As you did so good with your first homework, you're getting some more this time 🙂 No worries if you don't manage to do everything in 2 weeks, you can always come back to those tricks. Post wherever you end up, we learn the most through problems, so you want to post those too! 🙂
1. experiment with different toys and ways to play with your dog. Tape his favourite game to give some new ideas to other participants (and me!!!)
2. instead of a plate, find something a little higher this time to give them a better feeling of where to keep their front legs, click first for front feet on an object (should be easy, you want the same thing as on a plate) and then observe hind legs and click for ANY movement (even just a weight shift) and then shape from there to more&more steps around the object. I first click both directions and once I get a quarter of a circle, start clicking one direction only and reward with a head away from me in order to get a full circle. The final goal is full circle in both directions, with you static (don't help the dog to circle with your movement!) - I think those that have my heeling video can already do that exercise, though 🙂
3. take the plate and hold it in different positions to see if the dog understands it's the same thing even when you hold it higher, under angle, to his left/right etc. Try when he is standing, sitting and lying down. If you didn't name touching an object with a paw, it's time to do it now! Also, try to change objects for this exercise, sometimes also use a hand as a paw target. Once he can do all that, you're ready for next two tricks we will get out of the paw touch:
- crossing paws: tell the puppy to down (or shape it if he doesn't know it yet), then hold the plate (or, you can use another, smaller and more convenient object, like a plastic lid or a piece of paper) close to left paw and only reward touching it with left paw. Then hold it closer and closer to right paw, still only reward left paw touches, then hold it on right paw and eventually on the other side, jackpoting the touches of left paw on a right paw now in order to eventually get rid of a target.
- sit up: tell the puppy to sit (or shape it if he doesn't know it yet), then put the plate (or just use the hand if he will recognize that as a target) low enough first that he can reach it with a paw, but then every next time, hold it a little higher - not that high that he would stand up, but high enough that the other leg leaves the ground a little bit too. Jackpot.
4. observe your puppy and try to find situations when he would back up - it usually happens when they're moving out of your way - or sometimes when you're working on ignoring the food in the hand. You can try to sit down on the floor with treats in your hand and click first step back with hind foot. Don't wait for more than one as they usually sit down then. Click&reward the first one and reward by throwing a treat towards the dog. Rewarding at distance will help you add more&more steps and more&more distance from you. At one point, switch to rewarding with a toy, it's easier to throw.
5. 2on2off - find an object big enough for the dog to go on with all 4 feet easily - maybe just put your first 4in object upside down? - Click for 2-3 legs on and then don't click the fourth one, you don't want any duration standing there! Only click again when the dog is leaving the object, try to catch him with 2 front feet on the ground and deliver the treat while he is still in this position. You want them go on an object and off immediately, stopping with front feet on the ground. Click&reward several times for a position, then say "go"/"o.k."/"free"/whatever your release word will be and throw a treat away so that he needs to leave the position to get it. Do this enough times that the dog starts to expect the thrown treat after "go", so that then you don't need to throw it in advance, but only after he leaves the position on "go". Do not help with body language that you want him to leave after "go" - if he doesn't know it yet, go back to throwing a treat and progress more slowly.
Another note: I'll be able to answer your questions this coming week with no problem, but then the week after I have seminars here, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up. If not, we'll just add another week to this class.
Here’s a very short update regarding our perch work mostly. It was going ok before; I left it for a few days to sink in after our last session then we went back today for another go. It seems latent learning helped us out a bit! Thought I’d share, pretty interesting. 🙂
Also tried targeting on the sit-up. Not sure it’s looking like it should, but at least she stopped falling over…
Shenna and Dynamite
Shenna -- the circling has taken a huge leap!!!! That is amazing -- she is looking great and really circling on her own! The latent learning really works! And, it sure seems to help her to have something to help balance on the situp. Thanks for sharing the progress -- so interesting to see!
Diane and Bean
Nice, progress on the circling AND the site up 🙂 Looks good! Sara and Wylie.
Oh MY gosh, I think this class has the CUTEST puppies!!! Dynamite is ADORABLE!!! Good job!!!
That sure looks great now!!! For the sit up, hold a target even more towards her so that she can balance better on her own and doesn’t put so much weight on the target anymore. Of course, leaning on it is way better as falling over! -- but you can now start clicking when you feel she is well balanced, not leaning on you too much.
What a cute puppy-watch to make sure you aren’t luring him. He’s offering great movement!
I am having pb with the paw crossing : my puppy doesn’t stay in the down position. When she is down (needs time), she reaches the target with the paw by standing up. So instead of working the paw trick I’m working on the down position. How can I improve my handling to be clearer?
I have the same problem. I have just been working on my down position and on general paw touches seperately. Not sure the little pups can hold themselves together enough for this yet.
I don’t know if it’s the *best* solution, but my BC did the same thing (she’s been doing ‘shake’ for years and kept getting confused).
She targets ‘touch’ to my hand instead of a target (but you could shrink your target to hand size maybe), so what I did was to place my hand/target just above her wrist and had her try and touch. The slight pressure by that joint made it clearer that she was to stay down and she figured it out. Then I was able to fade my hand away. She is very sensitive to that sort of thing though. Just a thought.
Maybe try paw touches in sit first, just so that she sees she can do two things at the same time hold the position and touch. Then try in down again, but put it close enough to the paw that it will be easy enough to hold the down and then go from there. If it’s still easier in sit position, you can actually work on crossing paws in a sit first.
Hi Everyone --
I just had to post a short clip of our practice this evening circling clockwise -- Bean seems to be getting the idea that she can go in this direction as well -- undeterred by our little Havanese Whimsy, who wanted to play, too. These guys crack me up!
Diane and Bean (and Whimsy, too)
LOL! I just love how Bean runs over Whimsy and Whimsy comes back for more! That was too cute and hilarious!
OH they are so cute!! Yes, little Whimsey getting run over and coming back for more is adorable. And Bean isn’t about to let that little dog get in her way of her circles!!! ADORABLE!!!
Love these two, go Whimsy 🙂
Oh, I see she is faster learning it as I’m in answering! 🙂 Seems like Wimsy wants to join the class too!
Okay, here is my video for lesson two. Since I didn’t submit a second video on lesson one, I did some lesson one tricks at the beginning of this video so you can see our progress. I’ll try to shoot some backing up and our favorite game over the next few days, this one is long enough!
I included some of our good tugging as well as a clip at the end where I offer her the tug and she’s not interested. I gave up pretty quickly but Leia is like this, sometimes she’s plays great and other times she is just not interested. Silvia, would you have persisted in this situation? Any advice? In retrospect I think the session was too long, I was surprised to see the film clip was over 10 min.
Whenever Leia wants anything she throws a paw in the air so I had gotten that behavior early on with her. I think I read something on your website that you can name paws “1” “2” “3” & “4” so I had started to do that with the front paws being “1” & “2”. For the lesson I’ve been focusing on “1” only.
We’ve also been doing sit-up for a while now and have recently started to add hold the bottle, inspired by your recent post. What do you think? Is my bottle size okay for her? Do I have it in a good position?
Sorry just a few more questions…
Is my timing and order correct when I release, toss and click from a stationary position?
In general, do you think my rate if reinforcement is high enough?
Should I worry about moments of distraction like the one I included? Should I do anything differently when that happens?
Leia seems to struggle a little understanding/performing known cues when she’s in shaping mode. Will she just get better with this in time?
This video really helped me see how much I was luring her rotation on her non-dominant side. I just saw what you wrote about putting your hands behind your back between rewards- I’ll try that. Do you eventually put each direction on cue? Do you ever use a physical cue? My older dog will circle in both directions and I’ve taught him to base his direction on the direction I circle my hand.
Now I have to catch up on what everyone else has been doing.
