We devoted much of today towards drilling "pare" in his head - meaning "stop". And we went about it taking one step at a time.
While at the same time, "vámonos" (let's go) was formally worked on as the "let's move" cue. I figured this would be good synergy in training.
To start this off, I first began with "vámonos" to get him moving as he was sitting on the porch. As soon as he stood up and began moving, he got marked and rewarded. Then I cued "pare" and gave the hand signal, and once he stopped, he got another mark and reward.
This alternation between "vámonos" and "pare" literally went step-by-step. The frequency of rewards and the completely different "walk" we were on totally captured his interest. He didn't know what kind of game this was, but he wanted to keep playing and win his prizes (this time, a left over failure of what was supposed to be a belgium waffle).
With the continued reinforcement, Wally was eagerly going into the movements, making it harder for him to stop promptly on "pare". Seeing this, I slowed down the whole process in terms of calling out the cues. Adding in this twist also added in a little work on controlling his excitement. He couldn't start shooting forward on "vámonos" because the "pare" would be coming right behind.
Once he was getting the "pare" down nicely ("vámonos" was no problem for him!), I stopped using the hand signal. Once I did that, he had only listening to tell him when to stop. Harder, as expected, but he didn't do all that badly with it.
From there, we went to more random "pare" cuing. At first the stops came kind of late (but once he did, he still got rewarded), but he must have got in the back of his mind that I'll call for a stop at any time, making him stop more promptly. All the while, he kept getting excited and was watching me intently.
Each walk we went on today went like this, giving plenty of chances for him to see what the two cues mean. The walk before dinner went without treats, as it I didn't want to spoil his appetite, earning him verbal praise and some hearty pats on the side. He got just as excited, maybe because he thought that was the invite to a game. While this wasn't a game, it did give me an idea for one to play with him sometime.
Don't Forget Your Rabbit And Ball
After his dinner and post-dinner name, but before going to bed, I had him work some more with the rabbit and ball, mostly a run through of what "conejo" and "pelota" are, his rabbit and ball, respectively.
Nothing really fancy, mostly the same beginning lessons as before. Mostly it was a review of what the objects are called, but there was more distance between him and the object to get him used to looking in the distance for the object and going to it from farther away.
No real problems here, but there shouldn't have been! Still, this must have been some challenge for him as he promptly went to sleep right after we were done. I mean he went straight to the "dead dog" position!
Maybe it was harder than it looked, or perhaps he made it look easy because he still had to really, really focus and concentrate to remember what the object looked like. I was surprised to say the least to see him that worn out, as if I had taught something completely new.
I had thought maybe it was just the time of day, his body winding down, but he was very active and alert during the actual exercise. Go figure!
Muy bien, Wally. Another good Monday for us both!