Saturday, July 10, 2010

Backwards-Chained Retrieve

Cobi: New yard. Lots of dog smells. Cool grass, hot sun. Funny white sticks which I jump over. Fun.

New person. No wait, my nose tells me I've met her before, but not here. Also the smell of duck and lamb. Where is the duck and the lamb? In the pouch. Hello, I'll sit here nicely. What do you want me to do? Please share your duck and lamb.

Yes, that is my tug toy. Why are you dangling it there? Why do you get excited when I bonk it with my nose? People are strange.

Please share your duck and lamb.

Cobi's Person: Today we had a private lesson with Sherry from Smart Dog Training. We were trying a backwards-chained retrieve, so starting with the last step, which is getting the dog to put the object into your hand. Although our first problem is getting the thing into her mouth.

Actually, our real first problem is that I haven't done any pure shaping with her. As soon as the treats and clicker come out, she smashes her bum onto the ground and looks for a cue.

Sherry started with holding out a toy and rewarding any touch of the dog's nose to the toy. The next criteria was looking for two nose touches. Then we were trying to move into an open mouth, which was easy because it was hot out, but I think we'd probably get stuck there if we tried it in the house.

So we changed tactics to this little cloth bag full of treats. Immediately Jacobi had this in her mouth, which earned her a click and a treat from inside the bag. So this skipped us ahead several steps. This is kind of cheating, and may never get us a love of chasing balls, but apparently there are frisbees out there that you can pack with treats so this might be enough to get some kind of a retrieve going.

The next step is to slowly lengthen the amount of time she needs to keep her grip on the bag. She only gets a treat if she lets go when I tell her to, not on her own terms. After that we're going to move to pushing the bag into my hand.

So we have some work to do this week. 

Cobi: You want me to WHAT? You can't be serious...

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