Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lesson 1a--Click! (flinch)

I do not believe this.


She's afraid of the clicker. Every time I click, she flinches. She doesn't run; she's not terrified. But she flinches.

The red clicker above was furnished for the class. It's a nice, crisp, fairly loud sound that will carry well if your dog is a little bit away from you.

The blue clicker is one I picked up at PetSmart or PetCo or something. It's a more muted sound--and she flinches from that one, too. She flinches even if I hold it right in front of her so she can see my thumb move. Click. It's hardly the trumpet of doom.

But this fear might explain why, this morning, I could click and she wouldn't turn to take a treat until I called her name. When I tried again this afternoon, I stood in front of her (with Sam standing beside her) and I clicked and treated and didn't let her turn away. (I'd click and then treat both dogs, Silver first. I let Sam stand there as a good example--and because it would have been mean to treat her right under his nose. When I need to work with her alone, she and I can go on the patio to practice.)

This morning, Sam wasn't standing nearby, so I don't really think he's part of the equation. I'd click and treat, and she'd turn her head away and lie down as soon as she got her treat. She never once tried to sniff the clicker or poke at it or my hand to produce a click. She didn't watch me to see if I'd make it click again, and if I did click, she'd only turn back to me if I also called her name.

At this point, I'm reminding myself that this is the girl who had to be taught to eat a turkey neck. The first time, she took the neck out of her dish, put it on the doormat, licked the empty dish, and laid down beside it. Later, when I put the neck in the dish right under her nose, ostentatiously ignored it.

Turkey Neck #4

But that lasted just a couple of times. Soon, she was ready to grab her turkey neck and chow down (which she won't be doing anymore since she and Sam both suffered disastrous digestive mayhem from their last turkey necks). I'm betting she'll get the hang of click + treat pretty soon. Tonight, I'll keep a clicker in the kitchen. When I go in there to get ice or something to drink, I'll click and wait to see how many dogs show up. Whoever shows up will get a treat. And I'll hold treats in my closed fist and make her sniff at that before I click again and let her have the treat.

If that doesn't work, I'll have to look for another signalling option.

Silly goose.

No comments: