Excitement Training and More Spanish | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Excitement Training and More Spanish

Earlier today, we did some more work on following cues while wound up and super excited. We had started working on this earlier and today we did more with it.

It's easy to get him excited, and adding to it was some more kids running around. While he doesn't particular care about kids doing their own thing, it did add more stimulation to the environment. I also brought out food that wasn't just his beloved bread balls. This time, I brought out meatball pieces I had broken up. I was making some for lunch, so I sacrificed a couple for training purposes.

Once he was sufficiently psyched up (read: play growling while chasing me and with that wide-eyed wild look on his face), we started the training. At first, we worked on drops (lying down) and he still took quite a lot of time to get focused on my cue. I got the zoomies going on again, but then he went down. Gave him a treat and started running around again.

While chasing me, I threw in a stay cue. He froze and when I walked around him, he was zoned in on me and the more I walked around him, I could see him trying hard not to move. I saw those paws lifting up like he was just itching to move. I walked in to him to give him a meatball piece and then started the chase again. If he would have moved, I would have just stopped and not looked at him, totally disengaging, for a little while.

Time to up it some more and to put more intensity into things, I started batting at him playfully and "bouncing" to him which made him take evasive action and come back at me. Getting him even more agitated. I gave another stay cue. He froze (after some steps), and then I threw another twist. I gave a drop cue. This was completely the last thing on his mind! He took off running. Then he was like, "wait...what did you say?" and he froze and look at me again. I gave the cue again, and he almost took off again, but lied down. I called him too me, give him a lot of meatball pieces and that was that.

Later on today, I worked on more Spanish with him. We had worked on these words before in addition to "abres" and "cierras". These two words were for going up and down the stairs.

For going upstairs, I used "arriba" and for downstairs, I used "abajo". One interesting thing I had no idea I was doing at the time is using a lot of words that start with "a-" (azul, amariilo, arriba, abajo) so it will be interesting if he can keep these sounds straight going forward. So far, it looks like there won't be a problem.

I noticed the same effect with "abres" and "cierras" - a very rapid connection to the behavior and the sound with no confusion. This was especially noticeable with going upstairs. Before, he would hesitate or do something else (usually barking for some reason) when I tried to get him to go upstairs. With using "arriba", he quickly put things together and now he shoots up the stairs! Once again, Spanish helped him make a connection (and it was again words form Dora the Explorer! Wally's fetish strikes again. I wonder if it wasn't the Spanish that got him into it..I wonder why he's making connections this fast - what is it about the sounds of Spanish?)

For "abajo", there was a little initial hesitation because he was waiting to hear "downstairs" as I used to say. (To his credit, he knew I didn't say it and he would "false start" - make a move to go down but then stop like "hey! you said something different!") It took a little bit to get over that hesitation, but now, no problem.

So now Wally knows four Spanish words. Abres, cierras, arriba, and abajo. He's learning two more, the colors azul and amarillo. Certainly keeps the training interesting for us both if nothing else!