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.
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.
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.