Thursday, October 15, 2009
Turbo Puppy was very restless this morning. She couldn’t seem to get comfortable, and kept walking around the house whinning. After a few minutes–maybe a half an hour later–she finally settled down and went to sleep.
The little devils discovered that it’s loads of fun to grab the broom while a human sweeps the floor. While it’s a adorable to the onlooker to see a puppy go all googly eyed as the broom goes back and forth, it is truly annoying to the person trying to sweep up a mess. I went through the same thing with all my dogs when they were pups, and we used to either a) lock the dog out when we were cleaning up or b) put up with the broom grabs. Today, with the help of the clicker I was able to allow the person cleaning up a few moment’s peace.
Here’s what I did (this could be applied to any other facinating activity):
- While someone is sweeping or otherwise engaged in some other facinating activity, present a treat or toy to the mesmerized puppy. It’s best if you do not bribe with the treat or toy, but with a puppy that’s not yet clicker savvy, you may need this little aid.
- Once the puppy looks towards you, or is no longer engaged with the broom, click and treat.
- Continue to click and treat at a fast rate as long as the puppy is engaged with you or the toy, and ignoring the treat.
- If the puppy goes back to playing with the broom, have the person stop sweeping and stand perfectly motionless. Do nothing. It’s the sweeping motion that attracts the young pup. Once the puppy loses interest and returns to you and/or the toy, click once more and treat.
This is a really good exercise to work on because some of my puppies may become indoor dogs. So I shall repeat the sweeping-of-floors exercise and do some clicker work with them. It will not only teach the puppies to leave the broom alone while floors are being swept, but also train the them from early on how to work while surrounded by distractions.