Monday, June 22, 2009

LWLs with Deep Placements (includes videos)

Twin Ponds

Today we ran three short LWL retrieves with ducks placed well back from water's edge. Each of the three also presented cheating opportunities such as points or banks, but the dogs either ignored them or handled easily away from them.

Laddie displayed no problem with his water re-entries after picking up each bird. I would look at today's work as a matter of building habit rather than new learning. Since it hasn't been that long since Laddie had problems with water re-entries, I think it's worthwhile to build as much history of success as possible now that he's doing so well in this area.

Lumi doesn't have a problem with water re-entries, but sometimes she stalls at the pick-up, and in her last two tests, those stalls evolved into rolling in the grass. In one of the tests, the judges disqualified her as a result and she didn't get to run the next series.

In today's practice, none of her pick-ups were sterling, but I only interrupted the second one with a Walk Out. It's difficult to balance the opposing goals of zero tolerance for dawdling, versus maintaining a high rate of reinforcement (ROR) for correct responses. To achieve the latter goal, it's sometimes necessary to start with lower criteria and gradually raise them. For a dog with Lumi's long experience and generally advanced field skills, it's difficult understanding why it should be necessary to lower criteria on something as basic as picking up the bird, but I need to remember that a high ROR is just as important for her now as it was when she was first learning these skills.

Here's a video of Laddie performing his three retrieves:

Here's a video of Lumi performing her three retrieves, including the Walk Out on her first attempt at the second retrieve:

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