Okay, I am going to inspire myself to really get around to further clicker training with my two dogs, by describing my plan.
Having been a librarian, I like to start with a book. In this case, two. I am using Kay Laurence's Clicker Foundation Training with our 16-month-old Rottweiler, Lola. When we got her last year, it was about half her life ago. She knew some basic cues but had not been clicker trained. I do at least a little bit with her twice a day, before breakfast and before dinner.
She's a good dog, very biddable and smart. I'm looking forward to making more time to play with her!
Not always being one to do things in order, and with a dog who is already accustomed to clickers, I started out on page 34 with "Toss and Click," where - guess what? - you toss a bunch of dry dog food on the floor and click when she eats one. She approved of the game and entered into it wholeheartedly. That's this week's news.
I am using Emma Parson's Click to Calm with LarryDog, our 11-yearold Blue Heeler / Chow / maybe GSD. The subtitle of this book is Healing the Aggressive Dog, and Larry's aggression is pretty mild. But there is at least one thing he does that I want to curb. We live on a long and narrow lot, with our little house gently uphill and almost at the very back of the lot. We park at the bottom, under a carport on our land, and the parking area is fenced off from the rest of the yard, where the dogs are free to roam.
When my husband and I come back from trips out in the car, the dogs are usually waiting for us down near the gate. If they aren't, they run down as soon as they see us...
And LarryDog attacks Lola. Sometimes she yelps enough that I think he's hurt her, though I don't find scars. Anyway, that's one thing.
But this week I just pulled the book out and remembered that I had once taught LarryDog "Watch me!" for making eye contact. That is the first foundation behavior Parsons teaches, on page 38, in the Training Recipes section.
I waited till my husband had taken Lola out for their regular morning walk, and then pulled out my homemade liver treats. Larry is the original "will work for food" dog if ever there was one, and he was totally attentive.
Only problem was, when he wants to please me, he sits. Not wanting to reward the sit, I had him lie down and then rewarded him for making eye contact.
It's embarrassing when my dog remembers the training better than I do! He doesn't seem to have ever forgotten "Watch me." So I have been using it across the yard.
I foresee a future where liver treats go out in the car with me, ready for our return.