I'm also not a very consistent blogger, apparently.
I continue to entertain myself and my dogs with clicker and shape training. Sometimes I work each dog every day, sometimes I work with one dog a day, sometimes I don't pick up a clicker for a week or two. There was a time not long ago where I was convinced that there was no way that I could get sick of this. But it turns out that I went from a clicker training high to burnt out in shockingly little time.
I had to reevaluate what exactly I wanted to get from this before I could continue because impatience and frustration come much quicker when I'm burnt out then they do when I'm in a good training state of mind.
During this time, however, I learned some important things about each of my dogs.
Frankie struggles hard with switching into 'brain mode'. She's impulsive and easily aroused and extremely toy driven. She acts first and thinks about it later. Asking her to sit in the quiet and use her brain takes a long transition period before we can really get to work. I sit down on the floor with my trusty clicker in one hand and some treats in the other and settle in to see what happens. She gets this odd, calm look on her face and lays down directly in front of me... and settles in to see what happens. It's like we get stuck at this impasse for a bit.
Kirby is by far the most fun to work with. I try not to play favorites, but he's just so game to get to work and he'll do just about anything. As long as I keep a step ahead of him, he could probably be taught anything.
Jake took some time to get the hang of it. But once he figured out what I was looking for, he's eager and fun to work with. I've curbed his hoover vacuum style of sucking up treats by tossing them out to the side, which apparently I should have been doing all along? Jake's latest project is learning crawl into suitcase. At this point, he's making the decision to get his body into the open suitcase and sit. I'd like him to lay down, but he thinks he's going to miss something so we haven't quite gotten there.
Maggie is no longer afraid of the sound of the clicker. I work dogs alone and put the rest of the pack away when I'm working and when Maggie is locked behind the office door, she can hear the clicker as I work Kirby or Jake or Frankie and she growls and paws at the carpet because she knows what's going on now and she wants in on the action! No real tricks yet... But we're progressing.
I stopped using the clicker with the cat for the time being. *shrug* He doesn't seem any worse for wear.
The reason I was motivated to jump back onto the blog is because of my newest foster dog, Bindi. She's a deaf double merle Australian Shepherd, appx 6yo and about 36lbs. She's very smart, but not motivated by much as far as food or toys. She's not a big fan of the crate so we dusted off Susan Garrett's 'Crate Games' DVD and voila. Here I am.
I'll have some interesting stuff like photos and videos later. But it's like 11pm now and I need to sleep.
Good to be back!