Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 45

As you can see in the photos at left, even a simple behavior like picking up a ball is actually a series of many small behaviors. Your fun challenge as a trainer is to learn to recognize and reinforce each little step until you build the finished behavior. As soon as you put the box down, be ready to click—there is hardly a dog in the world that will not investigate something you put on the ground in front of him. Then click any interaction at all with the box. Looking, front feet in, nose in, lying down on it, back feet in, chewing, anything your dog does, click him! As you can see, this is a very enjoyable game that makes dogs eager to offer behaviors. Do you remember playing a game when you were a kid where a friend hid something and you had to find it by moving around the room while your friend gave you hints by saying, “Warm, warmer, colder, warmer—red hot!” That is exactly the game you are going to play with your dog. For this exercise, we are going to use an empty cardboard box. The exact size and shape of the box is not particularly important, but it should be low enough for the dog to step into easily and large enough to fit at least two of his feet inside, if he wishes. A shirt box will do nicely for most dogs. Here are the rules: 1. The object of the game is to have your dog interact with the box in any way he pleases. Touch it with his nose, paw at it, step in it, pick it up in his mouth, sit in it: it makes absolutely no difference what the behavior is. As long as he interacts with the box, he gets clicked. 2. You may say Yes or Good after you click as an additional reinforcement to the treat, but you may not say anything to help him along. Just like in the warm/warmer game, you are restricted to the clicker to tell the dog if he is getting close. 3. Do nothing if your dog is getting “colder.” No helping allowed! This game is about your dog figuring it out on his own. 4. After your dog has offered any interaction with the box and you have clicked it, you may throw the treat in the box to reinforce that the box is a “hot” area. Only throw the treat in after clicking, though; don’t throw the treat in the box to lure him toward it. February 08 | Clean Run To begin the game, hold the box in one hand and the clicker in the other. Put the box down on the floor. Most likely, your dog will investigate the box by touching it with his nose the second you put it down. Click immediately! If your dog does not touch the box with his nose, but just looks toward it, click that and drop the treat into the box. By clicking him for just looking at the box, you are saying “warm.” Wait for him to interact with the box again. Click any interaction, even if it is not the same one as before. Click him even if he accidentally touches the box. Here are some tips to help you: • If your dog just stands there like a lump, staring at you, wait it out for a long time. If you really can’t stand it longer, walk around the box so your dog will accidentally touch it and click that. Looking pointedly back and forth between your dog and the box also helps. • Try putting your hands behind your back when you want to free shape your dog. This helps in two ways. First, if the dog can see the food and clicker in your hand, he often will become fixated with it. Taking those things out of the picture helps him start thinking and stop staring. Second, putting your hands behind your back will become a cue for your dog to start offering behaviors, rather than waiting for you to tell him what to do. • If your dog acts shy or afraid of the box, you have two options. If the shyness is not severe, just click for looking at the box or any movement at all toward the box. If your dog is really spooked by the box, just use something less threatening. Try a rope toy, a book, a food dish, or anything at all that your dog is not frightened of. This exercise is not about getting any particular behavior, so it does not matter what you use. A little dog like this might find it intimidating to interact with a box, so you could try using a rope toy instead. Here, I am clicking her for looking at the rope toy and then for touching it with her nose. It does not matter at all what your dog offers, so long as he gets the idea that he can make you give him cookies by offering any behavior. • If your dog runs wildly around and seems not to notice the box at all, just click him for being in the same room as the box, then in the same half of the room as the box, then in the same 5' square as the box, and so forth, until he is interacting with the box. If your clicker has been powered up sufficiently, your dog will catch on to the game very quickly. Continue to click and treat for any interaction with the box for the entire session—a glance, a sniff, a lick, a paw in or on the box, mouth on the box, anything at all! Some dogs will be merrily interacting with the box in only three or four clicks. Some dogs will take five minutes before they 45

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - February 2008

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Contents
Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
On Course with Annie Lehman
Basic Turns
Trainer’s Forum
Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Skill of the Month
When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Shelter Champs: Dunk
Distance Challenge
Letters
Agility Organization Update
Nested Courses for Mardi Gras
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - On Course with Annie Lehman
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Basic Turns
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 59
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Shelter Champs: Dunk
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 84
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