Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trick 4 and Daily Shoot

Dog Blog Post #214: This week's trick came about as a kind of a doodle - something done while one's mind is occupied on something else. It started with me tossing Henry cookies for offering downs in Family Dog class - that is, when he just happened to lay down, as opposed to me asking for it.

As Wendy was talking, and I was listening (really, Wendy, I was!) every time Henry laid down I clicked and tossed him a cookie.

Pretty soon, I noticed he would occasionally dip his head toward the mat. Well, how cute was that!

So I started clicking just for a head dip. At first he would dip just the tiniest bit, but with each click and cookie he grew more confident. When he was confident at one level, I would hold off clicking just bit, and he would often repeat the motion, but with more exaggeration.

"Hey, mom, didn't you see me? Look!"

... and the head dipped lower, and lower, until by the end of class his head was lying flat on the ground.

The rest of the week was just adding a cue and making it reasonably reliable.  I ended up with a cue of a closed fist held down on the surface I want him to put his head on. While I usually use the floor, I have tried it on the ottoman and he knew exactly what I wanted.

So, the featured trick of the week? Hmmm... what to call it? How about:

Look Sad

For those keeping score, the technique I used was a combination of capturing (rewarding the dog for doing something he naturally was doing - at first the down, and then the head bob) plus shaping (to get it all the way to the mat.) That means in the past four tricks, I have used luring, shaping, and capturing - the main ingredients for all the tricks I will be teaching this year.

As for The Daily Shoot for today:

Use hard light that casts sharp distinct shadows in a photograph today.

Wow, was Henry a pain! It seemed like he was either wiggling, trying to play, or just plain getting in the way.

In the end, I had to put him back in the house and just use Zachary.

This clearly shows a deficit in training - and something I'm going to bump up to High Priority. So high, in fact, that I have yet to post the Weekly Worksheet (although I made it yesterday) as I'm thinking of ripping it apart and making a photo-centric one for this week... plus the Trick of the Week, of course!

Anyway, "first alternate" photo was the teak chair slats shadow on Zachary's back. I took a similar one on Sunday for Stripes (but not posted here) which I tried to reproduce today, but the light just wasn't right.

My favorite was the picture below. It is the shadow only of a Hex Ball + Zachary on the BBQ Cover. Who knew the BBQ could come in handy in so many different ways. This is the same cover that made an appearance in the jingle collar Christmas pictures, and created the shadow for the dark background pictures I took Friday.

I tried to get a picture of Henry's tail (as folks who follow here might be surprised to see what it looks like now) but I just couldn't get him where I needed him to get a good shadow.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

You know, I think that's one of the things I like most about The Daily Shoot. Once done, it's done. You can just move on. Tomorrow you get to start over with a clean slate and a new assignment.


houndstooth said...

You're not going to be satisfied until you get us all hooked on The Daily Shoot, are you? :P I really like that last shot!

Henry is still a puppy -- he'll get there!

Pup Fan said...

Love the shadow shot!

Kolchak Puggle said...

I am fascinated by this Daily Shoot thing! I couldn't do it every day, but WOW! your shots are BEAUTIFUL and I love how you are combining it with your training.