From Learning the Ball To First Spanish Struggle | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

Translate To Your Language

Thursday, May 5, 2011

From Learning the Ball To First Spanish Struggle

Today was a mixed bag day. First, we got the chance to introduce the ball. Then after that, we worked on converting another cue to a Spanish word, which for the first time might be something of a struggle.

Yeah, Same Thing As Pushing, Wally.

Here is the ball, the pelota, in question:

La pelota, object number 2

With this ball, he quickly caught on to the idea that he was to touch the ball. He was equating it with the pushing stuff we've done during exposing him to the basics of treibball, which got him quickly into the mindset of poking the ball with hose nose forcefully.

This enthusiasm allowed me to just focus on saying the cue "pelota" and having him wait to make sure the connection is being formed between the cue and the behavior. Since progress was so fast, we didn't need to move so methodically as we did with the rabbit and not nearly as slowly as with the colors. How great! Immediately, we could go with distance and he looked around readily for the ball no matter where it was.

The only reason we had to stop was because I had to go get another piece of bread! I'm glad I chose to use the soccer ball (and this size of ball) after seeing these results. Hopefully, when it's time to add in the rabbit, this kind of progress will manifest itself again!

Say It Isn't So! Our First Spanish Fail?

Perhaps we were due. Perhaps it was working too well and the Dog Training Fates said "enough of this, time to make them have a set back!" and threw this monkey wrench in. Perhaps I wasn't saying the word consistently enough, but...I doubt I've been particularly consistent as it is,'s not a hard word to say.

"Pares" a form of the verb "Parar" which means "to stop". As you probably can guess, this is the new "wait/stay" cue. While trying to think of why suddenly the struggle here as opposed to the other successes, some thoughts came into my head:
  1. This is an "old" behavior, perhaps 'stay' is too established in his mind
  2. Going in line with #1, perhaps I've forgotten how I 'explained' the behavior to him
  3. The sound of the word itself is too difficult for him to pick up
  4. We have just one cue that starts with a "P" sound, perhaps he's not used to hearing it
  5. The stay/wait wasn't as strong as I thought to begin with, so this just exposed it
I recently read about the "stay into a moving stand", and, thanks to a post on a forum I'm on, I got a lead/tip on a hand signal she used to do it. I can't find the freaking post so I can link to it. I know who wrote it and I'm looking on the right forum. Ugh. Anyway...trying that route seems to be working a bit.

With him walking beside me, I give the hand signal and say "pares" and if he stops, he gets a click and treat. At this point, I'm also stopping since that often triggers him to do the same. Everything to try to get the association going and make a connection.

Success has been hit or miss and so far getting him to wait or stay in any other way while using "Pares" has not worked particularly well so far.'s too bad I can't fully remember how I first did "stay" with him so that I could try that. No way we're giving up, though. I know it's just a matter of getting those first few breakthroughs and then we'll hit the ground running from there.