you can go there and just play ball with him in the ring and not do agility and see if it can help him relax. (maybe you already did that) . Anyway, great job. Diana

Dawn said...

Wow! Look how fast he is through that chute in the games ring with the jump first! He DOES look like he's having fun! How cute he wanted one lat chute as you were packing it up!

betty said...

Oreo speeds through the chute. Amelia likes the way Misty goes through. She says that he is careful. She wonders if she can do it. But, said that she wasn't a dog. See you soon.

Kathy said...

I like what Diana said about playing in the agility yard. Maybe he seemed more uncomfortable because there were two chutes so he was not sure what to choose or maybe when he has felt stress in the past at a trial so he has just decided the chute had something to do with it and that is why you get him just worrying about it once in awhile but not always??? I do notice the practice chute moves a lot, I wonder if you put some sandbags or stakes if that might make it feel more like the regulation chute that doesnt move at all, but funny thing you would think the moving would make it scarier and it sure seems he likes that more-so what we really need is Oreo to learn how to talk in our language and let us know what the deal is when he is not into the chute once in awhile ;-)...Great work to approach it scientifically, good JOB, you are a fantastic trainer and partner with Oreo, he is a lucky boy!!!!.

Rob said...

Hi Sara, Its strange the way dogs think and see things. Maybe its the event itself thats scary for him, being a smart dog he will know there is something different to normal even before you get there and for sure I would not be good on stage with all those scary people looking at me LOL! Anyway whatever the reason I'm looking forward to reading how you get on.

Marie said...

First, Oreo did a great job!

Next, I love Misty's "jump for joy".

Third, my training experiments are often inconclusive too. Sometimes the best I get are pieces of information here and there. But I usually find that if I stick with it, the pieces start to fit together eventually.