Thursday, November 19, 2009

Training a Frantic Dog

So our new training challenge was posted by Emma...and it's pretty cute. We have to train them to climb into a suitcase and then poke their nose out on cue. I started after work with Abby first then Ryan. Abby and I 'click' right away when training something new most of the time. The only issue I end up having with her is if I'm not rewarding enough she stops enjoying it and keeps trying to come up to me and roll over or press her head against me or lick my face (seems like "sucking up" kind of behaviours).

With Ryan the main issue is that he is so.frantic. Like, he offers every behaviour he knows in the first 5 seconds after realizing I have the clicker out. I usually have to tell him to lay on his bed and relax for a minute before I can even think about training anything. His enthusiasm is great once he has directed it towards the right thing, and once he starts listening instead of being frantic he figures out the right thing pretty damn fast. It's just that initial burst of activity that is hard for me to deal with. For example, I had the suitcase out and was just sitting there calmly with the clicker and in the span of 3 seconds or so he had 1 front foot in, 2 front feet in, both front feet out, 1 back foot in, his head in, nose touch to the suitcase flap, 2 hind feet in with a nose touch to the suitcase flap...etc. I am not fast enough to mark any one of those things when he offers them that quickly! Maybe it's my speed that's the problem - I should be glad that he offers weird and funny behaviours - like trying to limp backwards into the suitcase and then falling over on his side - we've been working on 'bang'.

Agility tonight - I love his agility enthusiasm!

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