Friday, March 16, 2012

Shading the line ...

It used to be I'd want to teach the dogs something - or reinforce what they already knew- and there would be a production around getting ready to work. I'd go to the treat cupboard and load up. I've never used a bait bag but if I had putting my bait bag on would have been part of the production. I'd find whatever tools I wanted for that session (a leash, a clicker, a bed - whatever) and carefully arrange them ~ just so! The dogs knew we were doing something and one could literally see a switch flip ON. They were ready to work and they wanted to work. They wanted to learn and enjoyed the process. We had fun working on training, don't misunderstand me. They weren't being punished or forced to do things they didn't want to do but it was a pretty regimented thing. It was highly contextualized and quite predictable.

It looks a little different now.

Sometimes we jump up from the couch and play train for a bit then run for a reward. Sometimes I get rewards organized ahead of time then go back to whatever I was doing, wait,  then start playing working with the dogs. Sometimes we still have an organizing production then play train.

It was easiest to train anytime anywhere with no planning with Sally (the dog who believes a piece of paper is a reward worth earning) but now all the dogs seem to enjoy the anticipation of wondering when playing training might kick in.

If we are walking, this is what is generally right beside me (both placement and focus) unless I send him away. Brody LOVES the concept that any second might turn into game time. That's not quite right. All the dogs enjoy the game of any time is training time. In this house I rarely get to move around the house without company so I take advantage of that. When I'm brushing my teeth and Thea pops in to say "hi" I might ask her to sit. She does, quickly, and shivers in anticipation of the reward to come. When I'm fixing the fire and Sally wanders by to poke me in the back (she takes issue with stick burning I suspect) we might practice right and left or anything else I think of.

I don't suddenly ask the dogs to go from a sound sleep into a behaviour but if they are awake, and I'm awake any time could turn into play time. We like it that way!

1 comment:

Kobipup said...

That's great that you incorporate your training into every day activities. It seems to be the best way to proof a behaviour. All the tricks I've taught in a designated training session aren't nearly as solid as the ones I ask for randomly through out the day.