Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Trick 1

Dog Blog Post #192: The first step in our year long quest begins today…

You may recall that I recently (very recently) decided to do a Trick of the Week this year - or at least give it a good try. As I had less than a week to get the first trick taught, I picked the easiest thing I could think of that Henry didn’t already know.

(As he doesn’t know many tricks, it actually wasn’t that hard to come up with something!)

This week’s showcase trick is:

Through My Legs

The cue is the word “Through” (which I freely admit Henry does not yet know) and my hand patting my leg (which he thankfully does.)

I taught this to Henry using luring, standing with my legs parted and tossing cookies backwards through my legs and clicking my clicker when he went through. From there, I switched to reaching behind my right leg and showing the treat between my legs, clicking as he went through and tossing the treat behind me. After a few of those, I switched to holding on to the treat when clicking, then waiting from him to come back in front to see where the treat went. The last step was to fade out the hand between my legs (for which my back was forever grateful) and patting my leg instead. The whole thing was taught in a few one-minute sessions over the past few days, strengthened by asking for the behavior every time I gave him a treat.

Zachary was already familiar with this behavior, although not “stand-alone” and not using the leg pat cue. I hadn’t really intended to work with him on this one, but after watching Henry do it once, he immediately started diving between my legs every time I gave the cue.

What a smart (and hungry!) boy.

The end result was videoed Monday night so I could grab a snapshot from it for this post. As uploading a trick video every week seems excessive, I’m going to save them up and make a single compilation every month.

And there you have it. The first Trick of the Week has been marked complete.

(Speaking of marking, I posted the form I'm using to track this on BZ Dogs Activities. The list of tricks I'm choosing from is on the BZDogs Tricks page, but please feel free to comment if you can think of something else for us to try!)

One final rules note: My goal is one new trick for a dog every week, not per dog every week.

So long as one dog doesn’t know the trick, it’s fair game. I also reserve the right to take multiple weeks to teach a trick, so long as I still manage to get a new trick each week.

If I’m smart, I’ll work on harder tricks, spanning multiple weeks, with Zachary, while focusing on simpler, one week tricks with Henry.


Robin Sallie said...

I think of EVERY thing as a trick. So I guess I am taking the easy way out for my trick of the week training.

BUT I might steal this one sort of. I'll teach Via to stand between my legs facing the same direction that I am as a home base sort of position.

I hope she doesn't grow too tall to do it as an adult. I taught Red the greyhound to weave my legs. By nine months old he had to duck a bit to do it.

houndstooth said...

I like how you broke down the trick you taught for us. I don't think it would be too hard for us to teach this trick, since Bunny and Morgan have both been known to go through legs without a command! Another way you could do it is scaffolding, and teaching one thing that's basic that would lead to another, like "go to bed" and then teaching them to cover themselves up with a blanket.

One of the cutest tricks I've seen is a dog getting a tissue after the person sneezed!

greygirl25 said...

Woo hoo boys!

It is so cool how easily you seem to be able to train your boys.

LuLu and Wally said...

Love, love, LOVE the trick of the week idea! I have a hard time coming up with new ones! LuLu knows LOTS of tricks, but I see so many on your list that she doesn't know.

We'll be checking back often to see what you're up to next! ;)