Sunday, March 29, 2009

Not much training this weekend, but lots of stuff

Hey all,

This weekend has been busy - today I had an agility trial, and yesterday I went to a friend's to train agility together. But first, I have some upsetting news.

Yesterday morning, either before I got up or while I was gone, Sparly barbered her right wing. She snipped all the primaries off in a nice short clip. If i were into clipping, it would be a great clip, all I would need to do is clean up the uneven ends and do the left side, and we'd be set. As it is, I find it totally depressing. Sparky was just getting her recall back, and we were starting to get in shape and into the training game. I guess she's grounded now for a while, and in the meantime I will have her do some non-flight training. She also snipped feathers on her chest and back, so she looks terrible, but it's the wings that are so important to her health. Maybe she'll molt soon.

The dogs, though have had a good weekend. Yesterday I went to my friend Annie's to practice together. All the dogs had a good session, and Annie got to run Bungee. She's the first person he has ever worked for besides me, and he really put effort into it, which was awesome to see. Dempsey's really showing promise when he's comfortable - he's FAST!

Today we had a show so we got up super early and headed out. Dempsey's 1st run was trigility, a team event where each dog runs a section of a course in turn. Poor Dempsey had never done a class like that before, and it completely blew his mind that other dogs could be in the ring and run a course. Plus, there were sheep less than 100 yards away, and he was sure he needed to check those things out and see what they were. So it was a long day for him, and tonight he's sacked out (which is awfully nice now that I think of it).

Bungee was a total professional, and we qualified for nationals with a really nice run. He and I really understand each other, and it is such a joy to play with him. It's taken years for us to get this level of understanding. I just am so grateful to be able to play with him.

Tomorrow it's back on track, and I'll be thinking about what Sparky can do while she's growing out her wings again

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun fun fun

we had an interesting day today. I did a little bit of work with Peepers between the 2 perches. I remembered to close the blinds, but that did help with his discomfort with going to the red perch. I am not certain what this was about, but we worked through it, and I will be sleeping on it and figuring out what I need to change to make Peepers more comfortable with the exercises. That video is here:

Sparky did another session of 101 things, and since I had a rough time keeping her attention yesterday, I set the timer and accepted just her moving the block towards her with her beak. It doesn't feel like a new behavior, but I think I need to be careful with this that I don't lose her interest before I can get the thinking portion of this down. I set the timer for 4 minutes, and that was a little bit ambitious. She was done at about 3:30 or so, but she did do more in that time than she did yesterday. So, I think I am on the right track with her.

Then the fun got started. My BF wanted to go get lunch, so I thought it would be a good idea to take Peepers with us to practice easy little behaviors in his carrier. So I pulled out the cage from yesterday's training, and Peepers immediately flew to the island and climbed in. We headed to Bostin Market, and when we got there, Peepers was off and running, targeting and waving like a little professional. I couldn't keep him busy with those through the entire lunch, so we also started a new behavior of dancing, which got him really going. Our finale was a duet of the Andy Griffith tune (remix), done loud and proud LOL. He was aware of his surroundings (we had a pause when one of the kids went to the dumpster about 50 feet away), but he was really focused and seemed to have a good time.

This is starting to get really fun. Sparky's getting into the whole training thing, and Peepers is starting to do fun stuff. I finally bought the PVC for a frame for the hoops and also some PVC for a pole to send Peepers out and round. And I have a harness to start working towards training for. Fun fun stuff.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fun with the birds

Well today was busy for the birds. Peepers had 2 sessions with new behaviors, and Sparky had one. The dogs, of course, did nothing so far :(.

