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Category: Tricks

Clara’s Tricks: Treat on Nose, Carpet Roll, & Paws in Box

Clara’s Tricks: Treat on Nose, Carpet Roll, & Paws in Box

Yes, Clara has a piece of kibble on her head

Clara and I are learning so much! Here is a quick trick update with a couple of videos.

Treat on the Nose Trick

We are taking the treat on the nose exercise nice and slow. I can now put a piece of flat kibble on the top of Clara’s head for a second or two. I’ll work up to an actual dog biscuit.

There are lots of aspects to the trick.

  1. There’s the Zen aspect: the dog can’t grab for the treat as you are putting it on her face. I’m stating the obvious, but most treats coming to a dog’s face are heading for their mouth, and trained dogs have a huge history of that.
  2. There’s the “something is on my face!” aspect.
  3. There’s the balance aspect, which means holding the head still. Clara knows various stays, but this has never been a criterion.
  4. There’s the duration aspect.

We are still working on #1 and #2. There’s not really balance involved with the kibble on the forehead. She just needs to stay moderately still, which is a good first step.

The kibble does often fall off when I release her, but that’s fine for now. I usually give it to her, so she’s getting bits of mozzarella cheese from my right hand and a kibble now and then from my left. No wonder she thinks this is a great game.

This nice flat kibble works for practicing this trick

Our leave it cue is “Pas.” (So when I say that, I’m not referring to her foot.) I love how she snaps into forward focus when I say that cue as I put the kibble on her head.

The most interesting thing to me is that she had a very hard time leaving the treat alone when I tried to put it on her head with my right hand. She could do it when I used my left. You can see both in the movie. There is something in her reinforcement history or the current environment that is causing that, but I’m not sure what. I thought at first that I use my right hand more commonly for a hand target and she was trying to target it. I know I have a “target hand” and a “Zen hand.” Bad Eileen. But I looked at last week’s video and I was using my left hand for targeting. So that probably wasn’t it.

Two training concepts I’m passionate about are reinforcement history and the matching law. Whatever your dog does reflects their reinforcement history. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out where a behavior or difficulty is coming from. I have a splendid example for the next post. But this right-hand business is still a mystery. One thing I know for sure: she’s not “being stubborn” or “blowing me off.” We all can see how into the game she is. When I use my right hand, it paints a different picture for her from when I use the left.

Treat on the nose is such a common trick, but I’ve never noticed how people teach it. I was never interested before. I’m interested in the trick now, and I’ve decided not to check into how other positive reinforcement-based trainers do it. I want to see what I come up with first. I think I can do this successfully in my own way and keep it fun. Mozzarella cheese is guaranteeing that Clara thinks it’s great. Watch her tail wag!

Roll out the Carpet Trick

This has gotten almost too easy. I switched to using the yoga mat because that length is required, but it often rolls out completely in one or two pushes. It’s easy money for Clara. We’re still practicing with the bathmat because even though it’s half the length, it’s more work to unroll. I’m not bothering with a video here. I just remembered that I have a couple of long bathmats and I’ll use one of those when we record the trick. Hopefully, it will take her more than one push to roll it out.


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Paws in a Box Trick

The joys of mat training! If you teach your dog to get on a mat, it becomes a target. Then you can put the mat anywhere to tell your dog that you want them to get there, even if it’s inside or on top of something else. Clara is one of those dogs who is so magnetized to her mat that I have to throw treats to distract her so she doesn’t try to get on it before it hits the ground!

I couldn’t find a cardboard box that was the right size, so we started with a shallow plastic box. We did two reps of just the mat, then a few reps with the mat inside the box. Then I slipped the mat out, and voilà, she got right into the box. Stationing at its best! What we recorded today would probably qualify for the trick, but I still plan to get her into a real cardboard box. How can she be an R+ dog if she’s never been in a box?

