'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Gwen Bailey - Clever Dog!

This was a pretty good book with some interesting ideas for tricks to train! Here are the ones I'm most wanting to teach to my girls:

1) The Retrieve: Jess already knows 'fetch', but is quite resistant to the idea of learning names for things. So I'm using shaping (as outlined in the book) to teach 'fetch' for individual items with Lola. We're currently shaping a mouth-touch to a ball, and when she starts picking it up I'll cue it for 'ball', rather than a generic 'fetch.'
2) Back Up: This is annother that J knows, cued as both 'back up' and 'back away' - aka, I was stupid and inconsistent when teaching it, and now I have to use both interchangably. I'll definitely try the slow-walk prompt, as outlined in the book, towards Lola to teach her though; it took weeks to fade the lure of my hand under Jess' stomach.
3) Go to Bed: Again, Jess knows this one; she goes to her bed when told to 'go to your box.' We use it mostly as a time-out zone (she tends to sleep on the floor, my chair, me, etc--never in her bed) to calm her down; particularly, now, with her and Lola going crazy for playing. I'll be using 'go to crate', and the method outlined, to get L to voluntarily retire to her crate.
4) Jump!: If I'm to do agility for fun with L when she's older, she's going to need to know to jump! Jess can jump through my linked hoop-shaped arms, and I'd like to teach L to do the same as well as to jump over the pole-jump. I won't be teaching the 'jump!' to Lola until she's at least six months old; and that will be very basic, and any increasing heights will be very gradual.
5) Take A Message: I'll definitely be teaching Lola to find a person on command! It looks like a lot of fun. We already do a very basic form of this in saying the name of a person as we're wandering through the house to find them. I'll have to wait until she can carry things before having her take messages, though.
6) Ring The Bell: This would be good to teach the girls so that they can let me know when they need the toilet. As it is, Jess goes out every few hours and Lola even more often; plus, L isn't mature enough (I don't think) to understand the sequence of ring bell > open kitchen & back door > allow to go and toilet. I might teach this to J and see if L picks it up when she's older.
7) Put Toys Away: It'd be fun to teach L this, but she needs to know the names of things first! I tried it with Jess a couple of months ago, and it bombed; J just didn't understand the concept. Maybe with shaping, though...
8) Find Lost Keys: Christ, this would be good to teach both girls (though I think Jess would be resistant to it--like I said, she just can't understand concepts such as toys=named things!); I'm the most careless person I know, constantly dropping this or that. I'll be using the outlined method in the book for this.
9) Carry Groceries: Not too sure about carrying groceries, but picking up and holding objects would be good to teach to L. At the moment, she would pretty much devour anything in her mouth though: she is still learning self-control. I'll be using the method in the book; and I'll be twisting it to teach her to hand back to me things I drop.
10) Bark and Quiet: Not too sure about 'bark' (I don't want to encourage them! they currently only bark in warning when the door goes, or in play; and in Lola's case, whilst in her crate, argh) but 'quiet' would definitely be useful to teach them! It'd be possible to teach L to bark on command (she'll bark/yap at squeaky toys, frex) but Jess very raaaarely barks.
11) Body Search: This would be a really fun party trick - and great for a Staffie/Beagle and a JRT to learn! I'll definitely use the method outlined to teach this, too.

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