The first session with Peepers I worked with the red and sisal perch on sends and recalls, and a couple of reps from perch to perch. I think I need to close the blinds for him in future sessions, but he was still a total rock star. Video:

Then I decided to work with Sparky on her own, and I think she needs to learn to think and do, so I did 101 things with her. I had had to start woth just hanging out on the kitchen island, which was done earlier in the day. We got to touching the block with her beak. I messed up this session, because I tried to make it too long for her attention span. She quit, and didn't come back for one last time :(. I'll be sure to shorten the session next time, but she did a great job. Video:

AND, now Peepers is getting to work on "ship it", which is getting into a carrier on cue. He had seen and been in this carrier, but it was well over a year ago, and he hadn't even set eyes on it since. I taped this, and in the tape, you can't see that the sides of the carrier have flaps in the cloth that are open, so he's not going into a closed up cave. But, Peepers was a star and was climbing in and out of the carrier by the end of the 8 minute session. Video:

While I was typing this, Peepers went back to the carrier and got right in. Joe got him an almond and I took it as a reminder to make sure I remove all the training stuff from the area. I want to be sure to reinforce every repetition and make sure nothing goes horribly wrong with the stuff I am training.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today I got to play with Peepers and Sparky again. I decided to build on yesterday's session, almost just for the sake of it :). Peepers rocked! I set up the perches side by side, and sent him to the red perch from different spots. That was going well, and for one rep, Peepers did a touch and go on the sisal perch before he went to the red one. shortly after that, it seemed like he was kind of interested in the sisal perch, and what it was doing there. I asked him to step onto it, and he did. Then he offered a short flight to it. Sweet! I ended the session by doing a little circle with him and sending him to each perch in turn. You just can't ask for more than that after you've been a dufus LOL. I hope this continues tomorrow, so we can add in directed flight and recalls from the perches.

I need to change up Sparky's routine a bit. I can't figure out if she's getting bored, or if she's just kind of an on again/off again kind of girl. Maybe what I can do is stationary behaviors for one bird and flighted for the other, and switch the 2 in the middle. Dunno, have to think on it a bit. But she needs to learn new stuff :).

The dogs got no training today, as some friends came into town and that sucked up a bunch of time. I really hope to get back on track tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Geez, another title...

So today I finally got to play with Dempsey and the parrots. Dempsey got to practice his weave poles and box turn, while the birds worked on recalls and sends around the evil sisal perch.

So Dempsey's weaves were better than expected given that he's had over a week off from practicing them. he had some trouble getting into them, then in one of the spots where I had closed the poles last time, he popped out. I guess that was a little too hard to get back into. But, after I opened the one spot about an inch, he just plowed right through like he had been doing it all along. So I closed up the last poles and inch or so and he thought he could totally handle that.

Like I said, Peepers and Sparky worked on recalls and sends, near the sisal perch. You can see the video here: You can see I sent Peepers towards the sisal perch to the red perch near it. I did one rep where I stood between the sisal and red perches, and sent Peepers to the red perch from there, but he was uncomfortable with that, so I went back to what he was more comfortable with. I mixed in recalls for Sparky in between Peepers reps. This is one thing I can do with the birds that I can do with the dogs - play with them both at the same time. the dogs swallow so fast that I don't have time to cue another one.

I'm hoping tomorrow to continue with the stuff I did today, apparently that's enough for my plate right now LOL

Monday, March 23, 2009

What a good break

Hey all,

I took a day off after my disastrous "work" with Peepers and the sisal perch. I needed to regroup and work through my issues with pushing too hard and really just being dense.

So today was a busy and really kind of disturbing day for the birds. The cleaner came, and so they were outside with Bungee and Dempsey for part of the day. when the cleaner was almost done, I wanted to move Tiny (our foster pony-sized dog) outside and bring in the little ones. So I did this, and left the birds outside. Peepers blew an absolute hissy fit, and was scared to death of Tiny (who wasn't that interested). So I moved the birds inside, which removed the immediate problem, but still left Peepers a little upset and discombobulated.

