"All-Positive Monday" VII: Left, Right, Back, Up, Down | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"All-Positive Monday" VII: Left, Right, Back, Up, Down

As planned, Wally and I worked on directions and I could see that he's gotten rusty with it, but he did still remember a decent amount of it.

I didn't play any variation of "Rapid Cues" with it after seeing that he's not quite as sharp as before, but we did play the "Directions Game" and did an activity with the dumbbell to help him understand the direction in the concept of a turn. We also did some blind retrieving (inside) as planned.

First game, I put out three targets for him, one to his left, right, and behind him. He had to go in the direction and touch the target with his nose. If we did that, he got a click and a treat (his bread balls - the usual). If he was heading to the wrong target, I would cue "wait" (and reward his stopping, sitting, and looking at me) and give the direction again. I don't consider the 'wait' cue as a correction, but just a "reset" so that he'll be aware of the direction.

He was getting a good idea of this again, probably starting to remember us playing this before. We played this for a while, and gave him a break while I went to shred more bread.

The next thing we did used his dumbbell. I stopped at an "intersection" where a room met the hall, allowing for a left or right turn. I would either place or toss the dumbbell with him sitting beside me (finish position), and then call out the direction. He had to go get the dumbbell and bring it back.

This seems to help him. It seems that he can understand a direction better with a target to go with it. If I just ask for the direction and a signal he'll turn and go a couple steps and look up at my hand, but with some to look at/for, he'll keep going until he gets it.

What's interesting is doing this helped him with the blind retrieving to a degree. He was much more willing/able to keep going in a direction, maybe thinking he'll come across the dumbbell. This made it much easier to guide him around to find where I hid the dumbbell. I also hid it in different levels of the house so that's where the "up" and "down" come in (I need to look up left, back, and right and Spanish, note to self).

During our walks, I did a little with the dumbbell "target" around turns, and he did them pretty well then too. I also continued with saying the name of the turn as we make it during walks and sometimes just practicing calling turns and having him make them with me randomly.

In all, it was another pretty good Monday. He was happy and wanted to keep going, but once he hit his bed, he turned from eager dog to sleepy-time dog, and took a long three hour nap. Or I should say a deep all-out, barking-in-his-sleep, "nap".