Sunday, October 02, 2005

Day 73

While today was a normal quite Sunday, we did work on the retrieve and something new. The hold was truly a full 15 seconds today. In fact, she managed to do it 3 times. Of course, there were some goofs in between the good ones, however we did end on the good note of two good holds in a row. Later on her 6 inch reach was challenged by my not holding the dumbbell in front of her muzzle a single time. She finally realized she really does need to move her head from side to side as well as up or down.

The new thing. I have once again, gotten it in my head that I should try to learn this clicker/treat stuff so many prattle on and on about. So since I need to teach Sanity the command "touch" I decided I would try using a clicker and treats to teach it. I confess that neither of us is overly impressed with the results. First there was the time spent teaching her to view the noise of the clicker as a good thing. I actually spent the better part of an hour on that. Worked on it for about 20 minutes Saturday evening and then off and on all of this morning. Ok, so she is no longer flinching away when she hears the click.

In the afternoon I moved on to the next step. My goal is to get her to touch her nose to any object I target with my finger, all thought I am considering switching to a pointer. More on that later. For now, I want her to touch her nose to a small, covered plastic container that actually has treats stored in it. Seems pretty straight forward, but for one thing; neither of us can figure out what the other wants. I placed the container on the floor. In the normal course of events, Sanity moved right in to check it out. Her nose touched it, I clicked and handed her a very small treat. She thought that was nice, thanked me and wandered off to chew on her favorite ball. I waited and waited and waited. Ten or more minutes later, she got up, wandered over to the container and touched it with her nose. I clicked and gave her a tiny treat. She said thank you, ate the treat and went to her bed, lied down and closed her eyes. It was at least 30 minutes before she wandered passed that blasted container again and she didn't give it so much as a glance.

Not a very encouraging beginning. I will give it an honest try for a full week before I toss in the towel once again and go back to teaching the touch the way I know. To have done it the way I normally teach it would have meant we would have the beginning stages complete and be moving into more complex patterns. I shall continue to tell myself it isn't the dog, it isn't the equipment and it is the trainer. We shall see.

Meanwhile on a "give me a behavior" thread, I was wrapping a package for shipment and dropped the roll of shipping tape. It landed on the floor half way between Wrap and Sanity. In a normal, conversational voice I said, "Will someone please pick that up for me?"

Wrap groaned and got slowly out of her bed to reach for it. Sanity leapt up and charged it. Wrap was in the process of picking it up when Sanity took it out of her mouth and turned to bring it to me. Wrap sighed and went back to bed, I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. "Thank you. Sanity, thank you for helping." She wagged her stump and seemed to smile. Not bad, not bad at all.


  1. Your experience with clickers and mine are about the same. They tell you in class that it works for anyone, but I don't buy it. I think both the dog and the human have to be compatible with that method in order for it to work, and that's just not always the case.

    You write here that you were going to try it for a week, but I didn't see another mention of it. Did you give up early, or how did it go?

  2. It was a total disaster as far as I am concerned and I never did go back to it. Instead, I headed of in directions that were and are far more compatable to my way of thinking and doing things. I just seem to naturally prefer balance to unbalance.