'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

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tricky T-Day: Peekaboo.

Tricky T-Day: Peekaboo.
(Ignore my even-more-lazy-than-usual clothes; I'd been slouching around all day. This was recorded on the 25th too, and Lola no longer needs the hand signal to keep on 'peekabooing'.)

This was originally an exercise to get Lola more comfortable around my feet (she naturally tends to avoid them because of the amount of times I have stood on her), but the combination of no work to do really and being fed in position so much meant that it quickly became her go-to behaviour. She learned it on nearly-perfect verbal command within two sessions, and immediately generalised that to outdoors.

It's a silly little trick, but it's helpful and infuriating. I've rewarded her for spontaneously jumping into it, and now I often feel a nose poking against the back of my calves if I'm stood up and eating (hello! I'm here! I'm adorable! feed me!) and I'm ashamed to say I've given in and dropped food to her. Oops. But I'm also hugely rewarding her for 'peekabooing' around stressful things; when dogs bark, when there are kids nearby, etc. If she ever gets more reactive, I'll hopefully have the option of a conditioned high-value behaviour that will keep everyone safe.


Sara said...

What a great idea to have a goto place. An agility insructor trained her dogs to do that, so at crazy agility trials, her dogs are safe from others and vice versa.

Lola sure is a fast learner. Brains and cuteness!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Lola is so very cute doing her peekaboo trick!! I love it! I also think it is a good idea to train her to offer that behavior in stressful situations. Ricky sits between my legs at the park when a jogger or biker goes by (well that is my intention anyway, we're not always successful). I have never taught him to keep walking between my legs like Lola is doing though. Maybe I should try it!