Posts filed under ‘Play’
March 18, 2013 at 1:21 am Enter your password to view comments.
January is “National Train Your Dog Month” and off the top of my head, I have two training resolutions for the new year. Well, the first one is more of a management issue than a training one.
Problem #1: Barking at people outside my apartment
I have a bunch of new neighbors and Boogie has been barking at all of them, in addition to the regular trespassers (workmen, mailmen etc.) When I call Boogie, he comes away from the window. I usually throw a ball and his attention is diverted for a few seconds. Then he’s back there in a flash, growling, whining, and barking.
I have been telling myself that I can live with this problem … I mean, it’s annoying but it only lasts for less than a minute, he doesn’t carry on for too long .
The problem is that the barking is happening more frequently. It seems to be getting worse. Dog behavior fact: this noisy behavior keeps getting reinforced by the people leaving, so he will continue to do it, and it WILL get worse…
Solution #1: Cover the windows
I have just ordered free samples of “privacy film” for my living room windows. Perhaps I’ll stick these on the lower half of the glass windows and Boogie will not be able to see out of them to react. (Thank you, Rewarding Behaviors blog) I hope my windows won’t look too unattractive… We’ll see.
Solution #2: Counter-Conditioning? Today I heard the mailman arrive and saw that Boogie was curled up in his bed (not yet aware of the mailman). I got down to the bed-level and gave Boogie a massage… lots of petting, stroking, belly rubs and more belly rubs. He rolled on his back looking all blissed-out. In the background we could both hear the clanging of mailboxes and jingling jangling of keys. I was half-expecting Boogie to spring out of bed, run to the window and go crazy. Well, he didn’t do that. He remained on the bed, relaxed, letting me rub his belly. I stopped when the mailman had moved away from my building.
I wonder - If I gave Boogie a massage every day at the same time as the mailman’s arrival … would he learn to chill out?
Or did his calmness today have absolutely nothing to do with the mailman?
Very interesting and useful video from Emily Larlham about making sure you have the right “predictor”:
Problem #2: The place is a mess! There are toys everywhere. Every day, Boogie goes to his toy basket, pulls all the toys out of it to get the toy that he wants and by evening, I am stepping over toys to move around the room. Of course, I pick them up, put them back, and before long, Boogie pulls them all out again. I suppose the easiest solution is for me to not let Boogie have 24/7 access to those toys and keep them out of sight until it’s play time.
OR… Could I teach Boogie to put away his toys?
So far, whenever I offer Boogie a toy to DROP into the toy basket, he does this a few times, then runs off with the toy to chew on it elsewhere. Or somehow, the training session turns into a game of Tug. It’s as if the ultra exciting combo of clicker + food + TOY gets him way too hyped to stay focused on what we’re doing… Clearly, I need to work on the “Hold” behavior first…
Question: Would I have to do this with every single toy? Will Boogie be able to easily generalize this “cleaning up” process to his gecko, rubber monkey, 2 steaks, 3 corn cobs, 4 tennis balls, little orange ball, red cuz, half-chewed plush animal limbs, blue octopus, pizza frisbee, dumbbell, two bones and plastic chicken?
1. Sarah came to visit! Sarah is of course, Boogie’s favorite person. When Sarah comes to visit, there are games to play and lots and lots of yummy home-baked tuna treats, all for repeatedly standing on a cushion/bed. We did a “Relax On a Mat” game with Boogie’s new bed, and a more active “Go To Your Mat” game with his Mr. Roboto cushion. I have homework to do and so I made some…
2. Dream Drops training treats from The Honest Kitchen Recipe book. While I was chopping up the ham and cheese, a little dog got lucky. He loves the treats too… and for some reason, mine don’t look anything like the ones in the book.
3. A new plush toy! I knew that it wouldn’t last, but hey, it was on sale for only $2.99 from ROSS and it was a MAILMAN! How could I resist!
Run run run!
A moment of water and rest.
One photo I wish I had taken was when Rosie picked up Boogie’s leash and pulled him towards her!
Photo taken from this morning’s BAT session with Sarah and Irith.
We were recreating the scenario last May when Boogie attacked a person who walked through this porch speaking loudly into a cellphone.
Boogie did really well! He knew the drill, looked, then turned away from Irith and followed me into the apartment. I mixed up the rewards of treats, tennis ball, back scratches and praises.
As Irith Bloom (The Sophisticated Dog) explained to me: Even though what we do is highly repetitive (like military drills) and may seem pointless, we are teaching Boogie new habits and we want him to repeat these behaviors over and over again (in a calm under-threshold state of mind) so that they sink in and become second-nature. Should Boogie feel threatened by a strange person, we want him to instantly turn away/retreat, and look at me for direction instead of taking control and charging forwards.
I still need to work on Recall cues because Boogie tends to get distracted easily and ignore me in the case of smelly grass or squirrels.
- “Boogie!” recall, with outdoor distractions.
- “Let’s Go!” U-turn cue. Practice this many time outdoors on walks.
- “_______!” <– I need to think of a unique word or phrase to train (with extremely high value treats) and use as an Emergency Recall cue.
I know this blog is becoming very repetitive. We have these BAT sessions week after week and I write the same ol’ stuff over and over again. My apologies to Boogie blog readers. I repeat these training notes to remind myself of the progress that we are making and also to help me not get slack.