This series of posts is about teaching an old dog new tricks. But Clara doesn’t respond like an old dog. Even so, part of the challenge with teaching completely new things to an older dog is the matching law. Older dogs trained with positive reinforcement carry with them huge reinforcement histories for common behaviors over the years. Clara is mentally as sharp as ever, and she is fast. But getting out of ruts (that I put her in) can be a challenge. My next post will show some of the behaviors that keep popping up because of past training we have done together.

Related Posts

Copyright 2021 Eileen Anderson

Planning the Tricks for Our Novice Master’s Title

Planning the Tricks for Our Novice Master’s Title

This is not actually how you play the “Roll out the carpet” game

For Clara’s Novice Masters Trick Dog title through Do More With Your Dog, we need 15 more tricks to add to the 15 we’ve already done. I’ve picked an assortment. Some she already knows fluently, some we can resurrect from old training, and some are completely new. Likewise, my criteria will vary a bit. She can already do paws up on a wall; we’ll get it once and that’ll be enough. It’s something I’ll fade out as she gets older. But Peekaboo/center position, where she stands under me and pokes her head out between my legs, is something I want to get fluent and strong.

Trick Selection

Here’s the list of what we are going to work on, with commentary.

  • Balance beam (walk on an elevated plank). This should be straightforward. I have a sturdy agility teeter that she has actually walked while it moves. Walking a steady plank should be easy.
  • Balance cookie on nose. I’m thinking of this as a fun challenge. I hate the “leave-it” videos where dogs have treats all over them and look miserable. I realize this is just one treat on the nose, but it’s a new thing for Clara. I broke out the boiled chicken today. She may have only a dog biscuit on her face, but she’ll get chicken for her efforts. And we’ll break it off if I can’t make it enjoyable for her.
    Update: We’ve done one session of this. I used some flat, large kibble to start with instead of a dog biscuit. I aimed to start by putting the kibble on top of her head, but she thought that was too weird when I reached up there with food. Instead, I started by putting it on her front legs, using our “leave-it” cue. She got that right away. I paid with mozzarella cheese, which she seemed to think was a more than fair deal. Sometimes she got the kibble, too, if it fell off, which was OK with me. Toward the end, I switched to putting the kibble on the top of her head and she did fine with about five reps of that.
  • Crawl. We have worked on this before, but I find it a challenging behavior, so it might take us a while to meet criteria. (This image is from 3 1/2 years ago.)
  • Disc rollers. New behavior. I’ll need to get some rollable disks. The only ones I have are soft rubber and not suitable.
  • Doggy pushups (sit/down). This was an earlier failure. We are practicing. We’ve got this easily if I reinforce each position. But I want to build some confidence and extend the behavior to all six iterations on one treat if we can. I rarely ask for multiples, and I’d like to get her more used to the idea.
  • Focus. This is eye contact for six seconds. When we used to do the Training Levels, she got up to 20. Shouldn’t be too hard.
  • Front (go from heel position to sitting in front of me). This will be new for her, but with my rally and obedience background, I’m pretty clear on how to teach it. It looks like they allow the backward step, as in rally novice (AKC).
  • Memory game (indicate where a treat was placed under one of three containers). Should be fun.
  • Muffin tin game. Also fun. Hardly any criteria—remove items to get to the goodies.
  • Paws in a box. We’ve never done this, but she can do a tucked sit on a small elevated platform, so this shouldn’t be too hard.
  • Peekaboo/center position. I am excited about this one. I want her to get it very solid so I can cue her to do it on walks. So I will go slowly and work to keep my training clean. Like mat training, I want to reinforce strongly both getting into position and staying in position.
  • Platform jump (jump between two platforms of equal height). This is easy for her; I just need to get my two platforms the same height. I think I can take the height of the Klimb down to get it close to the Kato board.
We had one trial with the yoga mat. Video next time!
  • Roll out the carpet. We started this. It’s completely new for her, even though it’s such a baby trick. First, I put treats in a bath mat and let her at it. She was initially a little tentative and looking for instruction from me. But got the idea pretty soon that when she pushed with her nose, a treat appeared, whether it was one that was already in there or one I tossed. The challenge will be to get her to use her nose exclusively since she likes to use her feet.
  • Stand. We’ve been working on this on and off for years. I have to remember what I started using as my verbal and hand signal!
  • Target disk (nose touch to a disk). This will be simple if I hold it in my hand, more challenging if it’s on the floor (the rules give you a choice). I have taught her a paw touch to a disk on the floor and it’s actually on stimulus control. I don’t want to risk messing that up. In this case, I am going to take the easier route and hold the disk for the nose touch and let that be part of the cue. I rarely work on stimulus control and I don’t want to lose what we have with the paw touch. (To clarify: it’s perfectly possible to get both things, but I am running up against my own limitations. Plenty of these tricks will challenge us, so I don’t mind taking the easier way on this one.)
  • Target stick. We are working on the new stick. This is an easy and fluent behavior for her; I just need to get it transferred to the longer stick with the ball on the end.
One-year-old Clara checking out a stink bug
  • Wall stand (paws up on the wall). We’ve done this before. We’ll do a one-and-done.
  • Weenie bobbing. This is new for her, but she loves water and puts her head under naturally, so I don’t foresee a problem.
  • Which hand holds the treat? This will be new for us. Since closed hand is an old signal for “leave it,” this might get interesting.

