Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kippie and the Tippie (a shaping exercise)

Up side of tippy board.
A couple of my agility friends were kind enough to offer a loan of their tippy board for the wee one - well at least until Mister Kipling outgrows it anyway (which might be any time now). As a rule I don't do a lot of agility stuff with my puppies - there are so many other important fundamentals that I put ahead of agility skills. From my perspective, Kipling has all the time in the world to learn equipment skills once his mind and body are mature enough.

I do tend to start the teeter a bit earlier than other pieces - and I think that I'll start the teeter even earlier with Kipling than I did with Teller - lots and lots of cookies for stuff moving underneath your feet little Kippie!

Kipling is 12 weeks old today and has been 'home' with us for three weeks now - he was most certainly at 'home' with Kathy too (of course). Over those three weeks we've had some super break-throughs and some sessions where I've had to step back and remove my 'trainer' hat and put on my 'instructor' hat. Ebbs and flows really. Sessions are still really short - no more than five minutes - and to keep myself honest (because perspective is what it is) I always set a timer to hold me to five minutes. My goal is to finish well before the timer goes off - I've gotten really really good at hitting 4 minutes on the dot.
Highly technical pivoting apparatus (aka sock and ball)  

With all of these super-short sessions (maybe 5-6 a day), I've been meaning to do a 'what we're working on' video - the video below isn't that compilation - I promise that will come soon. This video is a pretty good indication that we're progressing on focus and attention and he is beginning to understand enough about the clicker to participate in a shaping exercise*. In the next few weeks there will be a few more shaping (or shaped) behaviors that I add into puppy routines as well.

For more information on shaping behaviors check out this blog entry:

This is Kipling's first session on the tippy-board. At this point I'm clicking for any interaction he offers me on the board. Pouncing is great, sits, downs - all good. Notice that he's offering me behaviors (noteably the down off the board) that I'm not clicking. I love that he's thinking and trying to figure out the puzzle, but that's not what I'm looking for in this session. Here's the un-edited session:

How to make a tippy board (or Buja Board):

The one I borrowed is a bit simpler - instead of the square housing for the ball, it's a ball in a sock stapled to the bottom of the board - which is visible in the video. Super simple to make if you have access to a table or circular saw...

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