A little later, I decided to try training, but since I knew Peepers was having a rough day, I decided to start easy. I did step-ups and recalls with both birds, then took a break. After a bit, we got going again, and this time I pulled out the red perch to do some sends to it. Peepers did very well. He was very distracted, but every time I said "ready" he would focus on the perch, and he went straight to it when I cued him with "go". Every time. It was cool, because he'd be looking around, clearly upset, then when asked would just get right in the groove. It's the kind of thing I really love to see, and gives me a good glimpse of what is possible.

Naturally I haven't done a thing with the dogs. maybe tomorrow...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Boy, when I mess things up...

Well, the 2 sessions I have had with Peepers and the sisal perch have been just yucky. The 2nd taped session (here: ) I thought that he would be ready to progress really quickly, like he did before. So, I brought the red perch out and tried to be ready for the fantastic session I was sure was coming.

Peepers wasn't in any way ready for my optimistic agenda. I tried to be sensitive to what was going on with him, but the fact is, I married my agenda on this session, and not much was accomplished as a result. bleh. I hate it when I do things like this. I know better. I really do. And, on top of that, we don't have a timeline that I have to work with on this one. There's just no good reason for me to get like this.

So, today I came into our session trying to be sure that Peepers was ready for the next steps, and not getting too attached to my agenda. Peepers came into our session a little jumpy, it was very strange. I did notice this, and I tried to back off a little bit so that he wouldn't feel too much pressure. I managed this, but then I was stoopid and moved the perch to clean the crumbs off the island. That scared Peepers and he didn't want to touch the perch anymore. So I tried to salvage the session. You can see it here:

Sometimes my asperations and goals get way too high for the current situation. I guess it's time to reevaluate everything and come back fresh tomorrow for Peepers.

Dempsey hasn't gotten to play with me at all. I really need to get back on track with all of this. Tomorrow morning I have agility practice with my friend, and then hopefully when I get back I can get some good training in with the birds.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who knew we could move this fast?

So today I finally got to train just a little bot with Dempsey and Peepers. The new dog has been a little bit of a drain on my time, but we may be settling into a routine that will allow me to get back into the training that I've been doing.

So Dempsey got to work on his box turn. This is the first time we've done anything for 5 days, so I expected that I would almost have to start completely over with this. Dempsey needed to be reminded once that the box was the key to me throwing the ball, but we needed to keep really working the idea that 3 feet needed to get on the box. Overall, we had a good session, with a bunch of 3 foot turns towards the end. All that work was hard for Dempsey, though. He came out of the session with all the wrinkles that usually mean he has been thinking really hard about the project we've been working on.

Peepers got a session working with the sisal rope perch. I had one session before this one (I think I wrote about it here already), but I hadn't done anything with it since, besides keeping it near a bowl of strawberries to keep Peepers away from them. Anyway, the plan was to work the same way again, asking Peepers to do other things near the perch. He relaxed so quickly that I decided to try and ask for direct interaction with the perch. Peepers was a star, and by the end of the session was stepping up onto the perch and staying there to eat his almonds. I taped this one, and it is here:

So my plan now is to do a few sends and recalls to and from the sisal perch, then add in the red perch and go back and forth. Then, we get to add in hoops to fly through. This is starting to get fun :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

trying to get back into the routine

Well, it's been a coupla days, but I swear I have a good excuse. I took in a large dog who is a bit of a high maintenance dog. He has fairly major orthopedic issues, and also is a bit of a picky eater, probably because many foods make him ill. AND my dogs hate him. So I've been really busy trying to find a good management routine for all of us. It's kept me busy, so the dogs haven't gotten any training at all.

But, I did play with Peepers and Sparky a bit today. Joe managed to cover another PVC perch I have with sisal rope, so I thought I would see how Peepers reacted to it. He was really scared of it, so I decided to work with him like I had planned on with the red perch - just ask him to do tricks in the same general vicinity as the perch. He managed to wave with either foot and to target while he was on one corner of the kitchen island and the perch was on the other. That was asking a lot, so my plan is to video these sessions, because I think there's a lot of potential good learning that will happen with this perch.

