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

Posts tagged ‘Distractions’

Puppy Chronicles–Day 53

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.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer–Tip 5

Distractions.  Once the dog is sitting comfortably and reliably for about 45-55 seconds, add one distraction, like walking once around the dog.  Some dogs will get up if you try to walk around them.  That’s normal, but you don’t want him to get into the habit of breaking position.  To prevent this, simply move one small step at a time, remembering to click and treat if the dog stays while you move.   So instead of walking completely around the dog, ending up with him on your left side, simply take one step and stand in front of him.  Click and treat.  Remember to stay close to him as you do this.  Gradually add further steps once the dog begins to get comfortable, until you are walking circles around the dog.  Gradually add more distractions one at a time, like pulling out his favorite toy and simply holding it, then later squeaking the toy, then perhaps tossing the toy into the air and catching it.

Tomorrow we will work on adding distance.  Stay tuned.  You can also follow me on twitter for updates.

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