Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Maintain Criteria! A rant about myself!

Perri was so-so in Rally class last night.  We practiced LAT in the lobby before entering the training room.  I tried to keep her focused on me and happy!happy! when I took her out of her crate.  She performed all of the exercises really well - including three very enthusiastic recalls!

One area that discouraged me so very much was her "heeling".  Head down, sniffy, know.  The usual.  And I did all the wrong things.  I patted my leg, I clapped, I "C'mon Perri!", I pulled the ham out.  And internally, I felt total misery and certainty that my dog will never ever ever ever ever ever heel with me.  I've been low about it until this afternoon.  I saw a thread on Facebook on an R+ Obedience group today and the poster was basically asking for advice on handling the exact situation that I experienced with Perri last night.

The responses were varied, but most pointed to the same answer, "You must maintain your criteria while heeling your dog."  


D'oh!  Would I let Perri drag over a jump and drop the bar and not reset her and make her jump it clean?  Would I let Perri come to front crooked and ignore it?  Would I let Perri blow the Aframe contact and proceed to the next obstacle?  Would I halt in a heel pattern and just ignore it if Perri didn't sit?
No. No. No! NO!  I would maintain my criteria, I would lower the bar.  I would use a platform to ensure a straight front, or back up if I saw her coming in crooked.  I would put her over the Aframe and break down her contact behavior on the end.  I would ask for a sit as as we approached our halt.

So why is it, then, that I am "happy" to continue walking and begging Perri to heel with me?  Why am I not saying an "Oops!" and restarting where our attention left off?  Doing the shortest possible version of the behavior so that she can be successful?  Why am I allowing my dog to fail to meet the criteria on one of the most important of all exercises?  Shame on me.  I would not cheer lead and beg on any other behavior that was being performed incorrectly - and I need to stop doing that with heeling.  If we can only make it a half a step at first, if we have to do serpentine spins the entire way to the next sign.  So be it.

Just something for me to think about.

Unrelated photo of Perri from this past Sunday!

No comments:

Post a Comment