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Friday, January 02 2015

  Sneaky Snake

It's time to start training my dragon. This is actually not true. The dragon training began immediately whether I was ready or not. A puppy is a sponge, soaking up everything around her. You can choose to wait to start training until she's bigger, but then bad habits are already in place. At Mesa's age, we can shape the behaviors we wish to keep, and ignore behaviors that are undesirable, hoping to extinguish them. The only physical correction she gets is when she is attacking my ankle. I reached down and scruff her a bit, then I redirect her. I do not roughhouse with her. She is all teeth and if you want to see a mutation quickly, roughhouse with her.

A couple of days ago we began shaping behaviors with cheese. Right now all I want is a sit, and a touch my palm. Since my background is from schutzhund, agility, and flyball, I don't have a lot of trickdog skills in my basket, so I want to expand that with Mesa. That means hitting the books myself. I dabbled a bit with Lily and she learned how to gather the sheep, then run close the gate behind herself. Lily runs and grabs things I can't reach. She also learned to open the refrigerator and pick up a Dr Pepper can. (and puncture the can with her teeth) But for the most part, I didn't do the trick training with Lily that I wanted. (It's never too late!)

I didn't do any trick training with Trace. He quickly became Other Half's dog and neither of them had much interest in tricks. But like Lily, Mesa spends a great deal of her time seeking eye contact and attempting to interact with us. She is clever and already tries to manipulate her environment to attain her needs. When she's hungry, she runs to the kitchen, twirls her little butt in the air, plops down and stares at the kitchen sink. If that doesn't bring forth food, she barks at the sink. This alerts someone that her tummy is currently empty and she wishes it to be filled. She began this on her own. Now I ask her if she's hungry and she directs her stare at me instead of the sink, but she still twirls in the air and lands with drama.  I note her 'airs above ground behavior' as she jumps in the air, swings her body, and lands like a clumsy cat.

Beause she's a baby now, I'm not reinforcing that behavior as I don't want her to hurt herself, but in the future it can be a fun trick. I'm also considering teaching her to ring a bell on the door when she has to pee. I want to teach her to turn the lights on and off, and a multitude of other things that I see on Youtube. She is clever, and my schedule allows more time now.

So my question to you guys is this:

What is your favorite resource for trick training?

I love watching vidoes from Page and Nana, but I'd like to start following a forum or blog that talks about trick training dogs. Any ideas?

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:02 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
multianimalcrackers on youtube is also great. But I will always have a soft spot for Nana and the cat! Put the DP in a cozy.
Posted by Andrea Bailey on 01/02/2015 - 04:59 PM
Silvia Trkman Watch some of her videos. Amazing and makes me wish I had the energy and creativity she has. Also check out Karen Pryor, Read her book Reaching the Animal Mind. Have fun! I can't have a puppy right now so will have to enjoy Mesa!
Posted by Virginia on 01/02/2015 - 07:50 PM
I second Silvia Trkman. She has videos on YouTube and a puppy tricks DVD.
Posted by Beth Blankenship on 01/07/2015 - 07:12 PM

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