Thursday, September 23, 2010

Interesting training

Thought this was an interesting little exercise, which I have been doing for short periods over a few days now.

I wanted to increase Zazzy's drive to a static ball. I have been working on tugging and chasing a thrown ball seems like forever, but 'dead' toys are of little interest to her. If I put a ball down, Deece or Kaydee run to the ball and get it, and they think that's fun. If I call them they bring it back to me, and sometimes we then play with the toy. Or I reward that, or we might move on to something else and use the ball as a reward.

If I put down a ball for Zazzy, she just looks at me. I decided to use treats to reward interest in the ball. She looked at the treats and offered a down, a wave, and a number of other behaviors. I put the ball down close, and rewarded her for moving vaguely towards the ball, then upped my criteria so that she would run to it and touch it. But sometimes she stopped briefly to look back at me before running to it. At first I just waited until she touched the ball, marked and rewarded, then thought that I didn't want her stopping, I want her to go fast and direct. So I called her back when she stopped, to try again, but in that split second she had already turned back to touch it... grr. Reward or ignore? I ignored that and asked her to try again. She stopped, she went to go, she stopped again, she came back. So I put the ball in my hand for her to nose touch from a close distance, but now she thinks this is a nose touch exercise, when what I want to do is get her to find running to the ball rewarding. I tried to move the ball away from me but she just offered loads of other behaviors again instead of going towards it. Hmm. Got Deece out, held Zazzy and let Deece go get the ball. She seemed excited by this. Held Deece, let Zazzy go to get the ball..... she stopped, looked round, lay down, whined at me. ... oh my. If you have a dog that is easy to reward, rejoice and count your lucky stars!

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