Friday, November 18, 2011

Tess decides my trick is dumb

I did a shaping session this morning to teach Tess a new trick - putting her paw over her muzzle and eye in a "I'm so shamed" look. 

As she sat there and stared at me, and then bowed in front of me and stared, I decided to make my life easier and improve my chances of getting the behavior.

I put a piece of scotch tape on her muzzle. 

Tess was less than thrilled.  She curled her lip and then BAM, put her paw to the nose.


Click. Treat.

I did it again. 

Click. Treat.

After a couple repetitions the tape got less sticky so I put it on the table beside me and waited to see if she would offer it without the tape. 

Before I could react, Tess darted over, grabbed the tape, then chewed and swallowed as I frantically pried her mouth open and stuck my hand down her gullet. 

I guess that's what Tess thinks about me putting tape on her muzzle. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Showoff" moments and training thoughts

 Two show off moments in one post!!!!

Above is Tess performing a "bow", which she does on verbal command.  "Bow" sounds a lot like "Down", so I pronounce it "B-oh".  She started offering play bows when we were working on 2 on-2 off behaviors so on Sunday I took the opportunity to shape and name it.  Our biggest problem? - she should rather bow than lay down!  She'll bow and I'll ask her - "Uh oh! what happened to your back end??????" She's just starting to show hind in awareness and having her switch on verbal command between down, sit, bow, stand is good practice. 

This picture is Tess playing "Yer Choice" with treats on paws.  Unfortunately she took the opportunity while I snapped the picture to eat the piece of kibble off of her left paw.  Definitely a naughty moment to record in the training log. 

Yer choice is one of those games that I have to work continuously - if I go a couple of days, or a week without reinforcing it, she regresses.  Impulse control is a HUGE part of Tess's training and personality, so I'm not surprised that this is one of our top priority games. 

Did you notice where these pictures were taken?  In a parking lot.  I got to school early, parked and decided to have an improtue play session behind the car, and try to catch up on some show off photos.  Training can happen anytime, anywhere.  By training in as many different locations, I'm teaching my puppy that I am the most exciting thing and all good things come from me - no matter where we are.  On our way to the lecture building, 10 minutes after these photos were taken, we had a good tug/play/fetch session. 

How do I know that she was interested and engaged?  For the first time today, I didn't have to use the gentle leader to walk her form the parking lot to the lecture building - flat collar only and no pulling!  It's a miracle!.....or maybe she enjoyed the spontaneity. 

I just finished an article on working with high energy/high prey drive dogs and an important concept to integrate into the training sessions is unpredictability and spontaneity.  This is hard - I'm a very organized, "plan-ahead" person that easily falls into a rut of what I do where.....I literally have to plan ahead for spontaneity - but Tess doesn't have to know that - she just knows that this morning she got to eat her breakfast in the parking lot, and then played with her favorite toy on the lawn while walking to school - 2 things that had never happened before.