Great questions, Mara! I’m glad you asked them. I had the exact situation with Da Vinci today when he decided to bark at something. I handled it the same way you did, but wasn’t sure if that was right. Same toy question here too. He loves to play and I can usually engage him UNLESS food has been an option. Then he has no real interest in the toy. I find I either have to commit to only using the toy for a session or play first and then switch to food. He does not switch from food to a toy with much interest. I’ll be very interested in Silvia’s reply to your post. I’m also quite interested in the “1, 2, 3, 4” paw concept. Seems I learn a lot from your posts. Thanks!
Thanks Kristin! I’m glad you had some of the same questions. I felt bad when I saw how long my post was. When I first got Leia I was so worried I wouldn’t get toys right with her that kept them separate from food at the first signs of refusal. Leia has always been playful but was happier to play by her self with a toy then share it with me. So, I worked on that for a long time and got better interaction. Then I started training 2x2’s and wanted to be able to switch between toys and food and I had a big problem. So, I started getting Leia to play with me and tug after I prepared her dinner but, before she got it and also when I had food treats in my hands, it took some time but she’s gotten much better about switching -- still hoping to get over the moments when she just decides she’s not interested. Leia is crazy about playing with other dogs. My best transfer of value for tugging has been from getting her near another dog who is tug crazy and have their person tug with them and then I get her tugging (if she chooses to go to the other dog she gets no attention from them because they are engaged in tugging) so then she comes back to me and tugs. After I get good hard tugging I tell the other person to get ready and then I release her to the other dog for a play and then we call them back and start all over again.
I love the 1234 concept. I too have a problem switching back and forth from toy to food. He will not work for a toy in agility at all. So, I can’t wait for Silvia’s response too.
Toys are sure much more useful in agility as food so I would just try to for a couple of sessions not bring food at all and only offer a toy (of course the most exciting one!) -- if he refuses, don’t worry and try again later. Most dogs will keep doing agility as they love it and once they get the idea that the toy is the only option, they usually actually get very keen on it. I think most dogs who refuse to play in agility are just not used to being rewarded by a toy and once you break that habit, they actually start to love it more as treats, so I would definitely try to try without treats for some weeks.
I think this “must-tug” pressure is actually a cause of all the problems 🙂 People are often so obsessed that the dog must tug that they take all the fun out of it. Personally, I build tugging from chasing and running games and over&over see some beautiful tugging as a side-effect. But for agility, chasing part is more important anyway.
That’s exactly what I do with dogs who have problems switching: work with a toy and treats in separate sessions and always starting food sessions with play sessions. I end food sessions very obviously: put the food container away etc. -- and when I feel we’re ready, I will, after the food container is gone, initiate the play. If the dog refuses it, I end the session and if he plays, I will make it fun fun fun and do some extra tricks for toy reward. Once I can start and end every food session with a play session and the dog knows it’s either a toy or the session is over, you’re ready to use a toy in between too.
Um, where do you live? It looks LOVELY!! Very excellent questions.
Great job! Your clicking is very good: both timing and the frequency. Releasing, tossing and clicking is good too. I think taking cues gets better with time. In general, I noticed that puppies who are being only shaped will take their time before getting the idea of cuing: as they’re so used that you’re not helping, they at first often don’t get it that ow you’re actually helping with that verbal cue. With my puppies, it always takes a while before they get that: and then it gets easy to name things. I think what you describe is pretty much the same thing.
The circling as such, I don’t name at all, I put “heel” and “side” names to it once I start using it for coming to my left/right leg. For a just a circle, I will show with a hand cue if I particularly care which direction I want them to go 🙂 For both legs hold, wider object as that bottle would be easier and it would also help if you hold it closer to her. But usually, I start this by shaping a hug around a pole, without putting the dog in any particular position and/or help with object positioning. And yes, Bu knows 1-2-3-4. But then I got Bi, my not-a-listener dog and went to “a paw” and “another”. It was easier for me too, so it was a keeper, my puppy has those two cues too 🙂
I wouldn’t insist on playing if she doesn’t feel like it, no. But of course, I also wouldn’t offer food instead 🙂 and would definitely try predicting it next time and not even trying when not sure if she plays. Try to find a pattern to make it easier to predict.
