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Discussion Starter #41
Listening to Asta or Stupid Me (again)

Asta told me how to train him to bring me a water bottle. When I give him goodies in the kitchen, he will race to my room, on the bed, lick lick lick the goodie, nibble on the goodie. This giving a treat in the kitchen and racing to my room with the treat is exactly the behavior I want. I can shape this behavior and put a command on it.

So dry run - low expectations. Taped a piece of turkey to the water bottle (when he wasn't looking or in the kitchen) Led Asta to the loaded water bottle. When he grabbed it I said "Bottle" (The "water" command means something different, so I had to have a new term)

Sure enough Asta grabs the water bottle and races to my room, on my bed, lick lick lick the turkey, starts to nibble on the turkey. I say "Bottle" again and take the bottle and drink some water. Gave Asta back the water bottle. Eventually he became bored, but hey, I had the water bottle.

Asta can do this, I can do this. We just need some time and many many reps slowly cutting back the amount of turkey taped to the bottle.
 

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Asta told me how to train him to bring me a water bottle. When I give him goodies in the kitchen, he will race to my room, on the bed, lick lick lick the goodie, nibble on the goodie. This giving a treat in the kitchen and racing to my room with the treat is exactly the behavior I want. I can shape this behavior and put a command on it.

So dry run - low expectations. Taped a piece of turkey to the water bottle (when he wasn't looking or in the kitchen) Led Asta to the loaded water bottle. When he grabbed it I said "Bottle" (The "water" command means something different, so I had to have a new term)

Sure enough Asta grabs the water bottle and races to my room, on my bed, lick lick lick the turkey, starts to nibble on the turkey. I say "Bottle" again and take the bottle and drink some water. Gave Asta back the water bottle. Eventually he became bored, but hey, I had the water bottle.

Asta can do this, I can do this. We just need some time and many many reps slowly cutting back the amount of turkey taped to the bottle.
I'm so impressed, Asta is a smart poodle.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Skylar I don't really think I train, I shape behaviors. I am so much more impressed with the great trainers and dogs on PF -- You and Babykins, Catherine and Lily + Javelin, Click'N'Treat and Noelle, Eclipse and Fallon, and probably some I have forgotten to name.

It took me about 6 months to figure this one out after failure and failure with a dumbbell.
I really think Asta tells me what he can do and it is up to me to figure it out and how to work the desired behavior with what he is telling me.

He is sure is smarter than me - LOL
 

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That is absolutely awesome! Your creative thinking is giving me thoughts on how to train Noelle differently. Look at what she's already doing, and pay attention to how to modify it. You get extra points for that one. You managed to combine get the bottle with take it to a location, all at once. I can honestly say, I never would have thought of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Progress report

Thought I would update this thread and give myself some markers and goals.

What we know: "Help Me" - fetch DH and lead him to me ; Nudge for medication (Asta is always right. When he nudges, I check the clock - sure enough time) ;
"Stay Close" - lie next to me applying pressure til released.

What we are working on: Good manners when out and about - good at Tractor Supply but Lowe's is a VERY scary place ; Generalizing the "Help Me" command so I can use it if necessary when we are out and about ; "Bottle"- right now he will bring me a loaded water bottle - and breakthrough, he will find me no matter what room I am in. I have been using It's Yer Choice when he brings the water bottle to me and he always chooses the peppermint over the bottle. That leaves the bottle for me (no I don't eat the turkey- LOL)

All in all, right now, I am very pleased with where we are at.

Thank you all for reading and commenting on this thread. It really helps me out to have your support and suggestions.
 

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Wow! Way to go! I haven't been able to keep up on this thread but just read the last bit. And I am impressed. Well done. Good boy Asta! :adore:
 
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I’m very impressed too. Shaping is a very important tool for training and one that often takes creativity and watching your dog carefully.

That’s huge that he will look to find you with the bottled water, no matter what room you’re in.
 

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For the kinds of things you are working on I think shaping is brilliant. Keep observing Asta and I am sure he will show you many offered behaviors that you can take advantage of.
 
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Keep doing what you are doing. I'm so pleased to hear how much Asta is helping you. And what Skylar and Catherine said! Shaping is amazing. Watch what he's already doing that's helpful and build on it. You're doing great. Proud of you, friend.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Asta is bored with his current training. I can tell as he loses attention and you can tell he just wants to wander away. I usually mix up his training sessions but I am seeing this boredom after just a few little training tasks. So Asta is telling me he is bored and I decided to give him something new to try. Bought one of those yoga mats that roll up so you can carry it on your shoulder. He never knows when I am going to put down the mat. I so like the idea of a really solid stay and I believe Asta can get this. Will be oh so helpful when we are out and about in situations where he needs to settle down.
 

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Yes, a mat addiction is one of the most useful things I've trained Noelle. I created it over several weeks. While she was on the mat, she got a treat every other second for half an hour. Step off the mat and the treat dispenser disappeared. I moved it up to every third second, then gradually, gradually, until she got a treat every few minutes at random. Now she dives on the mat and stays put.

When Noelle gets bored with training, I start working on stupid dog tricks. It changes my attitude toward training so we can get out of a rut. Noelle just learned how to lie down when I show her the word, "Down." Looks like my dog can read. Funny stuff. She also just learned to grab a tissue out of a box and hand it to me.
 

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So cool! I've been using a ratty old mat around our house, pairing it with the "Go to your bed" command to build on a behaviour that Peggy was already starting to offer. All my past dogs have had an actual dog bed to go to when asked, but this is the first time I'm using more of a placeholder, thinking it might be a useful anchor for cafe patios, etc. I've never had a dog that would just lounge out and about (at least not until their senior years), and have always envied those who did.

