Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just a Golden (update)

Just a quick post (for once)...

I tried a new approach with Beau and his bumper tonight (see yesterday's Just a Golden.)

Tonight I put the bumper on the ground and decided to see if I could shape him holding it. Keep in mind that Beau generally hates shaping - the fact I'm resorting to it showing clearly how desperate I am.

So with a bowl of treats, a clicker, a bumper on the ground, and the big dog staring up at me, we began...

... and it actually went much better than I thought it would (hence me knowing this would be a quick post. Clever, huh?) After a snuffle and a nuzzle he started picking it up, and within a minute or two I was able to click while he was holding it and jackpot "quiet" holds (no chomping or fidgeting).

He's still a work in progress, but I have to say that tonight was the longest, by far, I've ever seen him hold a bumper while not actively retrieving.

After a minute or two of working Zachary the old way (me holding, him sort of holding) I switched the bumper on the ground and he also did very well. He's much easier to shape so I was able to fine-tune it so he was grabbing squarely in the middle. He still fidgets way too much, but he fidgets the other way was well. In fact, he's just plain fidgety when he works.

Anyway, all in all, it was quite satisfying.

I have no idea if I helped or hurt the overall effort, but after so many weeks of going nowhere, at least tonight it felt like we accomplished something.

(I would have tried Wendy's suggestion about Hubby holding the bumper, but Hubby was holed up in the bedroom with the sniffles. Poor Hubby.)

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