Time to Start!

Time to start training Quinn’s first SD task: the retrieve. This will be the basis for a lot of tasks. Take/Get and Give/Bring. I’m excited, nervous. Joella did anything I asked because she wanted to. Mike did almost anything if he felt like it, if I presented it right and/or asked nicely, and if there was enough food involved. Quinn…I’m not sure. She is quite food motivated but not as much as Mike (thank god!) but her eagerness is both a hindrance and a blessing.

We’ll be using Susan Ailsby’s Training Levels, Donna Hill’s YouTube videos, and Gail Hubbard of A Good Dog’s Life. Yes, we can do this.

The Manner’s II class at A Good Dog’s Life won’t start for a few more weeks so we have some time to firm up what we learned and to start new stuff. Tomorrow (Sunday) we will do more fun stuff then Monday get serious again. Quinn does so much better on days where she gets several training sessions in. She loves learning!

We’ve worked a little on TAKE already. She knows TOUCH solid. She’ll touch anything I hold out. So what I did was not click for simple touch but waited for her to open her mouth on the object. Which did not take long! Once she realized biting the object was acceptable, well, she loved that!

Tomorrow we’ll go to Lowe’s together for the first time. I need a dowel and some hose and probably a small tool box to hold our training stuff. And a lock for it so the little darlin’ doesn’t open it to play with the contents. Yes, she would do that.

Sue Ailsby – website > Training Levels ebook (she also has it in print)
Donna Hill – > listing of videos > YouTube channel re: SD training and general training
Gail Hubbard – A Good Dog’s Life (where Quinn and I go to do regular training)

Breaking a Task Down

In teaching any thing through clicker training (aka positive reinforcement, aka force free training), the key concept is to break the trick, task, whatever down into small bits, teach those bits, then put them together.

There are some foundation bits that are used a lot such as SIT and TOUCH. With TOUCH, I can link it to TAKE then to PULL. And soon we have Quinn taking a rope and pulling the laundry basket.

Gail Hubbard from A Good Dog’s Life made a video with her dog, Tayt. She’s teaching him a trick. She breaks down the trick into small bits and slowly gets him to do the entire thing. I’ve put the video below but go read the post to learn what she is doing and why and how to do it yourself.

In another video, Donna Hill of Service Dog Training Institute teaches a dog to touch then flip a light switch. Watching it is both boring and exciting at the same time. I will be adapting this to teach Quinn to push buttons. I don’t *need* her to do light switches but we may do it just for another notch on the cape belt. Donna Hill, who is legendary for her training, has a bunch of videos on stuff from agility to bird dogs to service dogs.