Friday, April 29, 2011

Walking on Your Feet - A Trick

Vinnie and Marsha make another Guest Trickster appearance!

*Before you teach this trick, it would be really helpful if you have already taught your dog a couple of the previous tricks: start up position and foot targeting.

*Start out by teaching your dog to target one of your feet. It doesn’t matter if they put one or both feet on your foot. Click for any foot movement by them and jackpot and physical contact with your foot.

*Once your dog is reliably targeting your foot, put them in their start up position and click and treat for any foot movement – jackpot for physical contact.

*Your dog will probably start targeting one foot consistently. Once they are doing this, start C/T for any foot movement from the other foot. If you have a smaller dog, you may want to angle your feet inward a bit to make it easier for them to get up on your feet.

*Once your dog will reliably get into position on your feet, start moving your toes in your shoes (don’t move your feet yet). Make sure you are giving a LOT of rewards for this – it’s weird for them to have things move under their feet!

*If your dog is comfortable with you moving your feet inside your shoes, start shifting your weight a little from side to side. Once they are comfortable with this, you can start taking small, shuffling steps (reward often!!).

*Start increasing the size of your steps as your dog gets comfortable with the movement. Make sure the size of your steps is appropriate for the size of your dog.

*This is a great trick for getting your dog used to things moving under his feet!!

*HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun Filled Weekend!

(Tracy and Export are in the tunnel)

Got back from Christy’s about 9 PM on Sunday evening 
after a 4 days seminar with Tracy Sklenar, it was a lot of fun!! 
The first 3 days I audited, watch, listened and took notes.  
Boy, are those of you in class going to have FUN!  
There are a lot of fun ideas that I just can’t wait to test you with!  
New agility moves, the Sookie, Disney, LaLaLaLa, and firing your CANNONS!  
Yes, there was a LOT of laughing! 
Euro Day very enlightening!  
What the heck was I thinking going to World Team Tryouts in a couple weeks!  
I’ll definitely be more prepared after this seminar.  
Some serious work on treadles, wraps and serpentine, 
which is exactly what I needed!
Christy, husband Bruce, and daughter Brittany were fantastic!  

Their property is breathtaking and the new baby lambs totally adorable!  


  Seeker had a blast running the trails on part of their 50 acres 
with some of the other dogs.  
He loves Tracy ’s dog Export, 
and thinks he needs a border border jack jack of his very own. 
The weather seemed to know which days we wanted to be inside, 
and which we needed to be out. 
I even came home with a slight sunburn!
If you ever have a chance to attend, 
you won’t be disappointed!
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from “Master’s Day”. 

 Our EXTREMELY serious Instructor! 
(Tracy and Export)

Jill - Up and over the A-Frame!!


(Score and Nancy working the yearlings)

(Export having a little fun!)

(Hot Shot in the Weaves) 
Wire Fox Terrier!  
Just for Michele!!

and finally.....
(Mary had a little lamb)....
Um, I mean Christy!!

I'll get the rest of the pictures posted, but with classes, chores and such, 
it will probably be this weekend before I get to them. 

It doesn't help that they are spread over
2 different computers, and 3 different cards!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Part Two – Grab/Hold the Toy

Seeker's Secret!!

You’ll need your dog, clicker, treats, the bar you used, and a toy.  Begin your session with the bar, c/t a couple times for grabbing the bar.  Now, switch to the toy, holding it in front of the dog and slightly off the ground. C/T if the dog puts a paw on it, you may end up starting ‘over’ a bit, similar to what you did with the ‘bar’. 

You may need to ‘play’ a bit on what size and shape of toy works best for your dog.  It’s going to depend on how your dog grabs and holds the toy.  Seeker seems to do best with longer toys that have a bit of bulk to them.  The stuffed toys with legs are a challenge, as the legs get in the way.  With practice, I’m sure he can get there.  So, dump out that tote of agility toys and experiment!!  You might find some toys you totally forgot about!

If your dog is really struggling with holding the toy, 
go ahead and switch back and forth between the bar and the toy. 

It’s not a RACE!!! Have fun with it!

Seeker and are!!

Part 3 is Pending…..
so this will give you PLENTY of time to perfect “holding the toy”.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grab the Pole - Part One

This week’s Trick has multiple parts.
In reality, all the ‘Tricks’ have multiple parts;
or multiple behaviors that need to be learned before the
‘whole trick’ comes together.  Sometimes, we forget this.

Back to this week’s Trick. 
 Remember the “That was EASY” button? 
Hopefully, you either taught that trick, or your dog knows how to
 target an object with his paw. 
If not, you’ll to shape him to that first. 
There’s a short segment on the video showing that.

The goal for this week is to get the dog to grab, and
securely hold a bar with a front leg close to his body.

Now we’re going to ‘generalize’
this paw/lid behavior to a bar or pole.
I’ve used both jump bars and in the video a weave pole,
so it doesn’t really matter.

