Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jacey is catching on.

No training sessions yesterday. I was gone running errands for much of the day. But we've had two sessions today.

First session, Jacey realized that click = treat. She would turn to me, mouth open, when she heard the click. For touch-the-cup, I stacked the deck a bit. When I give her a treat, she inevitably checks the ground after her treat to look for crumbs. I put the cup right under her nose, so that when she checked the ground, she'd bump the cup with her nose. Click!

By the afternoon session, she was realizing that the white plastic cup was important. She got all excited when I brought it out. (Sam jumped in the air when he saw it.)

By the end of today's session, both dogs were responding the same way to the white cup. They'd touch it with their noses. I'd click. They'd move toward me for treats. They'd get a treat. Then I'd stand with my treat-hand firmly clenched behind my back; just stand there. Sometimes the dog would move around behind me and sniff at my hand. Finally, without any cues from me, the dog would go back over to the cup and nose it again.

Bingo! Both dogs have gone from click = treat to cup = click = treat. Next up--for Jacey: learning that touching the cup isn't the only way to earn that click.

Meanwhile, I've got to find something else to use for treats. The Pet Botanics I've been using contains wheat. It isn't much, so I wasn't worried; but in the evening, after training, Sam's gas is pretty awful. Both dogs will work for plain kibble, so I might just go with that for a while. (I firmly suspect either dog would eat styrofoam peanuts if he/she thought the other dog was eating them.) If kibble's attraction starts to pall, I'll go back to nice, smelly, turkey franks (Oreo always adored those). But training with kibble would be much easier for me--much less messy, and I've always got some on hand.

P.S. I've also realized I need to take mats outside for the dogs when we start working on sit and down. Sam has already made it clear that he doesn't like sitting on concrete. Neither dog is likely to sit/down and hold it if it's uncomfortable.


LittleWit said...

Hooray for progress! :)

Debbie (Emma's mom) said...