Sparky did a few recalls, but wasn't as excited about training as she had been before our little 2 day break. I guess I need to make sure she gets her time every day just to keep her enthusiasm up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dunno what to title this, but it was good

Hey all,

Today was a busy training day, it was so beautiful out I guess I was inspired to add a couple more training sessions.

Peepers got the first session, which was #5 with the red perch. I had gotten some suggestions for improving our sessions, so although I started the session with a clicker, I got rid of it shortly after we started. I also held the perch so that it moved less (I was able to stop it from rolling, but not from shifting around a little). He got right into the whole thing, and we ended the session by stepping onto the perch. Woohoo! Video here: On a side note, this put so much pressure on him, he really started biting his nails. I can relate - I'm a nail biter too :).

Later in the day, we did another session with the perch, and Peepers progressed to flying to the perch while it was fully set up. I taped this also, and will check to see if you can actually see anything in the video. I tried to put it within view, but I'm really not sure if it worked out. Peepers did a great job, though, and we finished really strong.

During the second session, Sparky decided she wanted to do recalls, so I tried to fit her in while Peepers was munching on his almonds. She's just so cute, I guess I will have to work on teaching her to station while I play with Peepers, since it's really not fair to him when she does that.

Dempsey got to practice weaving and his new skill, box turns for flyball. He was a rock star for his weave session! I was able to close 6 more poles, and he really worked all the poles, you can see he's thinking it through and trying to get everything right. I need to tape again, although I suppose the steps are so small that it may not show well on video.

Dempsey also worked his tail off when we practiced his box turns. This was session #3 of shaping a turn, and in this one, we got to the point where he goes to the box, and puts three feet on it. He started by putting his back feet on, so now I can click when his front foot hits the box, and he naturally puts on his back in his effort to come back to me for the treat. Once again, I guess I need to tape this. But he's making just super progress on this, even though it totally exhausts him.

Tomorrow should be another great day for these guys. I am hoping to really start some fun stuff with Peepers in the next day or 2 involving the red perch and hopefully another one. And who knows how quick Dempsey will be with his skillz :).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not too much training

Today so far the only animals that have gotten any training are the parrots. peepers had session #4 with the perch, he started to put weight on the perch today. it wasn't very eventful, but I did tape it, and am posting it to youtube in 2 clips here: and here:

Sparky practiced her recalls while Peepers worked. She's really getting back into everything, which is so nice to see. She has such a sweet little personality, and it really shows when she works. I'll be taping her sessions more now, since she's also managing to ignore the camera instead of attacking it. (Ok, I just reread this, and in one paragraph I describe this bird as sweet, and also how she attacks cameras. Kind of funny :))

My big project today while the house was cleaned was to figure out how to split up the previous sessions so I could download them to youtube. I finally got it, and am going to add the links in the right spots. I feel like my grandparents must've when I had to teach them how to use the VCR - I just can't imagine why they don't make software an adult can use. I guess I need a 12 year old :).

Peepers sessions are starting to get really long, and he just wants to keep working. I need to set up a system where the sessions don't last much more than 10 minutes, so neither one of us gets sour on all of it. I'm better off with more shorter sessions, it helps keep enthusiasm up.

I'll post if anything more interesting happens today, but I kind of doubt it will, as I really feel like I could just go to bed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Ok, so I didn't post yesterday, but i did do some training.

I started yesterday (Saturday) by going over to my friend Annie's with bungee and dempsey and practicing agility. Both dogs did really well, we seem to have hit on a way for Dempsey to have a running a-frame, which I think is important to save his shoulders from wear and tear. In addition, Annie has a set of 6 slanted weave poles, so we took them out and let Dempsey practice his new behavior in her yard. Once he figured out that yes, in fact there is such a thing as weaving in places other than our own backyard, he did fantastic. He even demo'd his leap-n-wiggle thru the last 4 poles behavior for Annie, and she thought it was darn funny :).

