Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trick 7

Dog Blog Post #237: This week's trick is...

Touch (the Target Stick)

This is another good beginner shaping trick. You take an item - mine is a nifty folding target stick, but pretty much anything long, slender enough to hold, and won't put your dog's eye out will do (plastic serving spoon, spatula, wooden yard stick, ....) - and you show it to the dog.

Most dogs, being curious, will sniff, or at least look at the object. You click, treat, and pull the object back. Then you lower it down again. Dog shows interest, click and treat, withdraw object.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now, I'm a big proponent of the rapid-fire reward. That is, when the dog makes a "big step" in whatever direction I'm heading toward, I'll fire a half-dozen treats, one at a time, and say, "Yes!" I am 100% sure this decreases learning time and increases my dogs enjoyment of shaping.

So the dog is touching the stick, and randomly touches it a few inches closer to the tip than the time before. I say, "Yes!", and 3-6 treats are flicked his way. I continue to give single treats for touching anywhere on the stick, but if it is closer to the tip than the tail, I'll say "Yes!" and give a few extra treats. Over time, I gradually move my "Yes!" window closer and closer to the tip, and gradually stop clicking for touching the stick closer to the tail than the tip.

In just a few sessions, of a few minutes each, Henry was reliably finding and touching the tip of the stick.

Yeah, Henry!

(This is yet another trick that Zachary is quite competent in, and he had a great time showing off to me how well he remembered it!)

On to The Daily Shoot assignment:

Make a photograph featuring strong vertical lines today.

Well, I could try to convince you the pictures below are fine examples of "strong vertical lines" because...

.... because....

... oh, who am I kidding. I had 2 dozen roses hubby had given me for Valentine's Day, and I wanted to take a picture of them with the dogs. It's as simple as that. Technically, the stems do create vertical lines.

So there. :)


Ruth said...

Those roses are lovely... and the dogs too!

Annieke said...

Good on you, Kathleen! I was like 'huh, vertical stripes?!' I have LOTS of horizontal striped things, but NONE with vertical stripes! So I ended up not doing the assignment...

Pup Fan said...

Pretty flowers! :)

houndstooth said...

Okay, I was curious enough to go and look at the Daily Shoot yesterday and I wondered what you'd do with it. I think the roses definitely show off the strong vertical lines! Definitely! :)

I have got to start doing some basic trick training! I feel like such a slacker!