'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

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Bang, Bang Breakthrough. (Bangthrough?)

It only took a couple of repetitions today (having done no work since the 200 reps the day before yesterday) of me saying 'bang bang' and then adding the physical cue before a certain little princess decided she knew exactly what I wanted. She did it three times without the physical cue needed, and then on the fourth time she just watched me when I spoke. I decided to wait her out; and a couple of seconds later, she whined and dropped onto her side.

JACKPOT, girl!

After that she just *got* it. She did it almost perfectly, even doing discrimation between 'down' and 'bang, bang' (though asking her to sit was apparently Cruelty Personified). She is the cutest little thing ever when she does it, and I even captured, on the second vid, what looks like it could be an extremely adorable roll-over. I'm going to work on just verbal cue for the next few sessions, adding distance (right now I have to be sat next to her, quite close) and a little duration, and then start generalizing it to other places.

In other news, I went to the Reedyford Dog Training Club yesterday, and have mixed opinions about it. I was watching the puppy class (I got a lift, so took the Annoying Rat, who yapped a few times on-off), and I was definitely happy to see treats being used (though admittedly not many) and the use of a few minutes' play between reps of sit and down. On the other hand, one of the women waiting for the class immediately after (Starters, for dogs over 12 months) was talking about how she'd used a shock collar on her Labrador. When it was just leaning over to sniff a baby.

...What. Because yeah, teaching your dog that infants are the source of pain and confusion is a great plan. Simply marvellous! However because this sounded like something that had happened outside of the class, obviously, I have no idea if the main instructor agrees with shock collars. I just know I won't be a-using one on Lola; not now, not ever.

I think I'll go to the puppy class again next week, but just hedge my bets. It's only £25 (the other one, at Trinity Training, was £55) and it seemed vaguely relaxed, ish. Definitely more pleasant methods than the TT class; though none of the people who brought dogs even really looked at each other, much less spoke to one-another. Hm.

Either way, it was a great experience for my little rat (who may have been threatened with being drop-kicked into the wall if she didn't stop her yapping right now when I was trying to dig more treats out of my pocket), who showed off rep after rep of sit, down, touch and paw; all in a brand new place, and at one time with strange dogs only a metre or so away! And then on the way back she threw up, which wasn't so fun, but hey.


Sara said...

Lola's bang is too cute!

Sorry to hear she got sick, but it sounds like she is doing a great job working around distractions.

Sophie said...

She's still not got it 100% - we used her dinner to practice up to me kneeling up, and then sat in a different place in the room. She's definitely having more trouble generalizing this than the other tricks, but as soon as she gets it 100% we can work on the duration. As you can tell, she sort of freaks out when she doesn't get the click and throws herself further back, or gets up and does it again.