I have finally figured out ‘stand’ with Maia. I was using ‘touch’ with my hand but I didn’t want her to mess up the signals so I have made ‘stand’ to be my middle and index finger pointing out to the side. She still reads it as a ‘touch’ but I click and treat as soon as she moves from the sit position, and am still practising ‘touch’ with an open hand to maintain that. We just did about 25 repetitions and she was standing and not moving forward to touch by the end. Yay!
‘Stand’ was what we were working on it yesterday at clicker class and Bosco and I were having no success. He just sat there and stared at me. Or lay there and stared at me. The dog who has not kept a position for longer than it takes to give a treat was suddenly rock solid in a sit-stay or down-stay – too bad it wasn’t what I was asking for! And his touch is not solid yet; he won’t move out of a sit to target my hand if it is too far away, so that is what we are going to work on for the next couple of days. Once ‘touch’ is solid, I will move to the same ‘stand’ cue that I have for Maia.
I am also starting crate training. I borrowed a collapsible, soft-sided crate from Emma (with the amazing Seven) to practise. Right now it is sitting in the living room with both the short and the long sides zipped open so that it is not confining at all. One at a time I threw hotdog pieces in and clicked for entry. By the second round Maia was offering me looks at the crate and then even giving me her head and one paw inside. Holy, shaping is hard but it is so rewarding! Bosco was giving quick glances but I don’t think he really got it, but this is also the first full shaping exercise I have done with him, without any luring.
Instead of putting one dog in a stay, which was not working because they both really want to work for hotdogs, I leashed one of them to the bathroom door. This puts them close enough to watch what is going on, in case I get any learning or imitation that way.
This training session tonight, which was probably about twenty minutes long, combined with their long walk this afternoon has made them both exhausted. I love tired dogs! When we were out on the dyke we ran into a couple with a Jack Russell and a Border Collie puppy, who turned out to be Dexter’s sister (the Peanut litter from That’ll Do, for those who know – she was Peppermint Patty). She is beautiful and quickly coaxed Bosco into playing with her. I had Maia with her GL on but the woman offered to give Maia treats and I was able to release Maia within five minutes. She mooched more treats from both of them and then ran around with Gin and Bosco for at least twenty minutes. It was lovely. Every stranger situation that she has that turns out positive makes me so happy. Especially since the woman was wearing a hat and there was a scary stranger man!
All in all, a very positive doggy day.