So, you’ll need a dog, treats, clicker and a bar/pole of some kind.
The dog can be in any position, hold the pole in one hand with one end on the ground near the dog.  C/T any movement toward the bar, even just looking at it counts at first.  C/T with cookie near, or on the bar.  Remember, placement of reward!!

You’re shaping the dog touching the bar, just like you did the lid.
Move the bar around to different locations so he has to reach for it, or move to get to it.
Once he has a good understanding of what you’re asking for, C/T for duration. In other words, we want his foot on it for a bit before we C/T. 

Then raise the bar up off the ground a bit.  Again, we’re looking for him to confidently put his paw on the bar.  Be careful you or your dog doesn’t get hit with the bar! Seeker pushes and pulls pretty hard.

At this point you’re going to want to ask the dog to sit.  You are going to place one end of the pole on the ground a bit more vertically than before, in front of the dog.  You’d like to make it secure enough that the dog can’t easily move it.  Again C/T any touches of the bar with his paw.  For me it’s easiest to hold the bar in my left hand and the clicker and multiple treats in my right hand.  Today we’re using our infamous mini marshmallows!!

When they are confidently putting their foot on the bar, be sure you are using your placement of reward to reinforce the desired behavior.  At some point they will twist their foot in order to grab at the bar.  JACK POT!!! 

Remember Susan Garrett’s awesome “It’s Yer Choice” video!!
I dump my treats on the ground! 
Yep….right there!!

As the get to gripping the pole harder, let him pull it into his body.

Once he’s really hanging on, give it a little pull.
Watch how Seeker pulls it back to him.
This is exactly what you’re looking for.

That’s it for this week.

Part 2 – Will be next weeks Trick

Part 3 – That might take awhile. 
Seeker doesn’t have that part down yet.

HAVE FUN!!!!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sit up -N- Beg - Another Trick

I know, you're probably thinking to yourself - 
"What a Lame Trick"

Everyone's dogs can do this one. 
Correct, but can they do it well?

Our little Bichon could 'sit up' forever!
It just came naturally.
Our other dogs, hum, 'not so much'.
I'm not sure if they just never saw the need, 
or that I just never 'taught' it.  

So, with Seeker I decided I was going to teach it. 
Actually, I needed it for another trick, 
and didn't think it would be a big deal.
I was WRONG!!

In order to 'sit up', your dog must have good balance. 
A strong core is probably helpful as well. 

There are several ways to teach this. 
Some dogs, like Molly, just do it. 

For Seeker I've been just asking for a sit, 
then luring him up into a 'sit up' position.
He's MUCH better than he was, 
but still has a long way to go. 

Interestingly enough, his litter sister, 
Shiver, can 'sit up' forever!  
Maybe it's a 'girl' thing??

Michele showed me an interesting twist
with Cougar.  She actually stands behind
him and lures him up.  She can gently hold
his collar and let's him gain confidence by leaning
back against her legs if necessary. 

Once he's comfortable with this, she'll 
move her hand from his collar to his chest
in order to support him. 

I tried this with Seeker, but 
he apparently didn't trust me not
to pull him over backwards!!

Either way, this is a good trick!
It's fun!
It's 'suppose' to be easy.
It helps with balance and core strength!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Start Line Set Up - A Trick!!

I really love this “Start – Set Up”.  Why?  I know where the dog is while the other dog is finishing the course.  I can lead out from either direction and don’t need to ask the dog to change sides.  If there is a delay after I have my leash off, I can simply drape it in front of the dog to hold him in position if he’d break. If I’m outside having a conversation with someone and can’t keep an eye on the dog, I have him “feet” (my word for the set up) and I know where he’s at. 

This is the set up I’ve always used with Seeker.  It means to him, “Wanna Play - GAME ON” – thus the song picked for this clip. 

You’ll need a dog, and some treats.  Clicker is optional; since I love my clicker I use it.

Begin with a treat in each hand, and your dog at your side, either is fine.  I’m going to use left during this description.  Your dog does not need to be sitting to begin.  Using your left hand, stick the treat on the dog’s nose and lure him behind your left leg.  As the dog is moving behind you, you’ll have your right hand between your legs to pick up the dog and guide him through.  Reward.

It’s up to you as to whether you want the dog to start sitting right away or not.  If you do, often just drawing the treat upward will result in a sit.   Reward.  Please be sure to verbally release your dog ‘before’ he makes the decision to ‘release’ himself.

You can work this from both sides if you’d like to.  Once they are proficient at this you can name it.  I use ‘Feet’, Michele uses “Start Line”, name it whatever you’d like. 

You can then turn this into a game, at first staying close and rewarding the dog for coming into the “Start up” position.  Then you can add some distance and speed.  

Have fun! 

This is ONLY A TRICK, but it is VERY Useful One!