Friday, September 2, 2011

Tricks and Training

Abbey and I are honing and working on some new tricks. Though I have always taught tricks to Abbey I have never bothered honing or generalizing any of them. I was more of a, we will do them in the house and practice them in the house and then when guests come over we will show off. I have come to realize, though, that generalizing tricks and behaviours consequently builds a more well rounded canine companion. A few things that I have noticed is that Abbey is uncomfortable in certain settings. For instance, PetSmart. Since this isn't something I like (i.e. my dog being fearful or uncomfortable in certain environments) I aim to change it. How? Well, first off Abbey and I will be taking more frequent visits to Pet Superstores in our neighbourhood. I will also bring high value treats like chicken, beef dogs, or cheese. On one of our few...scarce...trips to PetSmart Abbey was above threshold to accept pieces of kibble for about 10-20 minutes, but after extended time would accept kibble as a reward form. I figure if I use something of higher value in the beginning it will not only build a better and stronger POSITIVE association, but I will have her attention throughout the experience.

Right now, I am working on tricks like cleaning up toys, handing me objects, and the "where's your nose" trick to get me started on my technique for teaching Abbey how to generalize. Abbey's verbal cuing isn't that strong so she relies heavily on my hand signals to tell her what trick to do. I want to improve on this so I am teaching the tricks in a variety of situations and ONLY rewarding the tricks that I have cued. Abbey also has an intense prey drive...especially for cat chasing. Since I am really not that crazy about THAT behaviour either I am going to try and adjust/fix it. Unfortunately this will take some thinking on my part as I am unsure how to approach it. If anyone has any ideas, it would be very much appreciated.

So far, your bed NOT mine is going quite well, unless Abbey feels that I have been sleeping too long and need to rise and shine because it's a beautiful day. Reactive training needs to get back on track. She was doing extremely well and then somewhere in there mommy made a booboo. Of course it was mommy's fault, it always is.

For now those are the things we are working on, comments and encouragement are always welcome here. We love to hear from others.

1 comment:

Nat said...

Sounds great Ashley!!

For the cat chasing, you could try using the techniques that you use for Abbey's reactivity. It's worth a shot because both dog reactivity and cat chasing are based on arousal.