I look forward to hearing more about your progress and will be sure to read through this thread for tips. Great work!
 

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Discussion Starter #54
This is part of the PM I sent to Click, I thought it would be good to post it here to as it is a cool story:

Since the covid I have been working on our property with Asta on the leash. His leash manners are seldom used as we have a big property that is meadows and woods and I pretty much just let him run off leash. To work on leash manners I have been using our big oval drive. Anyway he wasn't doing very good - ranging out in front of me, acting up and last week for some reason I said, "Asta, Stay close, Asta, Stay close" As you know this is an indoor bipolar command to lean on me and apply pressure. So, I said this twice and Asta came back to me and walked in a perfect heel. This dog amazes me. He knows the same commands in different situations. I was wowed!
 

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Wow! Smart boy, Asta! And good thinking, Claire.

I recently tried using an indoor command ("Go to your bed!") when calling Peggy in from the backyard. Usually she plays games at the door, but she shot straight in, past me, through the kitchen to the living room and onto her mat. I love how excited they get when they understand what we want from them.

Will you continue to use the "stay close" command now for heel? Or possibly use "stay close heel" for a while before phasing out the "stay close" part?
 

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Discussion Starter #56
I think using Stay close Heel is an excellent option with phasing out of Stay close. Thank you for suggesting it.
 

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One of my set up cues for Noelle is "Get close." I think I got that one from Catherine. My favorite way to train heeling takes nothing more than you walking in a large rectangle while carrying the best treats imaginable. Say nothing to the dog. Start walking a rectangle pattern. When the dog arrives in heel position, feed treats with your left hand and keep walking. One treat after another, after another, while the dog is with you in heel, and praise with happy talk. If the dog goes out of heel position, the treats go away. But you keep walking in a large rectangle in silence. When the dog comes back into heel, treats come back, happy talk comes back. Dog leaves, treats go away. You keep walking.

If your treats are high enough value (leftover pot roast, chicken, liver...) the dog will discover that hanging out in heel position with you is rewarding. It's the dog's choice to be in heel position and get praise and snacks. When the dog chooses to do a behavior, they are reinforced twice: once by your food and praise, and second by satisfying their desire. This is called "choose to heel" and it's one of Noelle's favorite games. Eventually you fade out the food to every other step together, then every third step together, and so on. Plan on fading out the food over several weeks, not minutes.

Once the dog gets good at choose to heel you can add the game called get rid of the poodle. This involves changing speed to see if you can trick the dog into leaving heel. I pretend that the last thing I want with me is a poodle. "Who invited you here? You again? Maybe I can outrun you. Ah ha! I did it! I got rid of the poodle. Wait, what are you doing here?" Noelle laughs. I laugh. We have a great time playing this game.
 

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Discussion Starter #58 (Edited)
Wanted to give an update as a couple of new members have asked about service dog training and have PM'd me. I've been lazy about updating this thread. Sorry to my readers.
I love the many games that work into training. Noelle's getting a kleenex is awesome.

Wanted to let you all know that on command Asta will go to the kitchen, get the water bottle and return to me!!!
Only bump along the way was me expecting Asta would use one route returning with the bottle. When I observed him he was taking a different route. Made sure I reinforced that it was okay to use the route he decided on.
Bottle command end piece. It's yer Choice.with some scrumptious treats. Peppermints are the all time favorite.
And tons of praise, praise, praise. All things good. On the whole, once I started listening to Asta and shaping behaviors went a lot quicker than I imagined.
This is a great game for the covid time.

Walking (Heelimg) in a rectangle is another neat thing we are learning to do. Can hardly wait until he gets solid enough to play get Rid of the Poodle. Now that sounds like fun.

Get on your mat is going very well. Not 100% reliable but I have seen real improvements. Get on your mat and I become the treats falling from the sky. Then I will sit or lie near to him on the mat and that is the best reward ever.

As always, thanks to my mentors here on PF. I'd be lost without y'all.
Suggestions for the next training objective? Chime in.
 

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Oh, you'll get to the get rid of the poodle game. Just keep doing what you're doing. Once Asta knows heel, you can pretend you're trying to get rid of him. Only play it if your dog likes you being silly, not all dogs do. Noelle really likes it when I laugh and play with her during training. So, "Ew! A poodle!" makes her happy and playful.

As far as a new game, how about teaching Asta to down faster than fast?

For Open obedience, Noelle needs to learn to drop on recall. Run toward me, lie down when I say, finish running to me and sit in front. I need to teach her both how to lie down at a distance, and to lie down instantly at speed. So, I throw a treat to send Noelle away, and call her to me for another treat a few times. Then, I throw a treat, when she is coming back toward me, I ask for a down, then throw a treat for her to chase the opposite direction. It's a ping pong game. Throw treat left, when Noelle is on her way back to me, down. Throw a treat right. Down. Throw a treat left. Repeat. It's teaching her to down very fast so she can chase the next treat.

We are now at the more advanced version where I throw a treat, call come and almost instantly call down, then I throw a treat behind her if she lies down. If she doesn't lie down, I pause a second, ask for her to touch my hand, pet her head, and go back to the toss a treat/down game. Every so often, I do an actual formal drop on recall and give the treat in front. I am thinking after 10,000 repetitions of the toss treat down game she should get the hang of drop on recall.

I think Asta might like the fast moving throw a treat/down/ throw a treat game. It's fast moving and you can do it indoors. It's too hot to do anything outside right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Click - silly could be Asta's middle name. Sometimes he just likes to amuse me. Sometimes it is just a funny face, sometimes nudging my butt which is a sneaky silly behavior. I let him be silly pretty much wqhenever except when we are training. The guy likes a break from his job which I can totally understand.
 
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