Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Trick of the Week

ds477 - Seeing Red
Dog Blog Post #258: Once again, I let time slip away. I finished last week's trick on Monday, videoed it, then took Tuesday and Wednesday "off" from trick training because... because... I have no idea why. I just did. Thursday rolls around, and I'm sitting in Family Dog class when I see Henry doing this really cute...

Head Tilt

...thing. It's fairly subtle, but after doing a bit of experimenting I realized I could
 sometimes reproduce it by making soft, high-pitched sounds.

Henry - Before Tilt
Tilt Right

Tilt Left
I spent the rest of my trick time trying to capture (that is, reward) the head tilt when I saw it, and making a variety of goofy noises to get him to do it. After a day or so (we're talking Saturday/Sunday, now) with his head tilting pretty reliable (if still a rather subtly) when I made the right sound, I started adding my own head tilt right before I made a sound, in hopes he would "catch a cue." :)

He's getting there, but I think it's going to take some time to get a really nice big tilt, a task that will be accomplished by shaping, which for me, involves giving bigger rewards for bigger tilts while still giving a least one treat for any tilt.

All this has let me to the several conclusions...
  1. I can't afford to waste half the week before starting a trick.
  2. Getting a solid cue to a trick is probably not going to happen (for most tricks) in the same week as I teach the trick. In fact, I should probably consider it a two week process - the first week to teach it, and the second week to get a solid cue.
  3. Teaching just one trick a week is fraught with danger, and it should probably be a three week process, where I'm starting to teach a trick in week one, perfecting it in week two, and getting a solid cue on it in week three. That means while one trick is getting a cue, one trick is being perfected and posted about here, and one is in the planning/early training mode.
But I'm not sure I can be that organized all year, so we'll see how it goes!

On to the Daily Shoot. Today's assignment was:

Today's theme is red. Red hot? Red paint? Or something else? You decide.

Today's schedule was odd, leaving me only a few moments to get a picture in the waning light of a late afternoon cloudy day. The best of the bunch is at the top of the post. If I had to do it over again, I might try just Henry reaching into the bag, and leave Zachary out.


Get a better (brighter) picture of Zachary looking into the bag (shown below)

For Me?
Zachary and Bag

Editor's Note: Yesterday, as I was grumbling about the dearth of smiles, Elyse mentioned that Riley smiles too much. Assuming she means Riley sits there with her mouth open, a few things I've tried that actually worked include: blowing toward your dog right before you snap the picture. This assumes you are doing a close up! I also helps if you have just eaten something interesting.

If you haven't eaten anything interesting, but having smelly treats on you (like cheese) then try blowing across the cheese. This usually gets them to close their mouths so they can better sniff what the breeze brings.

Another option is to act like you're going to toss the treats. My boys (counter-intuitively) close their mouths when I'm twitching my fingers like I'm going to toss the treat, then open when the treat goes flying.

If you have good aim, and Riley knows to stay put even after she catches the treat, you can toss the treat, wait for her to catch and swallow (assumes small, easy to gulp treats) then snap the shot immediately afterwards when her mouth will (hopefully) be closed.

And that's about I all know about that!

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved


Amber-Mae said...

My spotted sister, Faith used to do extreme head-cocking when she was a very young pup. After a while she stopped doing it after she got used to all the squeaky, funny sounds hoomie Melissa would make to make Faith tilt her head to the side.

BZ Dogs said...

Yeah - I considered that he might stop if I did it too much, but as I don't really need the behavior, I figured it was worth a try. Plus I paid him for it! :)

houndstooth said...

Aww! Those pictures are so sweet! And I love the head tilt trick. I can see where that could come in very handy on some Daily Shoot assignments!

Sage said...

I love it when Sage does the head tilt. It's often when I'm talking nonsense to her. Zach & Henry are so photogenic!

Pup Fan said...

The head tilt is always so cute!

I love the photos with the red bag - those turned out really nice!