Saturday in July

Yeah, so I’m not great at titles. You already know that. 

So much to do today. But I wanted to let you know what we’ve been up to. I started working on canine parkour with Damon. It’s so much fun! Google it. We’re taking an online class with Kristine Hammer through Poised for Success. Damon and I are both loving it.

Damon is such a smart little guy. And he LOVES clicker training. 

How’s your Saturday? Any big plans? 

Dog Training: Stop Door Rushing

The great “train the dogs not to rush the door when someone rings the doorbell” exercise starts in earnest.

I plan to use the clicker training techniques I learned in the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course I took this spring.

My goal is that when the doorbell rings, all three will go to their “place” which will be a mat in the floor. It will probably take a little while to be reliable, but definitely worth it.

I think to start, I’ll train them separately. The once they gain some degree of consistency, I’ll train them all together.

Do you use a “place” type cue with your dogs? What situations do you use that cue?

Using Clicker to Train “Place”

One thing last night’s trick or treating brought home to me is that I must get back to training our dogs to go to a place on cue. The best way I’ve found to do that is by using the clicker. Damon, our little bully mix, is the most responsive of our three to the clicker. If he sees my with a clicker in my hand he immediately starts offering behaviors.

Last year I started training each of them to “place.” Such a helpful skill. I kind of slacked off on their training. So now we’re back to square one. Sigh.

Here’s Damon last fall with a nice response to “go to your mat.” We’ll get back here with all three soon.

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Do you have a place cue for your dogs? Have you ever tried clicker training? How do your dogs respond when the doorbell rings?

Clicker Work With Damon

Damon’s my little clicker training rock star. He just gets it and enjoys it. He picks out the behavior I’m clicking within 2-3 repetitions. Amazing. I have to say I thought Jack would take to it better than Jade or Damon. Was I ever wrong. Jack gets it, but for some reason doesn’t seem to enjoy figuring it out as much as Damon. But I’m still working on it with him.

Here’s a short video of Damon’s work today. Most of the time we were working on the mat. What I want is for him to lay on the mat. Didn’t take long. Eventually I’ll add a cue to the mat and send all three to the mat when the doorbell rings.

Toward the end of the video I’m reinforcing some targeting we worked on a few days ago. In that sequence my hand is the target where he is to place his paw. Eventually I want to be able to hold his paw and clip his nails.

Looking forward to eventually getting a chest harness and head harness for my GoPro camera. I think that will make watching the dogs work much easier. More dogs. Less me. 🙂

You can watch the video here.

Clicker Training

Less than a week ago I enrolled in Karen Pryor Academy’s Dog Trainer Foundation course. Wow! It’s awesome. I’m learning so much, and I’m still in the first unit. I’m trying very hard to take my time, go through the material slowly. But it’s hard. I want to gulp it all in.

I’m not working with live dogs yet. Right now I’m practicing clicking then “treating” by tossing a dry bean in a cup. It takes more coordination than you might think to hold a clicker in one hand, click at the correct moment to mark the desired behavior, then pop a treat in the dog’s mouth one second after the click.

I will be practicing with beans for a few more days, for sure. LOL!

I’m so excited to see how this helps me train Jack, Jade, and Damon.

Putting Elbow Grease to a Dream

For a couple of years I’ve harbored a secret dream to delve deeper into dog behavior and learning. I’m fascinated by how dogs learn, and how they communicate with humans, especially when humans take the time to try to understand. I’m fascinated by watching how very quickly dogs respond when that communication goes both ways between the dog and the trainer.

I’ve read several books, followed several blogs, taken a few obedience classes with our dogs. But I still want more. I want to dig deeper into how dogs learn, and how positive training methods can be applied across situations.

So I’m finally putting time and money into this dream.

Next Saturday I’ll be taking a dog behavior seminar with Heather Moore of Wag It Better.

I’ve also enrolled in Karen Pryor Academy’s Dog Trainer Foundations course.

Excited doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about this.