When I got home, I got out the red perch and worked with Peepers some more on it. I decided he needed to touch the red part to get clicked, and within a really short time he was touching away. He was still nervous, but he's so willing to try things that each rep makes him more brave in the face of scary things. I only had a few minutes, so Sparky only got a few reps of stepping up for almond pieces before I needed to leave. But it was a really good day. Oh, and video here: and here:

Today was also a big training day. We started by taking Bungee, Dempsey and Sidney over to a flyball practice. Bungee and Sid have done it before, but Dempsey's only even seen flyball from a distance once in his life. Bungee was his usual rockstar self - he went out there and played the game like he had been doing it every weekend for the past 2 years, when in fact he hasn't even seen any of the equipment for 2 years. His turn on the box didn't detriorate at all, and he still is passing into other dogs like he always has. Dempsey really impressed me - he did recalls in his lane while another dog was running down the other lane, and he just thought that was easy as pie. And he's fast. They both really impressed the team, and we were asked to join them this next weekend for a tournament in California. I haven't decided yet, but it would be fun for Bungee to get in the lanes again. Sidney got to have a turn, and showed everyone that the old man still has it. Man, I love playing with that dog.

So I came home and built a ramp that looks like the front of a flyball box for Dempsey to learn how to turn. I'll be taping these sessions, and posting them, so hopefully he'll progress at least somewhat well. After that is was back to training Peepers and the perch.

He was a superstar!!! Today I thought I could get Peepers to touch the perch with his foot. it turns out he thought that was an ok plan, too, and for his last rep he even started to put some weight on the perch. It was totally awesome. The change in his demeanor from tape #1 to #3 is just ridiculous, he's almost totally calm now around the perch. I suppose if nothing goes horribly wrong he'll be standing on it tomorrow. Video:

While I was playing with Peepers, Sparky suddenly decided she wanted to start doing recalls again for the first time in something like 4 years. So that was super exciting. I guess once the ball starts rolling, we really gain momentum LOL.

I'm almost done for the day, I may train Dempsey in the weaves, and may or may not start the box turn. The parrots will get to do some recalls for fun before they go to bed. Tomorrow is cleaning day, so they may or may not get to play tomorrow, but I'm pretty excited about the progress everyone is making, so I may just have to figure out some time to see what happend tomorrow.

EDIT: Youtube is giving me fits trying to post my videos. I'm still working on dowloading the 2 videos of Peepers - they been rejected because they're a little too long. So I am either finding a new home for them or learning how to use the video editing software I have. Either way I hope to have it done by the end of today (3/9/09)

Friday, March 6, 2009

new skills, little twists

hey all,

Today when I worked with Dempsey, he started the session looking at the sky and barking, rather than really working. I think this is how he shows the stress of the job I am asking him to do. He worked through it, and did some nice reps of all 12 poles, but I think I need to find a way to help him through the tough stuff. In any case, I taped it (I really thought we would have another great session like yesterday), and it's here:

I thought a lot about what I wanted to do next with Peepers. Historically, he's been frightened of the perches I built for my original parrot agility project, so I thought a good start may be to work with him on dealing with those perches. The perches are PVC covered in vetwrap, one blue and one red. The blue one is getting a makeover (for some reason it gets disturbingly sticky in some weather), so I chose the red one. When I thought about how best to go about teaching Peepers that it's not scary, some of the more typical suggestions didn't seem to fit what my goals are (in the end, it's not just that I don't want him to be frightened, I want him to be enthusiastic about working with/around it.

So, since the perches kind of come apart, I put the perch portion of it on the kitchen island where we have been playing for a week. My original thought was to just have the perch there, and we would do other things around it, giving Peepers the idea that it's not dangerous just sitting there. I wasn't prepared for Peepers' reaction.

I set the perch down, and then went to get the clicker and treats. While I was doing that, Peepers flew to the island and immediately started circling the perch. That completely changed my plans for this session. We went straight to "do something with the perch". Kind of 101 things, although I have a behavior that I want in the end is for him to step onto it. Anyway, I taped the session, and it's here: . He did some really interesting stuff, so it's well worth watching. And I did a bunch of different stuff too :).

