Friday, February 19, 2010

The 80/20 'rule' and Downward Dog for Ellie

The 80/20 rule applied to dog training new behaviors goes something like this; at home, Ellie is about 80% reliable with two of her new shaped yoga dog behaviors. Get ready to show the husband the new behaviors being on cue, and that 80% turns to 20%. Or less.

I've been casually capturing and shaping Ellie's doggie play bow to put on cue as 'Puppy Stretch'. The play bow is the dog pose that gave rise (we think) to a common yoga pose known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, otherwise called Downward Facing Dog. In people, it's a great release for stress in the back, especially when done with attention to the action of the pelvis and hip joints in line with opening in the shoulder area.

Dogs already know this, which is probably why they do it on rising from their nap. So, it's a great spinal and hip release for the dog - why not put it on cue and encourage your dog to 'take the pose'. And, since Ellie's job is to be a Yoga Dog, what better asana (pose) for demonstration?

I prefer shaping behaviors whenever I can, so we've shaped puppy stretch. All this means is that, whenever Ellie would do her own stretch, I'd start with clicking and rewarding. Then, I added 'Puppy Stretch' as a cue as she was going into her stretch. Since I wasn't in a hurry to teach her the behavior on cue, I just kept doing this whenever I was there to see it.

Then, I started to ask for the behavior, and I started to do this when I could see that it was a likely behavior for her to do on her own. This is where we are, where I can ask for the behavior, when there are no distractions, and 7-8 times out of 10, she will Puppy Stretch on cue.

Her other behavior, by the way, is 'chin rest', which means for her to place her head on my upper thigh, with some weight. This can be a useful behavior for people in chairs and people who have general pain issues. This is an element of the SynergYoga program I'm working on with my friend, Laura, of Equality Dog Training, where we address chronic pain with the aid of the dog. More on that to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment