I made them Korean barbecued chicken and gave them one of SVC's hot dogs. They were pretty happy about that. I forgot to bring a plate for the dogs so instead I put their food on a flowerpot saucer (that's the blue thing on the table on the left). Pongu kept barking at our neighbors on the deck nearby so I made him go inside after an hour or so. Crookytail stayed out while I roasted marshmallows. I let him try the marshmallows but he mostly just got them stuck to his nose.
Nice hugs with Dog Mob:
I tell them "nice hugs!" and then they jump up on the couch and we have nice hugs like this.
Day Twelve of mat work:
This is a pretty average training session, so it's fairly representative of where we are right now. Some dropped cues (ex. they both miss the first Sit, although to be fair that's my fault for moving out of position -- they're nicely lined up side by side while eating treats and would have done perfectly good Sits in formation there, but I moved 90 degrees to the side and confused them), a lot of clumsiness and hesitation, but overall it's not too bad. In the roughly two minutes I taped, we worked on:
-- synchronized cues (Spin) -- separate send-aways (each dog goes to a mat separately when cued) -- forward motion (both dogs) -- backward motion (Pongu only -- Crookytail doesn't know Back yet) -- distance cues (Crookytail only -- he needs more work on this, so that's what we practice, but he can do them now) -- holding position while the other dog moves (both dogs)
Everything needs a TON of work, obviously, so for the next little while we'll be working on improving fluency and cleaning up the moves, but I'm not displeased. This is not a routine -- everything is in response to cues that I change each time we practice -- so a lot of the stutter-stop hesitation is to be expected. Crookytail is improving quickly and Pongu's not bad considering we're only spending maybe 25% of our time on freestyle stuff these days.
(also just as a side note the yoga mat has nothing to do with this exercise. That's there because I was doing moving Downs with Pongu and he doesn't like to hit the floor without any padding, so I put the yoga mat down to cushion his elbows.)
my two cats that have been living together for years started seriously fighting out of nowhere a few days ago. im talking hissing and yowling and biting fucking mma style shit. so we've kept them pretty separate for the past few days trying to slowly introduce them to one another again, but it's not really taking. i've had them in the same room a few times and they've been chill until one of them tries to move or something. at that point they start hissing and shit and its super upsetting. anyone go through this before?
I love him and he is a wonderful dog and he is so nice and tries SO hard but jesus christ do I get frustrated with him sometimes.
And then I (rightly!) feel bad because he is in no way a bad dog and he is doing the best he can but aaaaaaaaaaaaaa
This week I'm starting a tricks workshop (my first time teaching a group class! woo!) and I would really like to have a demo dog other than Pongu, because Pongu is supposed to be focusing on Rally stuff these days (plus, theoretically, if I have two demo dogs then I can train them each to do different tricks and double my repertoire), but Crookytail is just not working out. Looks like nerdypants is going to have yet another Important Job to nerd out at.
Pongu won't even play with the other dogs at the dog park anymore. He just sits there waiting to do his Important Job. If they try to coax him into play, he yells at them for distracting him. Dork. <3
what are some good tricks? what do you plan on running through in your workshop, merciel?
little dude has spin, down, roll over, play dead, shake (left and right), hold a treat on his nose, hi-5 and speak, but this repertoire is getting old and he is very clearly getting bored with it. he sighs and looks at me like "really? again?" on some of the older ones. wanna spice things up for him
Week 1: Spin Week 2: Say Hi (wave) Week 3: Tag Week 4: Bow
^ Spin at the beginning, Bow at the end. If I do a second session I might add jumpovers. I didn't put it on this one because that's about a three-stage trick and I'm trying to do single-stage tricks in the intro course.
^ Say Hi
I'm starting with Spin because it looks flashy but is super easy to teach, so people can see how quickly their dogs learn and be encouraged to keep going. It's also a good introduction to lure-reward training, and almost all dogs can do it no matter what their size or shape is.
Say Hi builds off of Sit (and High Five/Shake, although you don't need to have either of those to teach Say Hi) so that's going on Week 2 since I figure people might want a little extra time to brush up on getting their dogs reliable on Sit first.
Tag isn't really a trick, strictly speaking, but it's a very useful game and it reinforces a lot of other things (Stay, hand targeting, recalls, impulse control, polite nose touches instead of mouthiness) so I'm putting it on the list. You train Tag by teaching the dog to nose target your open hand. When that's completely solid, you run away real fast with your hand outstretched and cue the dog to Tag your hand with his nose. You can add a Stay before you release the dog to Tag you (because dogs run way faster than humans do, so it's nice to give yourself a head start) and then you can turn it into Freeze Tag by teaching the dog that he has to immediately stop and Stay as soon as you Tag him back, until he gets a release to come chase you and Tag you again.
I taught Dog Mob to play Tag in about half an hour yesterday and then changed it to Freeze Tag in half an hour this morning. They like it a lot. It's great Stay proofing, and if you play it enough, you will eventually build a superb emergency recall because you can yell at your dog to Tag you instead of chasing a cat or whatever (and then you can Freeze him so he stays fucking still while you go get his leash). I'll make a video of this once I find someone else to hold the camera.
Then I put Bow at the end of the course (it's a four-week thing) because it's cute to have a Bow at the end of your tricks rehearsal to cap things off, and this is another easy one that most dogs can do regardless of size and shape.
Merciel thank you a ton for recommending that trainer. Things are going really well. She introduced me to the idea of resource control (no more free feeding, really stinky treats) and spontaneous behaviors (like how letting the dog figure out how to behave on its own can build so much confidence over constantly commanding the dog) and it's really really working.
kit fox -- a couple of other things you can do if your dog is getting bored with the current repertoire include:
-- adding distance (send the dog away to a fixed position, like the mats I'm using in the mat work clips posted up-thread) and asking for the tricks while your dog is 10 or 20 feet away; -- improving your own training skills by refining the tricks to be on only a verbal cue AND, alternatively, only a hand signal (this is a freestyle technique, but it's pretty funny to be able to cue your dog to do things "invisibly" to onlookers by using subtle gestures, and getting things on a pure verbal cue is a lot harder than most people realize, so that's a good challenge for a smart dog); -- changing position (so the dog has to Spin while standing in Heel position or behind you instead of in front of you); -- reversing cues (get your dog to turn counterclockwise instead of clockwise and put it on a different cue [Twirl and Spin are the ones most freestylers use]; have your dog roll over in the opposite direction, etc.)
-- fetch specific objects from specific receptacles (bonus: take them to specific finish points). The most common version of this is "get the beer out of the cooler," but it doesn't have to be that. I'm currently teaching a store dog to fetch Kongs off the shelf and bring them to the cash register for customers.
-- circle the owner. Then teach circle in the other direction. Then teach moving circles while the owner is walking forward or backward
-- do a figure 8 looping around the owner's legs. Then teach moving weaves through the owner's legs while owner is walking forward or backward
-- walk backwards
-- reverse and walk backwards in the other direction
-- circle backwards
-- go into crate (or go to mat) and stay there until told to come off
-- limp (bonus: limp, then stagger around as if wounded, then fall over and play dead dramatically)
-- etc. etc. into infinity and beyond.
The thing with tricks is that you can always make them harder, and seemingly simple stuff like training the dog to do the same thing in a different orientation relative to you, or on a pure verbal cue, is all stuff that you have to build in separately. And if you want to get them really precise, then it is a never-ending process TO INFINITY AND BEYOND, which is why I spent three full weeks re-teaching Pongu how to Sit (on a platform, then on a platform with his front feet on a disc, then back down to on a platform with no disc, and then finally just on the plain old floor, right back where we started).
It never ends. There is no end ever to the training that you can do. That is both wonderful and terrible.