I have figured out how to use Betsy’s camera to make very short videos! On July 31, when my parents visited, I had them test me on six of the sixteen behaviors of Level Two in Sue Ailsby’s training levels (which I introduced when I tested myself on L1, delved into further in “Click, treat, repeat,” then provided another update on our progress, and just a couple of days ago, provided the brain-twisting theory behind it all).
Now, as promised, the first batch of L2 test videos!
I wasn’t sure how strictly to judge myself, so I retested them the next day, August 1. I’ll give a synopsis of the criteria we are testing ourselves against, but if you want the details, read them here at Training Level Two.
The first day of testing (which has not been recorded for posterity here), Barnum was very peppy. Probably a combination of cooler weather and the presence of visitors (Oh boy, oh boy!). The following day, in the videos below, he is very mellow. Well, that’s the two sides to the Bouvier des Flandres — bouncing around and athletic, or floor spud, and not much in between!
Here’s our handling test. Test requires handling all paws, ears, and tail, without the dog fussing. On day one, I did it with him standing (because he was hyper), but that’s not typically how I do handling. I feel like he did pass it — he let my dad pick him up (twice!) so he could hold him to weigh him. I thought that was pretty good for someone he’s only met about three or four times. (For the record, Barnum weighed 64 pounds.)
But I wanted to redo it the way we normally do. Here’s the video-taped test, showing our usual style. Even though you can’t see it, I did do both hind feet (one I pulled a burr out between the toes) and his tail (what little of it there is got wagged, gently pulled, lifted, etc.). I didn’t caption it because my voice wasn’t working, so there’s no essentially no audio. I look like I’m speaking, but really I’m mostly mouthing and squeaking. Read the transcript/video description here.
Next is our “trick.” You can teach any trick you want. I chose ringing a bell to indicate he wants to go out. Barnum also knows various verbal and signed cues for ringing the bell. He did it better the previous day, but I felt that today’s was a pass, too. It’s closed-captioned. Read the transcript here.
This just in! August 10, 2010 —
Three times today, Barnum went to the bell, while I was in bed, and rang it to indicate he wanted to go out. Even better, each time I took him out, on lead, he PEED or POOPED immediately, and on cue! Woohoo! The “trick” is no longer just a trick — the connection has been made!
Now, back to the testing videos of 10 days ago. . . .
This is our Come Game test (captioned).
The dog has to come eagerly, straight to you from forty feet away.
When he did it yesterday, he ran faster/harder, but I still felt this was a pass. Read the transcript here.
This is our Zen (“Leave It”) test. Dog must stay off a treat in your hand for 10 seconds and off a treat on a couch or low table for five seconds. One cue only.
Barnum always does great with Zen. I wanted to make it clear I was not “guarding” the treat by being near it, which is why I moved it and moved far away from it and looked in another direction. That is raw beef heart he’s ignoring; even though he looks like he doesn’t care, it’s one of his favorite treats. I’m calling this a pass.
(It’s captioned, but not well. I did try my darndest; apologies.) Read the transcript here.
This is our targeting test — target sticks.
Dog must touch the end of a target stick.
I used the stick from the Alley-Oop (yellow tip), then the Manner’s Minder (love that one! — red tip), then the old-fashioned Karen Pryor stick (just metal, and mine is missing its tip).
I didn’t know I was holding some of them out of the range of the camera, but he actually did the very tip on the KPCT stick both times, which I was happy about, because it doesn’t even have its tip anymore, so it’s not as obvious as the other two.
Note: I’m doing something wrong in this video, see if you catch it!
Apologies — I could not get the captions to work with this video. They ended up being so ill-timed I thought they’d be more distracting than useful. Read the transcript here.
After seeing the video above I realized I often move the stick away as he’s going to touch it! Need to work on that! Also, since it’s in my left hand, I asked for many more touches on the left. Need to work on that, too. I still consider it a pass. We will continue to work with the sticks, and I’ll be more careful with those two issues.
Finally, after retesting “Go to Mat,” I decided it’s a fail!
Both days, he did not run to the mat, like I’m looking for, even though it’s not technically in the criteria (which is the dog goes to a mat from five feet away, with two cues or less, all four paws on the mat). I want a more enthusiastic response to the cue.
Here’s the closed-captioned video, anyway, of where we are in our process. See the transcript here.
Update: Some on the training levels list say he did pass this behavior, so I decided it’s technically a pass, but I’m going to keep working at it at this level anyway.
Thanks for watching! (And more videos on the way, as we have tested and passed three more behaviors, so far.) As ever, we welcome your comments!
-Sharon, Barnum, and the spirit of Gadget, who would’ve rocked the Levels, if he had but been given the chance!