Changed it up on retrieving - Caused interesting behavior | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Changed it up on retrieving - Caused interesting behavior

I changed up the retrieving practice with him. I just threw some of his toys on the bed, had him sit front to me. Then sent him to the objects by saying "go get it" with no indication (i.e. I didn't point, stare, or say the name of an object) and then he picked one out, and repeated until he brought them all back.

The interesting part is in the picking. He milled around over some of the items, switched one for another once - meaning he had one then put that one down to pick up another - and would pass up items in plain sight to go looking in hiding spots for who knows what item he had in mind.

It was really interesting to see and I plan to do this many times again and record the results to see if there's some kind of pattern. I will also note which in which order I touched the items to gather them, in case that may be influencing his decision, and the order in which he brings them back. I'll also note any of the item switching and such he might do.

The items in question:

  • Water drop squeaky toy - blue toy shaped like a drop of water
  • Fire squeaky toy - bright reddish-orange toy that's shaped like a flame
  • Big squeaky bone - red and white big but soft squeaky bone toy
  • Rabbit toy - A small brown rabbit that has fake "hair" on it.
  • A little baseball - small white baseball toy that easily fits in his mouth. Has a bell inside - it's really a "cat toy".
  • Rope bone - a bone-shaped toy made of a rope-like material. Has stringy ends he likes to grab sometimes
  • Nylabone - The good old nylabone chew "toy".

Only cue I'll give is a "go get it" and only feedback he gets is when he presents and object to me (hold it and sit), then I'll cue "give" and then click and treat him. I won't indicate an object and look either at the center of his body, or at some point not centered on the "test area". This let's me keep him in view, but lowers the chance I'll accidentally indicate an item with my looking.

If you're interested in the details of how it went this first time, you can click to view this post about it.