Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Clicking the pivot. Or not.

I've been shaping Zipper to do tracking article indication. I want him to lie down on an article. He thinks it's the most fun EVAH. I get out several items (sock, glove, piece of leather, plastic lid, ink pen, whatever). I crate him, scatter the items over the house then let him out and tell him to find it. For each article he finds and downs on, he gets a click/treat. He goes nuts! He's started a habit of lunging at it, slamming into a down, then whirling around to me to get his treat (often sending article flying), so I've started waiting until he's down, staying down, and touching the item to click. Never knew a dog who could so accurately imitate a tuning fork.

So the other day, I saw a great video on shaping a dog to pivot (for Rally pivots) using a book. You put the book on the floor, then you click for the dog putting one paw on the book, then standing with both front paws on the book. Then you start to turn around the book and the dog will usually rotate the rear to follow while still watching you. I thought, cool! This will be great for Zipper!

Except for one thing. He thought he should lay on the book. It was a fairly thick book, so it was kind of hard for him to get his front end on and lay on it, but he was determined. This must be what Mamma wants! When I failed to him for this stellar display of ingenuity, he started whacking the book with his right front foot. Rapidly and repeatedly. "This one! This article! Hey! You stoopit or something? I'm doing this, and I ain't moving till you click me for it!"

For now we've abandoned the idea of pivot on a book.

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