Friday, March 16, 2012

Rainy Day Tricks and confessions

I have a confession.  Not one of my dogs has a really good retrieve.  Sure, when they are excited, they'll grab the ball and run back to me tossing it at me or in my general direction, but, not one of my dogs will go get something when I ask them too.

My best buddy sent me a link to a clicker video years ago trying to persuade me to actually train my dog.  Oh I watched it, but when I started to work on clicker training the retrieve, my dogs would all do something silly and I'd start shaping that.
I have watched the video. Many times. And still, after years, no solid retrieve.  It is me that isn't focused. Not the dogs.

People say to me, oh you have shelties, they don't retrieve and I am the first to say, "yes they can!"  However, mine don't.  I know it can be done.  Just haven't done it myself.

So I'm giving myself the challenge during these rainy days.  Let's work on this.  It is just like my weight challenges.  Write it down and it becomes something that I do.

I will work on this daily and post my progress.
Step one:  Hold object while it is in the hand.  My goal is to have the dogs actually hold the object for 3 seconds or more.

My first attempts today haven't gone as I had hoped with Tazz, but we are figuring it out with Fin.

I first tried a ball.

I felt that we were getting some good mouth on action, but she was not really holding.  Attempts with Tazz and the ball were unsuccessful due to the fact that I need a smaller ball.

So I tried a toy that was more floppy.  That actually worked with Tazz, although I got alot of pushing rather than holding (his default behavior when I've tried this before). 

My next try I'm going back to the old wooden spoon.  We've done this many times before and I think I can get the hold pretty quickly.  Once I'm getting the behavior with the spoon I can put that behavior on to other things, like a ball.

But of course, it is not the item that is the problem.  It is me consistently working on the "trick". 

Watch for more video updates.  They will be forthcoming.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I have the book the Clicked Retrieve and it seems marvelous, I say seems because I have never worked all the way through it ;-) .one day!