Ok, the race to the down between the legs is on! Vanya and I just played with the target (starting with what he already knows: run to the target, then we added run to the target and down on it, then run between my legs, then run to the target that's between my legs and down, then fade the target. Fading the target was the hard part: I used a piece of paper and folded it smaller and smaller. When it got to be 2 inches square, Vanya decided to eat it and the game was over the for moment. )
As Erin suggested, I found it hard to crank my head around, so for now, I stand as if I'm playing tennis, one foot in front of the other and he runs and downs between my legs, perpendicular to me, instead of backwards--yes, that's hard to understand.
Alas, I didn't videotape this extravaganza, so the taping will have to wait until he's ready for another round.
Getting the behavior is probably the easy part--doing it a zillion times and proofing it with increasing distractions is harder. Because we have snow or slush on the ground 10 months of the year (slight exaggeration), I think for a backup behavior in the face of stressful dogs, I'd probably need something that didn't involve Vanya belly-down in the snow. Hmm.
For now, we're also working on getting "sniffing the ground" on cue to help Vanya calm down in scary situations. When Vanya's in a novel, crowded environment, he either wants to scan, which can get him super-tense, or else sniff like mad, which can really calm him down. Emma Parsons in CTC suggested using sniffing the ground as a useful cued behavior, and we're doing that now. I'd much rather have him get into his tracking zone rather than his freakout zone when we show up somewhere new, or when we have to made a sudden exit off the trail into the woods when unleashed dogs show up.
Last edited by tiva
on February 22nd, 2010, 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.