'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

Friday, 28 January 2011

Working on: Paw and Leave It.

Aw yeah, guess who got some rechargable batteries for her camera, at last.

Today we've been working on paw and leave it, rather than our usual retrieve. The latter is something L knows (vaguely), but after seeing a video on It's Yer Choice I decided to push it much further with her. After just a single five-min session on this with her dinner, she seems to understand that even when my hand is open, she can't get the food if she's been told to leave it. That's a marked improvement on divebombing my hand as soon as my fingers even thought about cracking open.

Before today, L has never given her paw. I used capturing/shaping to get it: holding a treat in my loosely fisted hand, and putting it on the floor in front of her. I'm seriously glad I did this before doing It's Yer Choice - otherwise the fist might have put her off. She quickly stopped sniffing my hand and began pawing it lightly. Click/treat. She looked at me, looked at my hand. Pawed my hand. C/t. Another rep and I didn't need the treat inside my fist; she pawed as soon as it was present. Halfway through the session, I put a word to it: paw. I'm guilty of jumping the gun a lot when it comes to verbal cues, when I'm not keeping training logs for the behaviour, but in this case there doesn't seem to a problem. Another five minute session later on in the day, and she will now tap her paw against the back of my hand (or my mum's hand) regardless if I'm sat, crouched, knelt or stood (and, obviously, leaning down) in the living room or front room. Sweet.

Tomorrow I'm going to add some duration to it (maxing out at five seconds, without resorting to scratching my hand open. I'm also going to ask her to paw in more distracting areas: in the front room by the window, in the yard, on the street, and finally when we're at the park.

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