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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Say Your Prayers

Last night I sat down with Kirby and we began working on the trick 'Say Your Prayers'. The end goal is for the dog to put both paws on your arm/leg/bed/table and lower his head below his paws to give him kind of a 'praying' stance.

This video originated at like 7:30 minutes long, but about thirty seconds into it, Josh came home so Kirby barks and I begin talking to Josh and not paying attention, plus I look even more like a heifer when I'm talking, so I cut out the first half. But this is the first time we've sat down to work on this trick specifically. Kirby put one paw up on my arm almost immediately so it was easy to progress into both if I helped him shift is weight a little bit.

For our first session with this trick, I think it went well. We ended further along than I'd anticipated. However, I notice here something that I struggle with consistantly regardless of which dog I'm working with.

Setting clear criteria.

We begin with one paw and he quick progresses to two paws on my arm, which is fabulous. But we come to a point where he goes back to one paw and that's where my criteria grays because I'm still so thrilled with one paw, even though he's already begun doing two paws. I still don't understand when I need to make the criteria more difficult and not reward until I get just that. Do I reward one paw when he's already on to two? *shrug* I figured since this was the first round that I could let it go.

It is something that I battle with every time I train, though. When it seems like its taking too long or getting too hard for the dog, my criteria will change mid session as I try and think of something different to work towards. I know I need to give it more time and give the dog more than enough chances to figure it out.

Patience, grasshopper.

And no, I have no idea what's on TV. I think it was E! maybe.  I realize that I look at it once and a while, but it's not because I'm trying to watch TV while I train. I know somebody is just jonsing to point out that I shouldn't be watching TV while I'm shaping!

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