Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jacey training...

I had intended to work on training Jacey while I'm on vacation. I've done nothing about it before today, however. Today, though, we had two sessions. (We're in the front of the condo, with Sam hooked to a post in the carport and Jacey hooked to the dog anchor. Each can see the other, but can't interfere with the other's training. While I work with one, the other stands there, drooling.)

I'm clicker-training using techniques I learned in a class with Jen Bachelor when I trained Oreo. Sam got the benefits of Oreo's training, because he was here when I practiced at home with her. Happily, he came to me knowing sit and down from fostering with Paul and Sientay; but he learned the game of touch-the-cup* (a "trick" that gets a dog used to the idea of offering good behavior in order to get a click and treat) and excels at it, even all these years later.

Jacey doesn't yet understand what the click means. That's okay; she'll catch on to that soon.

She's offering behavior to get a treat--that part she understands. Only she's offering the most godawful sit** (rolled all the way over on her hip) when we're playing touch the cup (because she's not sure what I want). I hate to not reward her for offering the behavior, but I hate to click to reward her for (a) wrong behavior and (b) awful form.

What's funny is that, now and then, during pauses on walks, she'll do the most beautiful sit. I've always praised her when she's done it, but it doesn't happen often.

And when I try to teach sit by holding her leash and moving the treat over her head, she follows the treat as far back as she can turn her head, then loses focus on the treat and starts looking around.

Lack of food motivation is never this girl's problem. She's been known to push me out of the way so she can get to the kitchen before I do, even though she knows there's nothing for her to eat until I get there.

I've posted questions on Jen's blog. I'd love to take Jacey to classes, but my work schedule never matches up with Jen's class schedule.

Saturday, at Greyfest:


*In touch-the-cup, you reward the dog for nose-touching a cup on the ground. The idea is that the dog learns that she can make the trainer click--learns that the clicks aren't random, but are generated by the dog's own behavior. Sam understands: he whirls around to touch the cup before he's finished swallowing the last treat you gave him. Once, today, when I was having trouble getting treats out of my pocket, he'd touch the cup, turn back to me, turn back to the cup and touch it again, back to me, back to the cup and really nudge it hard--as if the cup was doing something wrong and letting him down. ;)

**The awful sit she's offering is what she gives me in her crate when I tell her to settle before I'll open the door and let her out.


KF-in-Georgia said...

Jen says: Don't train sits, yet. Work on click-and-treat for the cup. And don't click/reward the wrong behavior.

Patti said...

Gosh, you're doing much better than me! I've been working with Lucy, off and on, for over a year now and still no sit on command. She is hardheaded, that's for sure. It took Sugar awhile as well, but I think Remi learned sit and down within 6 months. I just gotta keep at it! Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes with Jacey!!