You may notice that there are more than 15 here. I need a little insurance in case some don’t work out!

Head Cock: Already a Mega-Blooper

I’m also planning for some of the hard ones on the list (we aren’t stopping at 30 when there are 61 tricks on the list!). One of the novice tricks seems like it will be very difficult for Clara: cocking her head. Zani was the queen of this charming behavior, but I have never seen Clara do it in her whole life. I will try shaping it, but it will be tough.

I’m trying to do the planning and problem-solving myself in this project, but on this trick, I might need to bring in some reinforcements. Hmm, which trainer friend shall I hit up?

We had a practice session where I tested the waters about capturing/shaping head movement. I marked and treated for any kind of movement of the head in any direction. This seemed a safe enough thing to do for one session. Unbeknownst to non-observant me, something was going on with another part of her body. This movie first zooms in on her head, where you can see that I was doing a halfway decent job of marking head movement. Then it zooms out and you can see the other movement I was capturing. Oops.

We also had some amusing developments when I started using the yoga mat for the carpet roll, as you can see from the featured photo at the top. I’ll post some yoga mat footage next time since it’s cute.

Clara is enjoying this so much and that makes me very happy.

Related Post

Clara’s Notice Trick Title: 15 Tricks, 4 Informative Fails

Copyright 2021 Eileen Anderson

Clara’s Novice Trick Title: 15 Tricks, 4 Informative Fails

Clara’s Novice Trick Title: 15 Tricks, 4 Informative Fails

To keep us both on our toes, I am starting to teach 10-year-old Clara every trick I can get my hands on that is safe for her and that she enjoys. Going to grab some online titles on the way (these are judged via video). Titles are reinforcing to me and often the requirements jolt me out of my training ruts.

These posts will be both here on Eileenanddogs and on my new blog: Teaching My Old Dog New Tricks. For now, my plans are that it will be the same material. If you don’t want to have to search for these among all the different topics on this blog, go to the new one because the tricks posts will be the only ones on there. There’s also a little intro that also gives a little more background about why I embarked on this project.

We started with our novice trick title for Do More With Your Dog. For this first go-round, I picked things Clara already knew and could do fluently. Hey, I wanted a little immediate reinforcement! But also, I was honest about it. When it turned out I was wrong about the fluency and she struggled with puppy pushups and a new target stick, we saved those for later. I could have gotten the behaviors well enough to pass the criteria for the test, but passing at all costs is not my goal. I want to do some good training. I don’t have to have everything on verbal cue (thank goodness) or stimulus control, but I want a modicum of understanding of the behavior. And the failures (see below) are so instructive about the flaws in my training.

I do aim to get better cue recognition along the way. I’ll be working on duration (with myself—Clara does whatever I ask of her!) as well.

A large part of my motivation is that Clara needs more enrichment in her life. Throughout these 10 years, I’ve learned that playing training games is one of her very favorite things. So here we go with every trick I can get my hands on.

Here’s the first batch.

Clara is virtually always this happy when training. This video earned Clara her Novice Trick Dog title with Do More With Your Dog. Thank you to Kit Azevedo for judging our video.

Training Errors

So far, the behaviors are mostly kindergarten behaviors—it feels like a stretch to refer to them as tricks. But a couple of them took some skill. The things I thought we could do that we couldn’t are far more interesting! Here’s a list of the things you can see on the following “Informative Failures” video. I’ll discuss them below after the video.

1. I make her break her stay on a cot by saying her name in a way that resembles our recall cue.

2. I forget to release her from her cot, she stays 60 seconds, and I don’t notice or reinforce.

3. We fail puppy push-ups.

4. We fall apart when I use a new target stick

5. (Not on video.) I cue her to jump, she takes me literally, and jumps into the jump instead of over it.

The following video is not quite funny enough to qualify as a blooper video, although I found some things amusing. But then, I always laugh a lot when we work together.

Reasons for Errors

The reasons for the “errors” that Clara made (I’m using scare quotes because they are not really her errors) are so clear to me. They are due to matching law effects and reinforcement history, both schedules of reinforcement and patterning on my part.

1. Breaking her stay when I say her name. People warn against using a dog’s name as a recall cue, and this is the reason. But it’s not usually a problem for us. I use a special tone and inflection for her recall cue (you hear it later in the video). It’s different from my normal way of speaking to her, but when she was staying on her cot, I inflected her name just enough to make her come to me. My bad.

2. Staying on her cot because I forget to release her. This isn’t a mistake at all, it’s a lovely success, except it would have been nice of me to reinforce her after that great stay while I was walking all around and setting things up. But no, I jumped right into cueing the next behavior.

3. Puppy push-ups. Here’s where it starts to get interesting. The puppy pushups chain consists of repeating the behaviors of sit, down, sit, down, sit, down, on cue. What half-way trained dog can’t do this? Answer: a dog whose trainer has been emphasizing stand on and off for the past two years and tends to ask her for a pattern of sit, down, sit, stand. My pattern overruled her recognition of the verbal cues. Not to mention that I usually reinforce 1:1 and I was asking for six without working up to it. Doh!

We could have pushed through this on the spot and gotten the requisite number of correct repetitions, but I’m choosing to go back and do some remedial work. I worked hard for that stand, but I don’t want it to overrule another behavior I ask for! And getting the verbal cues for sit, down, and stand distinct seems like a great idea!

One of these things is not like the others

4. The new target stick and “three-fers.” Clara has a strong nose-targeting behavior. She can target my hand, my foot, a target stick, a piece of tape on a wall, a cabinet or door. So what happened here? The first problem was reinforcement history. We have been practicing a directed retrieve for months now, so putting her mouth on something is right at the top of her “behaviors to offer” list. The second problem was that the target stick was much longer than the two others I usually use, so the visuals were wrong. The end was much farther from my hand. You can see her repeatedly targeting the place on the long stick that corresponds to the length of the sticks she is used to. Also, the end of the target stick was a round object that must look delectable to a dog who loves balls. But that doesn’t account for most of the errors. If those had been the only problems, we would have gotten 70–90% correct touches within a few minutes.

My biggest mistake was to start asking for three-fers. I’m stealing Sue Ailsby’s term of “two-fers,” that is, to ask for two reps of a behavior before marking and reinforcing. We’ve done plenty of that along with higher numbers of reps as well. The trick requirements for the video asked for three nose targets in different positions, so I absentmindedly started asking for them as a chain. <Insert record scratch sound effect.> Clara’s success rate because of the other problems was already too low. When I started asking for three touches for one reinforcer, i.e., not marking and reinforcing the first two, I put the targeting behavior on extinction. It wasn’t paying off, so she started trying a bunch of other stuff. This is a classic side effect of extinction: getting more variety in the behavior. It’s a side effect we sometimes gently and carefully use in shaping. But here it must have been frustrating. She couldn’t figure out the game we were playing because I changed too many variables. She’s such a good sport.

