"All-Positive Monday" 9: Fronts, Go-Arounds, And...Scary Food Bowl?! | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"All-Positive Monday" 9: Fronts, Go-Arounds, And...Scary Food Bowl?!

The ninth "All-Positive Monday" happened, and for the most part it was another success, but there was some..."quirks" in it today. Read on.

Fun With Fronts With Finishes Thrown In

This was something of a game. I would move away from him and entice him to come get me. I walked backwards as fast as I could while he comes trotting up to me to catch me. Then I stop. When he gets up to me, he sits down and then I click and treat him. We keep doing this all over, around corners, up and down stairs. He gets really excited with this and after a while I can't get all that far away from him since he's charging after me or mirroring my movement.

At this point, I just keep taking a couple steps back. He follows, and then I do it again. I click and treat after a few of these and then start backing up more and more times. I can hear him start to do his "dog laugh" and he starts "sitting harder" each time.

When we went outside for a walk, I let him get some running in by putting him in a stay and then going quite a ways from him (one day, I'll have to show a picture since I can't judge distances at all) and called him to front. He charges all hard and then comes to an abrupt stop in a front. I give him a treat and repeat the process. He loves this and it gets him some good sprinting in.

For the finishes, we didn't do anything special, but I attached it at the end of each sequence. This made it something of a precursor to a treat and another round of the activity which then became like a double reward for the behavior, making up, hopefully, for fewer "formal" repetitions with it.

Go Go Go-Arounds...Or At Least We Wanted To

For the go-around (where he goes around the indicated object) we played the station-to-station game. Or at least what we could of it. Back when we first played it, the weather was still kind of cool and the days a little on the short side, so there was some time we could go out and have the playground basically to ourselves. Now, with the weather warm and the days longer, kids are out all over the place (and I swear they are all girls, and little ones at that, which we just get no escape from). This was the first "quirk" that got in our way.

With all this activity, there's just no way to get the game in as there would be too many distractions and all they need to see is a dog they thing is sooooo cute and want to pet all the time running around the playground to get their attention. I swear, little kids have their own version of "prey drive"!

Anyway, for what we could get in, we did have some fun playing the game again. Wally remembered the go-around easily and loved the game just as much. I hated to cut it short, and Wally was still all fully of energy and jumping and bouncing around trying to get me to start the game again.

Really? Running From Your Food?

This really, really has me stumped right now. I mean, seriously, he is suddenly running from his food bowl and gets scared when he's laying beside it in what was his usual "CAN I HAZ IT NOW?" place where he waits for me to "allow" him to eat.

In fact, when I give the go ahead (literally, I say "go ahead!"), he goes to open the door and runs down the other end of the hall. Or to the laundry room (go figure that one too). What's equally odd is that if I put the food in a white bowl (one of my bowls) he'll eat it up. And then, as if it wasn't odd enough, this only happens during dinner. Breakfast, he just eats it right up.

Well, he's going to have to eat from the food bowl. So this part of the "All-Positive Monday" was devote to desensitizing him...to his own food bowl. Fortunately, it didn't take much to get him to get up (since he was hungry) and start to come over to sniff my fingers (I had some of the food on them). When he licked the food, I praised him. He kept doing it until he took the food off my fingers, which got him more praise.

Then I used a bit of targeting to get him to put his head in the bowl, praising every movement to the food. He was still a bit hesitant, but with some more encouraging and started to lick/nibble at the food. This earned him more praise and he then started actually eating, which got him more praise and I went away. I noticed that once he started eating, he devoured his food like normal, even licking the ball clean.

I don't get it. He still loves the food, he's very hungry, and once he eats, he's all normal (and looking at me like "Look! I ate my dinner!"). If any one has an explanation for this, I'm all ears. Right now, this has me completely baffled. I mean, when I put treats in the bowl to test and said "go ahead!" he chomped them down (this was before dinner) so it's just when it's his food in the bowl.

I don't know. It's one of those times I wish I could read his mind to know why he's suddenly doing this.

Even with the scary food bowl business, it was a good day and another success.