Soda carton games!! He grabbed it, chewed it, carried it, and generally gave it a thorough working over.
Friday morning was exciting: the first visit with our clicker trainer, Lisa, from On the Spot Dog Training. She was Kenai and BB’s trainer too, and once Levi’s bladder infection is taken care of, Lisa will be vital in his socializing.
As usual for a puppy training session, it started off with the objective of beginning leash training, but then moved into “Levi”, “leave it”, backing away from the deck railing he can fit and fall through, and “off” commands as well. We even got some outside piddles to reward.
Boy was I slow with the click and reward at first…
I’d been asleep when she came, which didn’t help. I really have gotten out of practice with the clicker. But guess who’s walking beside me on a loose leash? He had a full hour of training time and didn’t want to quit!
Here’s the blow by blow of our training time condensed in case you’ve never clicker trained before:
He didn’t care at all about the collar. Yay! Never even needed a reward, never scratched at it, nothing. Boy did I get lucky. Yet another reason to get a puppy used to having things on his body very young, at 8 wks or even sooner.
He ran around dragging it, played while dragging it, followed me while dragging it, I followed him while it was dragging along. Then I picked it up and stood still.
It went taut as he wanted to go over there, and as soon as he moved so the tension released, he got a click and a big reward. We did this a couple times, and the closer he got to me, the more treats he got at a time.
It took about 30 seconds before he stopped pulling it at all, and followed me. Having a naturally attentive, food motivated puppy pays off!! Now that he’s got the basics, it’s practice for duration, eventually followed by ignoring distractions on his own.
From now on, I can take Levi out the back door deck leashed into the fenced part of the yard to relieve himself. At night, it is a relief to me to have him in a fenced place. No worries about stray dogs I can’t see in the dark, nor him falling through the deck railings.
We began with a treat in the hand, and persistant little grey shark that he is, it took him awhile to lose interest. When he did, though, he got the click and the treat. This is what Sue Ailsby (http://www.sue-eh.ca/page24/page26/styled/) calls “zen”. Levi is a little slower at this one: he’s very tenacious.
The whole process was repeated with the treat on the floor, covered by Lisa’s hand. Then I had a turn at the leave it, using the same proceedure.
We had to do the whole business over again when the treat bag caught his attention. I can see already I need to make a list of permantly off limits items.
The list for him is smaller than a companion since I want him to retrieve, and he has to be willing to mess with items before he learns to pick them up and bring them. But electrical cords are a forever no-no.
Sorry no pics of this: I had a clicker in one hand and treats in the other. I’m trying to convince Mom to start using the camera. I only have 3-4 pictures of Kenai with me, and I want more of Levi and I together. Getting her to do it though…
While he was leashed I went and stood in the yard, Levi wanted to stick his head through the railing to see me. Lisa had his leash so he couldn’t actually fall through, and just one step back got him a click and a treat.
We did this in various places around the deck, then began at one end and headed towards the stairs one move back at a time. It’s a long deck so we wanted him to learn he could just go on down the stairs to come to me.
Then he was in the yard and I was on the deck. Levi being Levi, he wanted to climb up the supports under the deck. Of course he’s way too little and it’s way too tall, so I got to capture “off”, saying the word just as he started to get off (click and treat of course)!
This was alot for a little tots at one time, but Levi totally enjoyed it, remembered it all even after his nap, and didn’t want to quit. He loves “training”! And he learned it all at warp speed. He’s one sharp little Dane, my young Hungarian man. (Don’t tell me Danes aren’t smart as Collies, folks, I know better!)
My homework is consitancy, and getting faster with the click as well as treat delivery. Levi’s homework is to be Levi–no problem there!