Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A night At The Casino: Day 1 results of teaching "Wipe Your Feet"

Well , well, well... who would've seen this coming?!  So, as a follow-up, I wanna fill you in on how the boys did on our introduction to our new cue.  It was fun for all, and there were a few night at the training casino would be complete without them! 

Those of you who may actually know my boys know some very basic personality traits.  If not, here's a little background:

Thomas (11 yr old hound mix)- LOVES food, can be very aloof if you can't compete with something "better", sometimes afraid to try the "in between" steps (it's major and sudden leaps for him... right or wrong).

Linus (5 yr old yellow Lab)- LOVES LOVES LOVES food, LOVES me, LOVES life, takes NOTHING seriously, often I am competing with his excitement over food to get him in a place of learning so he can actually EARN the treats.

Last night, a couple of hours after everyone had had dinner, I broke out 2 junk towels, some diced up refrigerated dog food, and a clicker.  Pups followed of course. 

We sat in the living room, a little bit of space between them, and towel in front of each dog.  One at a time, I showed them each a treat, laid it on the towel, then folded the towel over to cover it. 

This is where we combine some shaping and luring. 

I simply tapped the towel in front of each boy and said "find it", a cue they know but generally use their nose for locating something. 

Linus dove in with his schnoz, which was great, but the click/treat was delayed until he SET A PAW ONTO the towel, or move towards the towel if he was not going to be so eager.  In his case, he stepped on the towel quickly, so the click/treat was delivered.  We worked on that for a few repetitions.  He even did a couple of really, really good swipes with his paws at the towel.  That, my friends, is jackpot worthy! 

Meanwhile, I was encouraging Thomas.  He has a tendency to either just freak and start throwing out his token behaviors (i.e. shake, high five, speak, spin).  However, once I started clicking/treating his paw movement in the same way I was rewarding Linus, he started focusing.  But, he kept lying down thinking that was what I wanted (as if we were practicing "Go Lie Down". 

The kicker... at the very end of the session, I turned to Thomas to find the smarty paws actually grabbing the towel in his teeth to pull back the towel so he could get the treat.  LOL  LOL 

Overall, it was a great start and I look forward to practicing again today! 

Let me know how you and your dogs are doing!

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