Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Training Session 1

After just one training session, Badger and Mushroom are now absolutely perfect!

The Antler Thief, Scene 1: Thief ponders her next move

The Antler Thief, Scene 2: Thievery is its own reward

Just kidding. We have a lot to work on, but now we know what to work on and how to work on it. We covered a lot of new behaviors in our first session last weekend. Our trainer, Bird from Queer Skies Ahead, even sent us a three-page-long training plan. These are the 5 main behaviors that make up our homework:

  • Not jumping on people - this one is self-explanatory
  • "Touch", also known as "hand targeting" - we hold out a hand and say "touch", and the dog touches it with its nose
  • "Wait" for treats
  • Lie down in crate before being let out
  • Looking at us periodically to check in

We changed our "release" word from "okay" to "go ahead" because Bird pointed out just how much I use "okay" in conversation. She also taught us that panting doesn't always mean a dog is happy. Sometimes dogs pant out of stress. If Mushroom pants, it's pretty clear that she's either stressed out, or she's just been exercising. She's not usually one to smile. But with Badger, I admit I sometimes have a tough time distinguishing between a stressed pant and a happy one.

While our dogs are still far from perfect, we are really enjoying the homework. I particularly like that it forces us to spend time actively engaging each dog instead of just handing them antlers and calling it a day. Badger and Mushroom particularly like that we've upgraded their treats to hotdogs and cheese.

The local pittie union demands no less than two hotdogs and two sticks of string cheese per day


  1. G and I just started a training class to brush up on our skills and hopefully attain CGC certification and we learned the same things. The touch stuff is actually really fun and she really likes it. Keep us updated on the progress!

    1. We will! I'm interested in eventually working toward a CGC certification too.

  2. The touch is really good for when they get better and you don't need to reinforce with treats as much. It can become it's own reward, especially if you plan on doing the CGC class because no treats are allowed in the ring. I'm sure the pups will do great with your enthusiasm and Bird's instruction! You can look forward to off leash walks and not be worried about someone running away from you. It's only taken us 1 yr but Trinity's almost ready (But not me im a nervous wreck just thinking about it ;) )

    1. "Only" a year? LOL - That's longer than we've had Badger. One step at a time, I guess.

  3. I love the touch command. It's great for so many reasons. It's actually a better recall commend for Melanie than calling her name (or "here!"). I also like to play "tag" using the touch command with the dogs. It's fun :)

  4. Miss M loves the touch and even when she's sleeping or doesn't want to come if I do the touch it's like some strange force pulling her over to touch my hand. This is fun homework!