"All-Positive Monday 12" - Letting Wally's Creativity Run Wild | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"All-Positive Monday 12" - Letting Wally's Creativity Run Wild

Today for the 12th All-Positive Monday, I brought Wally to an open area and just let him do anything he wanted to get a click and treat. I hesitate to call it any form of shaping because it wasn't towards a final behavior or chain. It was more like "free writing", canine style, where we could "write" about whatever he wanted how ever he wanted. Perhaps it's some kind of game as well - though games usually have some structure or rules.

Any movement action he took earned him a click and treat. If he did a stationary behavior, I would click and treat if he held it for a second or more, showing he was really maintaining it, not just in thought of what he should do next. I also put a pillow out so he could have an object to interact with if he wanted. The objects easily accessible to him:

  • A large mirror
  • His crate
  • A pillow on the floor
  • The freezer
  • Me (i.e. he can offer behaviors to/at me)
  • The black place mat his food and water go on in the morning

The area we worked in. Not pictured is the freezer. I couldn't get it in the shot.




There are also some the objects around that he can't really get to, but he could try to get to them if he wanted. The patio door was open as well, so any sounds he decided to focus on would get clicked and treated also.

It was, basically, just go for it, Wally! Do whatever strikes your fancy. I wanted to see what he would decide to do given no task to work towards or no cues of any kind.

It went well. Wally got into the game after a few clicks and first worked on the pillow. He pushed it around with his nose and then put his front paws on it. After that, he play bowed on it a couple times before going back to pushing it and then going on to something else.

Next, he saw the mirror. He looked at it and then moved to doing some behaviors at me. He did a sit and then moved to a down. From the down, he then put a paw on my foot, then both paws. He stood up again and then looked at the mirror more.

He started getting fascinated by the mirror. The more he looked at the mirror and got clicked and treated for it, he got more curious. I don't know if he knew that was "another dog" he was seeing, but he did start going up and sniffing the mirror, so I wonder.

He also seemed to notice my hand moving in the mirror. I did it once and he turned and looked directly at my hand. I let some time pass and when he got intent on the mirror again, I moved my hand, and he did the same thing. I wonder if he can use the mirror to see what's going on around him...

Another freaky looking thing was his reflection looking at me. Like directly at me. It's like he could line up my eyes using my reflection and would look at my reflection looking at him. This is starting sound like a plot line in Inception, and perhaps I was imagining it in the end...I will have to figure out some kind of ways to try to test and use this...

Sometimes, he would focus on some sounds outside, which also got rewarded. This didn't happen often though (somewhat surprisingly, given how nosy he is). Other times, he would offer things like sitting pretty or using the place mat like we were doing mat training. He even shifted his position while in the downs, which is a behavior, so it got clicked and treated.

In something of a surprise, he was quite tired once he got to settle down. I would have thought with there being no real goal or puzzle for him to figure out, it would have been a pretty light-on-the-brain activity. He had plenty of fun and was dog laughing afterwords, always a sign he had lots of fun, but he was laid out on his side not too long after. Interesting.