Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to everyone!  It was a beautiful Earth Day on Bully Hill.  More trees and flowers are blooming.

(pink dogwoods)

(apple blossoms)

(cherry blossoms... the kind that actually produce cherries)

(Cherry blossoms... not the fruit tree)

(I'm pretty sure these are weeds, but I really like them)

OK then, I've been on a bit of a hiatus from actually posting information about animal training.  I recently visited a doggie friend that was having a hard time greeting people at the door.  This little bully was getting a bit too excited when guests arrived, and she really did not know how to respond appropriately.  The owners were going to explore a few different options, but one of the things we discussed was teaching the dog to go to a specific "safe spot" when there was a knock at the door.  While this might seem very complicated, it is easy when you break things down into simple steps.

The first step is to start target training with the dog.  I think we've demonstrated that one before using the horses.  Once the dog learns basic target training, you can add some more distance and throw the target.  I also demonstrated this with the horses when teaching them to fetch.

Here, we are going to teach the dogs to go to a safe place using the same basic concept.  Instead of a jolly ball or a ball on a stick, they will need to target a blanket.

The following are some short videos of the dogs after I throw a blanket onto the ground:

This is not exactly the most exciting stuff in the world, but it is good progress.  As demonstrated by Petunia, even if the dog accidentally hits the target, you still click and reward.  The dog needs to figure out for herself why she is being rewarded.  Once your dog figures it out and is going to the target all of the time, you can add a command like "spot."  Thereafter, we can start to reward the dog for staying at the spot for longer and longer periods of time.

Rome was not built in a day, but it is a lovely place now.

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