Oh, about distractions. It depends. If the dog is wandering off and not showing interest, I just end the session. If loosing the focus is sudden as in your case, I will call immediately and reward the response, so that usually puts them back in focus again. If not, I end the session.
Tili is now 14 weeks. She is not a chow hound so I have had to work in lots of play by making the jackpots a game. She is easily distracted so sometimes I am just rewarding her for staying engaged with me and not bogging off. I have editted out most of the play and bogging off to reduce the video length.
Her perch work has in the last few days started to come along. I have had the odd full turn but not captured here.
Looking at my 2on2off, I think I lure the position too much and will start to fade that -- as you can see I need to throw a toy not food to get her to go.
She has needed to learn sit, down and stand (she needs this for breed) so we have been working on this.
Not shown on video is backing which is still in a channel.
Paw touches are still a work in progress.
Will try and set the camera further back next time so Tili’s head does not keep getting chopped off.
Great job with perch work! But yes, luring too much with 2on2off…
This is my next video. I don’t know how to edit yet but can now add titles! Some spelled wrong:). I have included a lot of circling the perch and some on backing up and 2on2off work. His favorite toys are our cats’ sacks and tunnels. He likes to wear them as he beats them up-but I didn’t quite capture that. I have not included his favorite game because I am still discovering that. He likes to do-doesn’t seem to care what, just enjoyed being busy. we are doing well with the small foot target and I need someone else handy to video so I will include that later.
What a cute and active puppy! With all that action he is full of, you could definitely easily lure less. For example -- he offers a really nice 2on2off all on his own at 2:45 of your video -- but you don’t click that, but instead lure him and reward that… I liked his own version much better! The same with perch work: he is offering TONS of it all on his own, so you really don’t need that hand right there. Let’s try with hands behind your back now!
Oh, my gosh! What a fun day. My Sheltie, Cash, got some nice duration on the paw crossing. I started blocking them from going to the side with my leg (required some trust as it has to be my surgery leg…yikes…but got the idea from Summer’s video using the wall). Today I placed the target to the side of his left paw, he “tapped” it and his right paw fell perfectly over his left and he stayed there while I fed him! It was adorable!
Silvia, with Callie’s “beg”…she already know “sit pretty” which is static. Her feet are up but not moving. I want to add “beg” using your method to get the pawing behavior I’ve seen in your videos (when your dogs sit up and paw at the air with both feet repeatedly). How do I get her to do that part?
AND with Da Vinci…well, the circling is getting tons better, but I can see it will be hard for him to pass in front of me. Suggestions? I am still rewarding both directions and unsure when to switch to one direction.
This is what his circling work looked like today…
I think it looks great. He is almost doing full circles in both directions.
Cool! 🙂 You could also try rewarding with even more of a head turn. To the right, you need just one step more and he will pass you.
Interesting, it looked like you will have him pass you any time on your last video… If you still didn’t get it, then yes, stop rewarding both directions and see if that gives you a full circle. And yes, paw crosses look really good with big, long-legged dogs! 🙂 For weaving front feet while in sit up, just click for any tiny motion first and then shape from there.
Pixie and I have been having a blast!
-- The four paws in a very small box has taken me about three weeks. It was challenging to get into this box.
-- I am working on duration with the frog legs.
-- Pixie has done perch work quite a bit but I never asked her to continue to making circles around…so this part has been a challenge.
Things are going well 🙂
Love the obvious fun your dog is having doing all those tricks! Great video production too!
Looks GREAT! Great frog legs, great coordination and speed in backing up and pivoting. 4in looks great too. You can work some more on this box and eventually even try one size smaller, I think she can do it. For paw crosses, keep your hand lower so that she is sometimes touching her other leg as that’s what you’re going for.
Great! Thanks for the feedback. I will work on the leg cross with hand lower. I will also see if I can find a slightly smaller box to work on 🙂