Nova is doing great, but her owners still had to bend over with food in order to get her to Down. By the end of our session today she could do it while we stood up straight! We also taught her how to Wait patiently for her food and to Stay, which we can use to keep her out of the kitchen.
In Bailey's previous life she had never been taught to lie down on cue. Being able to Down on cue is helpful for a longer term Stay, such as when you are working in the kitchen or sitting down to eat.
Bailey is also pushy and in a hurry when it comes to going up or down steps, so we taught her to Wait patiently while we traversed the steps first.
Rocky did great learning how to Go to Place. That skill can be used to teach him to settle,
to stay as we answer the door, to prevent begging, and so much more. We also practiced
some SMART x 50, a training concept to encourage us to notice and reward good behaviors.
Lizzy is very reactive to moving things when outside (vehicles/people/critters) so teaching a
reliable recall is important should she ever chase something. Today we taught Lizzy that
coming to us do not mean the fun ends (the Premack Principle). When she learned that coming was now fun she started coming to us, even when she was distracted.
Maverick recently bit the 12-year old in the home when he tried to take something away
from Maverick, so today we taught Maverick how to Drop It. He did fine with his toys, but once we gave Maverick the object that he had when he bit (a shoe insert) he would not give it up. Although he didn't growl or try to bite me he was definitely protecting it. We took our time, offering Maverick treats, until he finally dropped it. I picked up the shoe insert, gave him some treats, and gave it back. You read that right. I gave it back to him! Why? Because we had to build trust. Maverick has to learn that "drop it" does not always mean something gets taken away. We did this over and over until he was eagerly giving it up, and then we could trade the shoe insert for something else. Next session: teaching Leave It so Maverick doesn't take things in the first place!
Rocky did very well learning how to Come When Called. At first, he wouldn't go to his owner when she called him, but once she switched from boring old treats to peanut butter Rocky was running to her as fast as he was running to me.
Remember: behavior that is rewarded gets repeated. But the value of the reward is decided by the receiver (the dog), not the giver (us).
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI