"All-Positive Monday 10" - Introduction To The Circle, Practicing the Mat | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

Translate To Your Language

Monday, May 23, 2011

"All-Positive Monday 10" - Introduction To The Circle, Practicing the Mat

Today on the 10th "All-Positive Monday" (can't believe it's that many), I introduced Wally to the first of the two shapes I'll best seeing if he can identify down the road and we also worked on going to a "mat" (really, a rectangular towel on the floor), something we've done here and there, but haven't done a quite a while.

Also a new reward for him this time, some "veggie straws" that he loves.

The Circle, El Círculo

For the circle, I'm using a round blue pillow right now. The pillow is a decent size and is something he is familiar with and very comfortable with.

Much like with the other objects and the attempts with colors, the first step was teaching him the name of the object and rewarding him for going to it. This time, though, I started him about four or five feet away, hopefully to let him get a better view of things, so to speak. The distance didn't bother him at all and things were going smoothly.

Of course, I didn't want him to just walk a path and remember that, so I moved the pillow when he wasn't looking. I think, already, he was having a clue on what the target was because this totally confused him. It didn't help I put it in a "hidden-in-plain-sight" place, but he looked everywhere. All I did was keep saying "círculo" when it looked he was "stopping to think". He did find it, and after the first four or five go's with that, he started finding it quickly.

Now, something a little unusual happened. I put the pillow on the bed. When I called out the shape, he charged to the bed and jumped up, bit the pillow, and jumped off the bed so forcefully that he nearly made it back to me on the fly! What's up with that?

Wasn't just that one time. Each time, he kept doing it. In fact, if I kept calling for it, he'd keep biting the pillow and trying to carry it back to me. It's too big, though, but it didn't stop him from trying! When I put the pillow out of the room, he started to bark and whine a bit as he looked around until he saw it as he was passing the door and then he went to it. I think it's safe to say he at least has an idea!

Practicing the Mat

This always has him starting by trying to look under the towel since he's thinking I hid some food under it. This isn't a new problem, and I was expecting it. I picked the towel up, put it down, and pointed at it. He got on it and laid down, which got him the reward, which I called him off the "mat" to get (so he could go back on it).

He must have remembered what this was since after a few pokes on the towel, he laid on it consistently and quickly. If his paws weren't on it all the way, I would say "go mat" and he adjusted how he laid on the towel. When all the paws were on it, he got the reward.

I was hoping he'd start to adjust his paws if I delayed the marker a bit, and he did start doing that, but not quite like I'd hope (he most adjusted how he was laying down, not so much his paws on the "mat", but since he was on the "mat" and getting the idea, I gave him the reward anyway. Refining things can come later. I figured he was getting tired at this point, since this is usually when he has his nap (we worked on this after dinner, so he likely would want his "post-dinner nap"). We went a few more times, and ended while he was still eagerly going to the mat.

Another good and fun Monday for us both. He's sleeping happily as I typed this post.