Friday, December 11, 2009

We Learned to Shake!

Since "shake" is a trick I figure all dogs should know, that was Secret's training task of the day yesterday. Because she did so well with her shaping the day before, I decided to train "shake" the same way.

We started by targeting my hand on the ground and went through a process similar to learning to target the touch light. It went a little faster this time, since she's figuring out the game. The hardest part was figuring out a timely treat delivery system, since I seem to be incapable of holding treats in the same hand as the clicker. I'm going to keep my eye out for a button clicker, as I think they are easier to use than the "old-fashioned" box clicker that I'm using now.

Once we were successfully targeting my open hand on the ground, I moved to raising it a bit. The biggest challenge I had was keeping Secret in a sitting position. She tends to flop into a down as a default behavior when she feels challenged. I ended up turning it into a two-part reward for the most part -- click/treat for coming up to a sit, then click/treat for the hand target.

She is a very fast learner. I'm happy to report that we have already faded the click and she is performing "shake" for me AND both of my parents here at work today! We will proof it more at the agility trial this weekend when she plays "pass the puppy" with everyone.

Last night I *FINALLY* got Secret a proper girly-pink collar! I got a 9"-13" collar that she will no doubt soon outgrow, but she was swimming in the next size up. It will just give us an excuse to buy another pretty collar in a few months! :o) It's so fun to finally have a girl to dress up in pink.

Secret was a hit with my students at class. She was very well-behaved for the most part, only barking a little. That could easily be because she had to go outside, though -- as she ended up pooping in her crate. Argh. She hadn't gone after dinner and I knew she had to go -- I took her out three times with no success, likely because it's so stinking cold here. I'm re-thinking letting her have the big crate at the trial this weekend, but I would feel really bad having her in the little crate all day. When it comes down to it, though, I doubt she'll be spending much time in the crate.

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