Then sparky was acting kind of interested in training, so I played with her and targeting. I taped it, and please forgive the sorry state of her feathers - I went on vacation for a coupla weeks, and she snipped a good portion of her wing feathers. For those of you who noticed, it was at the same time that Peepers broke off his tail feathers. Anyway, Sparky learned a new skill, which was to go down the bars to touch the target. You can see when I first ask her to do it, she doesn't know what to do. It was a nice little piece of problem solving for her, as she doesn't usually think about how to do things much. the video is here:

I had a really nice lunch today with Nikki, and am feeling kind of energized about working towards a business for training parrots here in Phoenix, kind of like dog classes. I really think that parrots and their people could benefit from this, and group classes are a format that I think I am pretty good at. We'll see what I can do over the next few months to achieve this.

As a note, I am going to publish this now, and add in the links to videos as they go live on youtube, so if there's no link, please check back. These take a while to download, and I want to get the information about these sessions out because they really got kind of interesting.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just got a little bit done today

Today I am battling a migraine, so the only thing I've done so far is work with Dempsey in the weaves. It looks like I may have been right yesterday - he seems to have made the connection that he needs to do them all to get his cheese, and he seems to have made a commitment todo them. I was able to narrow 4 poles today, and I also started to move along the line just behind/with him to get him used to that idea. That's a heck of a lot of changes for the short sessions that I do (5 mins max), and he popped out once when I narrowed the poles, and once when I moved with him (that one was kind of interesting - poor guy tried to glance at me right before the very last pole, and missed the pole as a result). Other than that he was being the professional that he thinks he is :).

I don't know if I'll do anything else today. I'm in bed and really just want to close my eyes until it goes away. If I manage anything, I will sure post about it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Geez louise, when I look at session #5, the first minute is all black. I'll be retrying and will let you know when I get it done right

Well the difference a few hours makes :)

I took Dempsey back out to work on the weave poles, and he was a rock star! I guess he must've thought about it, and decided that in fact, he could do the poles in a slightly different position. Or, since he didn't have to go to the bathroom, that made it easier :).

I also narrowed a couple of poles during this session, and I think Dempsey may have had an aha! moment. Previously, when I narrowed a pole, he would pop out at that spot, and go back in later in the poles. this time, he popped out, but instead of continuing down the line, he came back to me. Then, when I sent him thru the poles again, he just went ahead and did them all. I was able to narrow 2 mroe poles later in the session, and he never popped out again. I really hope that carries over, as we'll be able to progress a lot quicker if he commits to the idea that he must do them all.

I also played with the rest of the dogs. Bungee is still working on his "hold" behavior. Boy I suck at training it. And he's such a spaz that we just struggle to get anything accomplished. But, he is now gripping the bar for like a second, so maybe I'll be able to build on that. Sophie and Sidney went thru the tricks they already know, and really enjoyed themselves. Dempsey also got a quick training session during this time, and he worked on just putting his head down. Bungee's demo'ing the behavior in the shot above.
Well, I'm having some difficulty with youtube. Session #2 of Peepers 101 things for some reason was taken off, so here's a new link:
Session #5 is finally loaded:

going backwards...

hey, today Dempsey's session was a bit of a disaster. I had to move the poles over a little bit because he was digging into the ground so much as he pushed through the last pole, he was digging a hole at the exit. We went out after I did that, and he pretty much said he couldn't do the poles at all. We worked through it, but after I got a couple of successes, I quit so he could end on a positive note, and before he got too tired.

Shortly after that I let all the dogs out and Dempsey went to his private potty area, so maybe he needed to go while we were training. Dunno, so maybe I'll head back out later and see how he does. I just don't want to push him too hard if he's having a rough time.

Did session #5 with Peepers, and 1o1 things (It's downloading now to youtube). This time he picked the block up with his beak, took it with his foot, then back to his beak. I thought that seemed different enough, so that became the behavior I clicked. I really am just about done with this, although I could come back to it, when both of us are more used to thinking of and offering novel behaviors in other settings. I am sure that there are some behaviors he could do that don't involve his beak or feet, but right now neither one of us is really thinking about those. And I think that there must be a dimension to his thought process that would benefit from going outside our current box. But I get bored with this game, so I need to do other things. I'm thinking of working on recall next, and maybe sends. I'll either use a chair back, or some perches I made for this a while back.

Sparky was excited about the idea of training, so I took a wooden spoon over by her, and she immediately targeted to it like a champ. It's time for her to venture off her cage for training, so maybe tomorrow I'll work on that with her.

I still have yet to play with the other dogs, but it's time for dinner, so they'll have to wait until I've eaten :). Bungee's definitely getting a turn, and Dempsey maybe another one.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Things got kind of interesting...

Today was a pretty good day. Dempsey got to have 2 weave pole sessions, and Peepers got one session of 101 things. Both of them made some pretty good progress in their training.

Dempsey just is really getting the idea. Today he went right down the line of 12 poles over and over again, and now he's growling as he enters. i think he's getting the idea that he has to do all 12 poles, and he also thinks it's hard, so he growls as he goes to enter them. I also tried to move some of the poles more upright (#2,3,4,and 5 in stages), and each time, he would try and skip the pole that had changed and reenter at the point where they were the same as before. He worked through it, but I think that I need to be careful how I close the poles, cuz I think that the behavior is a little fragile right now. But I feel a real need to close the poles as quickly as I can. So we'll see how that goes, and how well I balance the 2.

Peepers has session #4 of 101 things today. Since I messed yesterday up, I worked really hard at just letting behavior happen, and clicking something new. Within a very short time Peepers had come up with picking the block up with one foot, taking it with his beak, and putting it in the other foot. That seemed super-clickable to me, so that was the behavior of the day. It was a fairly slow session, in that he didn't do a ton of clickable behaviors, but he was engaged and active. The session was cut a little short when Joe walked in and started talking to me. Peepers got a little offended by the interruption, and we also needed to go, so I didn't try and work through it. I have this video, and you can see at the end one of the day to day behaviors I've trained with him, which is to give things to me. It's a trade, so when he lets me have whatever it is he's playing with I give him something in return, which is usually an almond or a nutriberry. It's a handy behavior, since he's always getting into things.

I didn't work with anyone else today, cuz I had to run out. Sparky was only mildly interested in training anyway, so I don't think I really missed a big opportunity there. I do need to add Bungee back into the training mix, he thinks he's just going to DIE if he doesn't get a turn :). Maybe tomorrow...

K, so i am looking at the video of today's session, and really it is a lot of fun. First, Peepers goes thru each of the behaviors that he was reinforced for in each of the previous sessions. Then a quick pause, and then he comes up with his new behavior. This is only 30 seconds or so in. I just love to see that!

Monday, March 2, 2009

More progress than I thought

Well I got back from our trip yesterday, and today got back into training the critters. I was surprised by what was retained. Dempsey got right back into the weave training, and his footwork improved immensely from the 3 day break. I had Joe video it, and it's here: I was so relieved to see that we didn't take a million steps back in training, as I expected.

Peepers did session #3 of 101 things. I kind of messed it up, as I went into it with the idea of reinforcing Peepers picking up the block with his right foot, rather than just reinforcing anything new. He dealt with it ok, and of course I video'd it. He had a moment in the middle of the session where he just stopped doing anything for a bit, I think cuz it's getting a little confusing for him now. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

I thought today I would give Sparky a go at 101 things, but she decided today that she really didn't want to hang out on the kitchen island where I've been doing the sessions with Peepers. That was a surprise, but I just gave her some almonds for being on the island.

Session #2 for Peepers uploaded

Here's session #2. I'm hoping to train/tape #3 tonight.