You can see in the video that there are three clean touches in a row at least once. But that was not representative of our performance, which had a low percentage of right responses for this simple behavior. So I’m going back to the drawing board on this one, just like puppy pushups.

5. Bar jump. This is not on the video, because some mistakes are too awful even for me to show. Even though Summer and Zani were titled agility dogs, the cue “jump” to them was background chatter. To them, the cue was being pointed toward an actual jump combined with my body language. But Clara learned the verbal cue “jump” back when we were working on the Training Levels. I use it occasionally, cueing her to jump over a narrow flower bed in front of the house when on leash.

So I forgot which dog I had. I lined Clara up before the bar jump, cued “Jump” and she jumped right where she was, doing exactly as I asked, and landed on the jump. This was especially bad because it’s a homemade jump with bars that don’t come off. She could have broken a leg by catching it between the two horizontal bars. She didn’t do that, and she didn’t injure herself in any way. But that horrifying scare was punishing for me. I don’t think I’ll get mixed up about that again.

It’s ironic that I am weak at teaching verbal cues, but I somehow taught a good one for “jump.”

Final Words

One of the reasons I’m writing up these details is that there are still people, many many people, who blame errors on the dog. That is like a different world to me now. How can I unlearn what I have learned about reinforcement history and the matching law? When I see Clara’s “mistakes,” I am looking at a map of my own training habits and flaws. Look at Clara in the videos. She wants to perform behaviors for food and fun. Her attention is riveted on me. She is eager. There is no reason on earth she would deliberately make a mistake, as some people claim their dogs are doing when being “disobedient.”

She is obedient to the laws of learning, as we all are. And the most important thing is that she loves these games, even with my warty training. As I improve my skills, she’ll enjoy this activity even more.

Copyright 2021 Eileen Anderson

Trick Training Bloopers

Trick Training Bloopers

Zani cross paws
Zani and I succeeded quickly with the “cross your paws” trick

I decided a while back to teach my dogs to cross their paws as a trick. I followed the instructions on one of Emily Larlham’s excellent videos: Dog Tricks Tutorial: Cross Your Paws. But I didn’t end up making the neat, quick progression shown in the movie when I tried it with my dog Summer.

I think that besides my rather clumsy training, it is just not a very natural behavior for her. I used a target, and when I finally got the behavior (sometimes), it took a long time before she would repeat it consistently. That’s very unlike most other training experiences I’ve had with her. That created a vicious circle, since one of my weaknesses as a trainer is that I am slow to raise criteria. So between the two of us we stayed at interim behaviors way too long.

One of our problems was that she kept creeping forward. Emily’s dogs stay tidily in their down position and daintily move only their paws. (And actually, so did my Zani, to whom I taught this behavior much more quickly). But Summer was perennially creeping forward or hurling herself after her moving paw and heaving sideways.

Another favorite of hers was to correctly cross her paw over, then instantly remove the bottom paw and scoot one body width to the side. I reinforced that one way too much as well. My reasoning: Well, she is crossing her paw!

I’ve said before that I had an epiphany about my dogs’ behaviors being a “map of reinforcement.” These outtakes show that in a microcosm. All these behaviors that Summer covers–and she is really good at variety–have gotten reinforced somewhere and somehow. You will see her target various parts of my body: my hand, foot, and leg. That’s because at some point I decided that if she was using the correct paw and reaching over the other one, it was OK if she targeted me a couple of times instead of the little coaster I was using. BIG mistake on my part. You’ll also see her enthusiastically whack with the wrong foot (that was not recently reinforced, but certainly has been before), and do a lot of general foot movement. You’ll even see her “give up” and put her head down on her paws. But as despondent as that looks, that’s actually an offered behavior as well.

