Monday, November 9, 2009

Chapter 5: Clicker Training

I've explained that my hu-mom and hu-man were not what you call "dog" people, so when I came along, they had no experience with children, or puppies, so they read books, watched The Dog Whisperer, sought out advice wherever they could, and trained me as best they could.

My hu-mom learned about clicker training, and this turned out to be something that really "clicked" with me = ) She did two things: 1) she watched my natural tendencies, and when I did something that she wanted me to "repeat", she would click the clicker and put a name to it; and 2) she used treats and the clicker to form a response from me.

For example... when she wanted me to sit, she would take a treat and place it near my nose, then move it back towards the top of my head. In order for my eyes to follow, I had to sit down. As soon as I sat, she clicked, said "sit" and gave me a treat -- followed by a lot of praise.

My next command to learn was "down," for lay down. Again my hu-mom took a treat and while I sat, she put the treat in front of my nose, then pulled it down towards the ground...and away from me a bit. This made my nose follow the treat and as soon as my front elbows hit the floor, she clicked, said "down" and gave me the treat. We practiced this for quite some time, then she put the two together in what she called "puppy push-ups."

What are Puppy Push-ups you ask? Well, they are calisthenics for dogs, silly! My hu-mom would say "sit"...then "down"...then "sit"...then "down" Puppy push-ups were fun, still are, tiring, but you should see my biceps!

My hu-mom and I spent hours clicker training and as a result I can do many tricks on voice command...and hand motion command, but that's another story and I'll share more about that later.

Until next time, have fun with and challenge your puppy, then give him/her lots of loving! ~Zoe

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