A blog about dog training and dog breeding…and other sundry matters

The Smarter of the Two

Gretchen’s ears have been up for two days now, both ears.  I’m happy to see that because she’s starting to look like a German Shepherd.  In fact, she looks like a police dog, and right now she appears to be the smarter of the two dogs.  She seems more interested in training, and I feel as though I accomplish more with her in one session than I do with Tuvok.  Whenever I take her outside or out of her pen, she immediately offers me a sit and looks at me as if to say, “what you want me do now, Mom?”

I continue to shape the sits, but haven’t put the behavior on cue, yet.  Both Tuvok and Gretchen readily offer me sits.  They both walk on the leash, although at this point I’m not too interested in teaching loose-leash walking, or insisting that they walk on my left side.  They have only just recently begun walking on leash, and I’m happy that they no longer resist it.

Now that the dogs have a solid retrieve, I’ve added one more element to the game:  they must return the ball to me.  In the past, I would praise lavishly when they returned with the ball, but wouldn’t take it from me.  Today I clicked after they picked up the ball and had turned around to face me.  I delivered the treat when they returned to me with the ball.  The treat served as a “trade up,”  a bit like you-give-me-the-ball-and-I give-you-this-yummy-piece-of cheese.  It worked.

Yesterday I did a bit of targeting with Tuvok.  He was supposed to touch his nose to the target stick, but he insisted on targeting with his teeth; ie, biting the ball on the end of my home-made target stick.  Well, there we were working very well: he offered the touch and I clicked and treated.  We were working fast and furiously when I discovered that the ball that was on the end of the target stick was gone!  The stinker pulled it off the stick and was walking off with it in his mouth.

Anyway, I apprehended the wayward student, extricated the ball from his jaws, and resumed the lesson.  Boys!

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