All the outtakes make for an amusing video (except that being targeted with extended nails hurts) but there’s a lesson here. If you don’t raise criteria fast enough and instead reinforce all these approximation behaviors too often, this is the kind of thing you get. I’m working on a post about the Matching Law, but suffice it to say at this point that dwelling on intermediate steps and reinforcing approximate behaviors a lot means those behaviors are going to stick around. It will take that much longer to clean them out of the final behavior.

No Reinforcement?

This video doesn’t show me reinforcing Summer. That’s because I edited together a bunch of “mistakes” that I had finally stopped reinforcing. But don’t worry. My rate of reinforcement was generally very high. And when you think about it, that makes sense. It was high, and directed inappropriately a lot of the time. She wouldn’t be trying all this stuff otherwise.

I have tons of footage of her doing it right and getting food reinforcers. But it made for a more entertaining video when I included only the bloopers.

Training Hint

If you use a target for this behavior, it may be hard to fade. The dog is concentrating on hitting the target; the tactile sensation of crossing the paws (which is really what we want) is overshadowed. My friend Yvette Van Veen of Awesome Dogs suggests using a lightweight target (like a piece of paper) and actually putting it on the dog’s paw (the one that will end up on the bottom). Clever!

What about the rest of you who trained this trick? What method did you use? How did the progression go?

Related Posts

Using a Training Plan to Retrain Summer’s “Target” This is another example of my having reinforced a bunch of approximations and sloppy versions of a behavior. But then I cleaned it up.

Welcome/Bloopers. My very first blog post with my original blooper video.

Copyright Eileen Anderson 2016

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My other website: Dog Dementia: Help and Support

Just a Trick?

Just a Trick?

Zani's useful "Trick"
Zani’s useful “Trick”

“Crossing over” is a phrase dog trainers use to refer to the act of giving up training that uses aversives and changing over to training that uses principally positive reinforcement: becoming a Humane Hierarchy trainer, a force-free trainer, or a clicker trainer. (We have lots of phrases to describe ourselves.) Folks who have made this change (and those who never trained traditionally) will attest that this is more than just a different set of skills. It is a change of world view, and it runs counter to the emphasis on and acceptance of punishment in our culture. For many of us, it is not an easy thing to do. Social and technical support are both very important.

My friend Marge Rogers is a crossover trainer who crossed over with no local mentor, although she would credit her wonderful dog Chase, as well as books and internet resources. She wanted to change the way she trained and she needed to do it on her own.  She came from a competitive obedience background. She decided, brilliantly, to throw off everything she knew, put her obedience goals temporarily on hold, and train her dogs to do tricks.

Why Tricks?

Here’s what she told me:

  1. Teaching tricks improves mechanical skills like observation and timing.
  2. Teaching tricks helps trainers learn to create training plans and break down behavior (cognitive skills).
  3. It helps develop critical thinking skills. (How different are the skills for teaching dust the coffee table or blow bubbles in water than teaching drop on recall?)
  4. There is no pressure for the handler. Or the dog.
  5. Trick training encourages creative thinking and problem solving.
  6. Trick training give immediate feedback for the handler (via the dog’s behavior).
  7. There is no handler baggage.
  8. And the best reason for teaching tricks – you’re not burdened by the curse of knowledge for stuff you’ve never trained before.  No old habits to unlearn. In short: it’s the perfect way to become a better trainer.

P.S. You can make your own chicken camp.

The Result of Chicken Camp
The Result of Chicken Camp

Marge is referring to Bob Bailey’s well known chicken camps where trainers learn to hone their mechanical skills. This picture is the outcome of one of her personal “chicken camps,” where she taught her Rhodesian Ridgeback Pride a high leg lift to emulate taking a pee (he normally squatted to pee, by the way). She shaped that leg lift all the way up from a twitch.

Marge’s trick skills resulted in her fame as the “Ridgeback lady” on YouTube, who featured her Rhodesian Ridgebacks in videos such as these:

By the way, Ridgebacks have a reputation among traditional trainers as being an untrainable breed.

Finally!

Many was the time that Marge exhorted me to train tricks. I generally declined, saying that it’s all tricks (true, but perhaps evading her point a little bit), and that I had my hands full with polite pet behaviors and agility (also tricks!)

