Monkey See, Monkey Do

By Houndstooth

This week we started working on training the Greyhounds for the training challenges we’re working on.  One time when we really work on it is just after bedtime turnout before we start getting ready for bed.  This means that they have to work for their treats and for some reason, they are both particularly motivated at this particular time of night.

We’ve been hoping that Flattery would start picking up on sits and downs from Bunny when she does these them, but it’s become clear after more than six months that its not soaking in.  That’s the reason we decided to start with clicker training with her from the beginning.  So, we just wanted to get her to acknowledge us and make eye contact to start with and make the association that the clicker means good things will happen.

Feeling Friday -- Tales and Tails

Feeling Unmotivated

Of course, she’s out and around while Bunny is working on putting her front feet on the platform to learn “on it” which we’ll build up until she can stand on taller things to help her reach her hospice and nursing home patients.  While Bunny is working on this, Flattery is hearing that clicker and her innate nosiness cannot resist getting involved to see what’s going on.  The other night, she decided she needed to get right in the middle of the action, so my husband started teaching her “on it,” too, as a bit of a lark.

Bunny actually knows quite a few commands, but she has a few regular ones that she will use as a go to when she wants something.  For example, if my husband is eating something that she really wants, she will walk over, stick her nose up near his hand to make sure he’s paying attention and then sit.  If she wants something from me, she will come over and lay down right beside me, knowing that I might give her the last bite or the yogurt cup when I’m done with it.

Did Someone Say Treats? -- Tales and Tails

Did Someone Say Treats?

So, while she’s learning this new trick, she will go through her repertoire to see what will pay off.  First, she will sit, then she’ll lay down and then fidget a little.  This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that Flattery appeared and is trying to horn in on her treat action.  Bunny goes through the repertoire faster, and finally gets her treat when her feet step up on the platform.  She gets a reward a couple of times before we move to the other platform.

Now, Flattery was getting very keen on this game.  She figured out very quickly that standing on that platform would lead to a pay off.  After working with Bunny until we were satisfied with her progress for the night, we started playing with Flattery, to see if sit or down would be picked up by watching Bunny get treats for it.  It seemed like a good theory.

And yet, we still have a one trick pony.  I guess we’re going to have to teach her ourselves, because Bunny couldn’t quite pull it off.  We’ll be back to the drawing board.  Something tells me this will be an entertaining and challenging ride.



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  • Sue Dyer

    I am sure Flattery will get it.

    Song wasn’t into learning anything and was actually frightened of the clicker. Polly loves to do things for treats and seems to pick things up quickly.

  • http://TheElkaAlmanac.Blogspot.com/ Jen

    Have you had Flattery for six months already? That just went by in a blink for me, I don’t know about you ;)

    I’ve heard that competition can really increase a dog’s drive. For food and attention are definite motivators!

  • http://romp-roll-rockies.blogspot.com/ KB – RompRollRockies

    I agree with Jen. Six months? Wow. I’ve found that my dogs can learn things like recalls from each other (by simply following the other dogs) but not other kinds of tricks… But, when Flattery understands that clicker, I bet she’ll learn a host of other things very fast.

    She is really beautiful. I love your photos of her.

  • Dory and the Mama

    They always keep us guessing, don’t they!

  • Terry Cramer

    Welcome to my world with rat terriers! They seem to learn a command one day, and the next day, it appears that they’ve never heard of that command! I think Flattery has secretly been conspiring with Livvie and Kessie!

    Terry of MatildasJourney.com

  • http://teamzerogravity.blogspot.com/ Team Zero Gravity

    It’s funny how they learn some behaviors from watching other, but I have found, most require human intervention in the form of training :)

  • Jodi

    It’s funny you should mention this. I had hopes that Delilah would pick up some of Sampson’s good traits. While she has figured out that lying on her back and waving her feet in the air will get her tummy rubs or attention, she has too much enthusiasm for everything else to behave herself. I keep trying though, and I hope you have better luck with Flattery!

  • Lori – What Remains Now

    Flattery…Let’s say it’s the weather. I’m feeling very unmotivated too.