Heelwork – part 2

In the last post Heelwork – part 1 I outlined the plan I had in my head for the pivoting. As we went along I had to modify it a little. The original aim was to shape a full circle on the platform, without my help. Unfortunately, due to rubbish reward placement I mentioned last time (i.e. rewarding mostly when she was facing me) I reached a learning dip. She would very nicely move around the plate – but only to about 45 degrees. As I was rewarding movement in both directions straight away, she would go the quarter of a circle and then go back the other way.

So, I had to change the plan. I’ve decided to ditch the attempts at shaping this, as it was getting us nowhere, and started luring the circle. This is one of the first attempts at a lure.

[Please ignore my clicking! It is horrendous in these two videos and I really should have not attempted to click when luring, as I clearly can’t cope with the two….]

We have lost quite a bit of precision, with her feet coming of the platform. This is most likely due to overshadowing (a great article written by Adrienne Janet Farricelli). Also, we have done some twists and spins (i.e. 360 degree turns in spot) without the platform, so this could add to the lack of focus for the platform itself.

In the second video I was a little bit more demanding with the feet placement and we have some improvement. I do need to be careful with the number of repetitions I ask for in each direction. I have also shortened the duration of the session as this is now becoming more demanding on her “little” legs. I do not want to over-exercise her, especially with this type of rotary movement.

The next step is to remove the food in my luring hand, and making the turns smoother. Once we achieve a high rate of success with a hand target, rather than lure, I will start to step next to the plate and click for contact between her shoulder and my knee/thigh.

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