I’m on a dog training roll at the moment, me and the pups are having SO much fun!!
Training is vital for Zoey; it’s how we play. She doesn’t enjoy playing with toys, and when we rough house can get over-excited (and bitey!) so we have to limit that. Training is a fun activity we can do together.
As well as practicing old tricks, I’m working on quite a few new ones with Zoey too;
- ‘Nameless trick’ – I haven’t thought up what to call this yet! I’ve basically taught Zoey to ‘wave’, but with her right not her left paw – what verbal cue can I give this??
- Taking turns – when training Zoey, Kasper sits and waits on the couch, even if I throw Zoey a treat across the room. Currently Zoey struggles to stay out the way when I’m training Kasper, so she’s learning to sit on the couch and wait her turn
- Circle – turning with me in a circle (see previous post for video)
- Snorting / sneezing on command – 😀 😀 😀 I can’t believe she can actually do this!!
(you may need to turn the volume up, her snorts aren’t the loudest!)
I’m also working on ‘wave’ with Kasper, which he picked up surprisingly quickly. It was a pain in the arse trying to think up a hand signal for this that he didn’t confuse with anything else…open palm pointing upwards = touch / stand on back legs; closed fist = sit pretty; hand in a circle = oooh you’re holding a treat for me! Finally discovered I can point at the paw and he lifts it.
And we’re working on fading the lure for play dead, too.
The difference when training these dogs is night and day. There are similarities; they both love training, they pick things up quickly, they’re both calm and focused. Which is unusual for Zoey 😛
But Zoey will constantly offer behaviours. If I sit with a treat, she will run through all the tricks she knows, and then even make up some new things! This makes her brilliantly easy to train, as when she does something I like, I just mark & reward her for it. She repeats the behaviour, and I can eventually teach her to do it when asked. Really, Zoey teaches herself!
If I’m expecting too much of her, and she truly doesn’t know what I want her to do, she will bark repeatedly. So I either say “nope!” (cheerful voice), which I have taught her means “I want something else from you”. If she carries on barking, I turn away for ten seconds. When I turn back I get her to do some easy tricks she knows by heart and really enjoys, such as the ‘touch’ game. Next time we work on the new trick, I make it easier so she doesn’t get as stuck.
Zoey plays the ‘touch’ game at our old house
In comparison when I train Kasper, he just sits there and waits for me to ask him to do anything. Teaching is much more involved (and I have to use my brain more!) with Kasper. Often if I want Zoey to learn something new and don’t care what, I can sit and wait while she runs through a dozen behaviours…if I sit and wait with Kasper, he will sit and wait right back! XD
So I have to get imaginative. But it’s fun, just in a different way.
Zoey is also much more attentive to what hand signals I give her, and struggles when I ask her to do something verbally, with no hand signal. In general, Kasper does better with verbal cues over hand signals (yes, he is weird).
If you have any pups that enjoy training, what are you working on with them?