Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Trick and Treat Tuesday: Bye Bye Mum

Oh well done mum! She wrote a trick and treat tuesday training and she forgets to post it... *sigh* I got to do everything in this house!

As you might have noticed by now, we like to get Mawson to do some funny, sometimes silly... tricks!

Sometimes they say... sometimes... they only just want to laugh at me!

It is always a very "serious" and safe training to engage his brain, but if you can get him to perform tasks that are cute and fun, that's a bonus to give a smile. For example the paw shake might be benign enough, but it has been a great help to get Mawson interacting with stranger on his own term and reduce his anxiety towards unknown people. So much so that he now offers a paw shake to people first. In his mind it gets hands away from the top of his head, which he can find scary from some people, they also look at his paw instead of staring him in the eyes (again less frightening) and he usually gets a good giggle and treats (bingo!).  So what is our silly trick of today? Well it is a bit of an extension of the paw shake, but it can be taught totally independently.

Today's trick is getting your pup to wave you goodbye! Now I don't get Mawson to do that to me every morning, because he is usually pushing me out of the door so he can finally get his treats. However, we occasionally do that on appropriate circumstances ;P

So how do you go about it, I hear you enquire! Well I'll tell you then :)
As usual, arm yourselves with a lot of treats, an immeasurable amount of patience and a good sense of humour!

As for the paw shake, it's easier if you get pup sitting in front of you. You want to get pup to lift his paw, hence, you need to get a trigger in your hand, usually it works best with little bits of food. Show it to the pup then close your hand palm down, enclosing the food without letting pup get to it. Any puppy or dog will nose it and try to access the yumminess, and they will certainly fairly quickly get their paw up and tap your hand. When that happens, get the cue reward you use, either "yes" or click from the clicker and give the treat. Do not say anything else at that point. Make sure you keep your hand approximately at the pup's shoulder height, i.e. not too high or too low, that will help you getting a nice natural motion out of your little monster. Repeat the action a few times, trying to make sure that pup makes a swift paw action touching your hand lightly with his paw and then go onto something else. That is the first part of the trick is very similar to the paw shake, you will need to repeat this for a few days to get pup to refine the paw action. 

The following step is to get pup to lift the paw but not touching your hand, slowly getting your hand away. I will tell you there is the possibility of a bit of an awkward phase where your hand "might"... ok... is highly likely be scratched a tad :S but keep going! Keep pup sitting without forward motion of his body except from his leg, get your treat in your hand and pup to lift his paw, then gradually add a bit of distance, just 5 centimetres to start with. At that stage where your hand gets a bit too far, mostly for less stable younger pups there will be a temptation to creep forward to be able to touch your hand with the paw. Keep rewarding and treating pup for lifting his paw towards your hand but staying still on their bum. When the distance gets a little too much, pup will try touching your hand miss and lift his paw again. This is the action you want, straight away give a big yes/click and a reward coming swiftly back closer. Starting with just one "missed" paw action and adding the big happy reward will help solidifying the behaviour and prevent creeping. It lowers the frustration of not getting the treat and it lets pup know that this is what you want. 
When this is getting nice and regular, stay away a little bit longer, adding time for a second paw lift. Again straight away give a big yes/click and a reward coming swiftly back closer. Then you just need to continue on and add a third lift and as many as you want after that following the same method.
My waving goodbye is constituted of 3 waves of the paw from Mawson. He doesn't "do" long goodbyes ;P 
So far you have the treat in the hand you are offering, slowly phase the treat out of coming from that hand. At the beginning it might be easier to get treats in both hands. Get the paw lifts towards one hand and reward from the other. Slowly you can then remove the treat from your "signal cue" hand and keep rewarding from your other hand. When three (or as many as you want...!) paw lift become nice and regular, start adding your cue word after the action. When that word gets associated, start moving the word earlier and use it as the trigger for the action.

You can even start adding a bit of a hand waving as your hand cue signal just to complete the trick :)

Now you can do some dramatic movie style goodbyes to your heart contempt! Well at least if pup wants to say bye... Never know, it might get handy someday soon!
I don't want to say bye I want my treats...

No comments:

Post a Comment