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!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Screamer retrieved the ball for the very first time today! I knew she would eventually learn how to do this. When my now adult dogs where puppies (when I first got them), they did not know how to retrieve. Now they are retrieve fiends–the whole lot of them.
Turbo Puppy, however, shows very little interest in playing tug, and I’m not sure why. She played with the tug toy initially, but she performed poorly on the sight portion of the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. True, the testor, who is a complete novice at this, moved the towel too quickly. Puppies, apparently do not follow fast-moving objects very well.
I haven’t given up on Turbo, and I never will. She will become interested in the game of tug once more. It’s just a matter of time. To that end, I play with her everyday, as I do with all the puppies.
It’s amazing how the little ones have taken to clicker training. They learned in two days what took my pomeranians four months to accomplish. The pomeranians were not trained as puppies, and they were sound sensitive and afraid of the target stick. The puppies have grown to love the clicker and they have the most intense, eager looks on their faces when I work with them.
I am mostly shaping behaviors at this point, and capturing good behavior. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s really cute when the puppies climb on my leg for attention, but it will not be so cute when they turn six months old.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Turbo Puppy’s ears begin their slow ascent. Her blue eyes look a bit freaky. They do not look like that in real life; I tried editing it out, but that made matters worse. No, she is NOT a blue eyed puppy.
The puppies got individual play time with me today. Turbo Puppy and Little Darlin consistently retrieve the ball now; Screamer will chase the ball and return to me without it. I’m sure she’ll learn to retrieve shortly. In the meantime we just have fun chasing the ball.
Cody gets very limited time with the puppies now, and I must say they are quite stinky. I think they marinate in you-know-what while they are in their pen. Cody goes in there when I let the puppies out and she cleans up, bless her heart.
Contrary to what I’ve read, dams continue to clean up after their puppies well after the three-week limit. At nearly seven weeks she still cleans up the puppies and, if you’ll pardon me saying this, “eats their poop.” But, Cody is one special dog, in my opinion, and of course I’m totally impartial.