So a funny thing happened. Recently I broke down and trained my dogs a couple of tricks. It was supposed to be just for the heck of it, but two of the tricks immediately became very useful.

Marge says, “That figures!”

1) Sit Pretty. I’ve been teaching little Zani to “sit pretty.” We went slowly, so she could build up her abdominal muscles, but she really took to it. What’s a more classic “trick” that sitting up? Adorable but useless, right? But no sooner did we have a few seconds’ duration than it came in incredibly handy.

I’m teaching all my dogs to sit or stand on the bathroom scale by themselves. I thought I would have to manipulate the dogs’ feet a little bit so that I could see the readout. But Zani solved that problem by offering her “useless” trick.

Link to video for email subscribers

If I were Marge, though, I’d probably teach the dogs to curl their tails around as well, so they didn’t brace any of their weight on them if they were on the floor. That’s a little more than I have the patience for, though. I’ll just elevate the scale if I need to.

2) Leg weaves. I don’t remember why I decided to do this, but I taught Clara how to weave through my legs. Let me be frank: I think that is one of the silliest behaviors ever. Even when the most accomplished freestylers do it, it’s mostly a “yawn” from me.

But as soon as I taught Clara the rudiments, I discovered something. It’s fun! No wonder people do it. Clara and I both enjoyed it, although I’m sure we looked even dorkier than average. And no, I’m not sharing a video!

Two photos of a tan dog with a  black muzzle and tail pressing up against a woman's feet and legs. The woman is sitting in a chair and the dog is walking under her legs in one photo, and backed up and pressing into her feet in anther
Clara enjoying pressing against my feet and legs

The added benefit of this one is a little harder to describe, but no less real. Clara is a very “touchy” dog. She likes to lean against me, touch me, cuddle, and be as close as she can. So she loved the leg weaves. She got to be right “inside” my personal space. And darned if she didn’t make up a new game: she comes and weaves her way through my legs when I am sitting down, just for fun. Kind of like a very large, pushy cat. She clearly likes the sensation.

I couldn’t get a shot of the actual weaving when I was sitting down, but here she is walking under my leg and pressing against my foot. See how she is pushing toward me in both photos?

So Clara and I have not only discovered a new way to play one-on-one that needs no  toy or prop.  With a little finesse, I could even use it as a reinforcer. But right now, it’s just another way to have fun with my dog.

So thanks Marge, for urging me to train pure “tricks,” but they keep turning out to be useful! Or was that part of what you were trying to show me all along….?

Coming Up:

  • Punishment is not a Feeling
  • Why Counterconditioning Didn’t “Work”
  • How Skilled are You at Ignoring? (Extinction Part 2)
  • What if Respondent Learning Didn’t Work?

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I’m So Glad I Had the Camera!

I’m So Glad I Had the Camera!

Something pleasant for a Monday morning: Eileenanddogs Funniest Home Videos!

Clara ball square

Here are three incredible and adorable moments that I am very grateful to have on film.

Zani Uses a Tool

I literally grabbed the camera and turned it on to take this clip, so the background and camera work are terrible. But just look what I got on film. This was not set up.

Link to the “Zani Uses a Tool” video for email subscribers. 

Clara Discovers Gravity

Clara has always been good at entertaining herself. This is the day she invented Gravity Game #2.

Link to the “Clara Discovers Gravity” video for email subscribers.

Niña Blisses Out

This is the night I discovered that my friend’s dear little chihuahua (RIP little Niña) would bliss out when I jiggled her back and forth in my hands.

Link to the “Niña Blisses Out” video for email subscribers.

If you haven’t checked out my Blooper Video from when I first started the blog, be sure and check it out!

I’m grateful to live in an age where it is so easy to take pictures and videos. 

Coming up:

  • Big Announcement!
  • Invisible Cues
  • How Skilled are You at Ignoring? (Extinction Part 2)
  • Oh No, I Broke my Dog!
  • More Training Errors: Cautionary Tales (I seem to have an abundance of these)

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