Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Some clarification on Kipling's teeter work...

I've received a few private emails and one comment on my YouTube video of Kipling's teeter that necessitate some clarification. There were two themes to these emails 1) Wow, he's WAY ahead of my puppy and 2) I can't believe you're training a teeter with a large breed puppy so young. Fair enough, on both points, back up with me a few steps and I'll explain the method to my madness (and trust me there's more method than madness).
September 6th, 2011: video still of tonight's session

A couple of weeks ago I went out to play the bang game with Kipling on the teeter, Kipling had been shaping 2o2o on the end of a board starting at about 14 weeks and had seen a plank a few days earlier. Kipling had quite a lot of success on the plank, enough so that I felt he was ready for the next steps.

Keep in mind that he's had (to this day) all of 3 sessions on the plank - the one session you saw on the video, one about a week ago and again tonight (video below). He's had only the one teeter session. He saw it - was massively successful and he won't see it again for a while - maybe twice more before the snow flies and remember I live in Vermont, so the snow could come at virtually any time now :-)

Back to the teeter session: the tip-point was set at about 8" - that's the lowest 'safe' (stable) height on my teeter, the angle of the video is deceiving I think - it certainly looks like the teeter is higher than it is...The bang game - my goal that session was to click and treat for any interaction with the board that involved the board moving. I fully expected front feet pushing it down while I eased the sharpness of the movement of the drop (at least initially). That was the plan. When he offered me the full behavior I elected to reward that (a lot) and get a few reps between play sessions rewarding that behavior.

September 6th, 2011: video still of tonight's session
Why do I think the bang game is important for a puppy? I like to introduce the teeter via the bang game not too long after I introduce the plank. Why? Generalization. I find the teeter is a lot harder for dogs to 'get' if they've generalized the plank/dogwalk as a board that doesn't move. Hey, we've done all this work on a gentle incline (from a brick or from a table), I can run up it and it doesn't move, I run down it and it doesn't move. But, the reality for agility is that sometimes (a lot of times) things move - and it's not just the teeter: tables move, dogwalks move sometimes too. It's best to get the idea that things move and that's perfectly OK right from the beginning. So, before Kipling generalized the plank as an immovable object I wanted him to have a formal session on something that moved.

September 6th, 2011: video still of tonight's session
Kipling had an awesome start on things that move and things to climb on - he'd seen the wobble board as a 10 week old puppy and he'd seen a really baby teeter in his puppy playpen as a wee baby (the latter almost too cute for words). Seeing a teeter is just one step in exposure to all things FUN!

Lastly, on the other half of the feedback I received, ut's really important not to judge your puppy by anyone else's puppy. It's human to do so - parents do it all the time with their children. I see someone with a puppy that does X and I have flashes of "wow, that's so ADVANCED", then I get over it. Puppy raising isn't a competition, anyone who makes it a competition is putting too much pressure on their puppy and it never pays off. Give yourself and your puppy a break.

You've prioritized your puppy's lessons and training sessions based on what you value most and what works in your household. In MY household I emphasize house manners, walking on a loose leash, stays/waits and shaping behaviors (probably my favorite part of puppy training actually) - with the assumption if I can instill 'how to learn' and 'learning is super fun' now at 8-52 weeks, I'll be able to teach that puppy (dog) ANYTHING later on down the road. Enjoy puppyhood - it's too short already!!!

Now, here's today's plank session - flat plank, on two bricks - 3" off the ground. Kipling is now 20 weeks old, as you can see he's adding some speed and the speed causes him to make a couple of mistakes. Video is edited to save time between plank and play reps - all reps are included however. Also note that Kipling is holding super waits as I lead out past the end of the plank.

1 comment:

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