Maddie started training today. It's not really "Agility" yet, since she has a lot of conditioning and shaping skills to learn. She did really well, VERY focused, and you could almost see those wheels in her mind turning.
It's a bit counter-intuitive. I've spend a lot of effort teaching Maddie to be a good dog. Lay down. Sit. Be quiet. Come/Stay, etc. The basics. However, now I'm conditioning her to present behaviors.
Let's say I put down a stack of newspapers. Instead of showing no interest in it and laying beside it, now she needs to start interacting with it and looking for me to tell her what I like. Do I want her to sit on it? Step on it? Nose it? Smell it? Paw it? Circle it? So now, I'm rewarding interacting with an object, which means I'm NOT rewarding her for what I used to-- lying still.
A bit reversed, right?
She stared at me head-on for quite a while today, but slowly she began to realize she wasn't getting treats when she laid down. So she stopped. HUGE! Tonight, she sat only, and she started interacting more with the object I put in front of her.
We'll keep working on it. She is SO excited about this, and you can tell she LOVES having tasks she has to figure out.
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