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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Happy October! (Shhhh I know I’m a few days late.)

This month, let’s try something new. We’ll call it Trick Club: Choose Your Own Adventure. :)

Just fill in the blanks:

When I blank, I want my poodle to blank.

For example, when Peggy was a puppy, people would ask to meet her, call her in close, and then—almost without exception—excitedly fling their hands up in the air. As if by invisible tether, this flinging action would also fling the poodle up in the air, causing the person to raise their hands even higher. Eeeesh. Flailing human... Leaping poodle.... Bad combo.

So we turned the silly flailing into a cue for a more desirable behaviour:

When I fling my hands up, I want my poodle to sit.

Works like a charm.

Or maybe you’ve got a poodle who loves to boop unsuspecting noses when well-meaning humans bend over to say ohhh what a pretty poodle:

When I bend over, I want my poodle to bow.

Try one of these examples or create one of your own. It can be a new cue for an old trick, or something totally novel. Share it here to inspire others.

Happy training!

Love,
Robin & Peggy
 

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Thanks for the inspiration! I've been a bit lazy with Pavie training recently :( ...I had been quite busy with work the past month. I've been wanting to train the cry interruption trick: "When I cry, I want my poodle to interrupt". I got the idea from an instagram video a while ago, and it didn't seem hard to train. The person in the video pretended to cry (covering her face with her hands) and the dog started licking her, and then she opened her arms to praise. I think I can probably train this by putting some peanut butter on the back of my hands and pretend cry. I only did one session with Pavie on this, so we might need more trial and error to get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the inspiration! I've been a bit lazy with Pavie training recently :( ...I had been quite busy with work the past month. I've been wanting to train the cry interruption trick: "When I cry, I want my poodle to interrupt". I got the idea from an instagram video a while ago, and it didn't seem hard to train. The person in the video pretended to cry (covering her face with her hands) and the dog started licking her, and then she opened her arms to praise. I think I can probably train this by putting some peanut butter on the back of my hands and pretend cry. I only did one session with Pavie on this, so we might need more trial and error to get it.
That’s a great one, @Pavie’s human! And based on the amazing work we’ve seen you do together so far, I suspect Pavie will catch on quickly.

What does Pavie currently do if you cry?

If I were to train this, I’d probably shape it with a clicker. I’d put one hand over my face and then begin by clicking for any sort of contact from Peggy.

Do you ever use a clicker in your service dog training?
 

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That’s a great one, @Pavie’s human! And based on the amazing work we’ve seen you do together so far, I suspect Pavie will catch on quickly.

What does Pavie currently do if you cry?

If I were to train this, I’d probably shape it with a clicker. I’d put one hand over my face and then begin by clicking for any sort of contact from Peggy.

Do you ever use a clicker in your service dog training?
Thanks!

He currently doesn't do anything. I haven't been crying very frequently since I got Pavie, so there hasn't been many opportunities to train. Though last month, I was feeling a bit down and did cry in bed, but it's mostly silent tears in bed, so it might not have been obvious to him.

He once did an alert (jump on me) when I got anxious outside because a kid was screaming near me. I never trained him that, but I think that might also be a useful thing to properly train. An advice I saw was to call your dog over every time you're anxious and give a treat or play with them. And then they'll learn the association: anxious human = play time.

I originally decided not to use physical clickers because I didn't like having to bring so many things with me wherever I go, so I used a "verbal clicker": saying "good boy"! The praise functions similarly to a physical clicker. Though, now I've read more about clickers, I think I quite like them in that they have better precision in timing and more consistency (as our tones can vary when using verbal clickers). But Pavie and I have gotten so used to verbally praising, it's kind of hard to switch and might be a bit confusing for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m glad to hear you’ve not had much reason to cry since you got Pavie. :) I didn’t really understand the appeal of clickers until I tried one. It was like I could suddenly speak poodle.

I’m not very coordinated, and handling Peggy on leash is always a little nerve-racking. (I have super fragile joints and one unexpected tug can be catastrophic!) So I only use a clicker occasionally, almost always off-leash, and generally just when we’re working on something brand new or I’m seeing some above average frustration. Peggy’s frustration is almost always the result of mixed messages I’m giving her, and the clicker gets us back on track.

When I’m not using the clicker, I generally mark with a “yes” or “nice.” She doesn’t seem confused when I switch it up. She does, however, get very excited when the clicker comes out. She knows it’s work time and there are few things she likes more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here’s a quick video of Peggy sitting when I fling my hands up. (I fling the camera up, too, so don’t watch if you get motion sick. ;))


It was very easy to teach this, as she already had a solid sit. I simply started throwing my hands up when I said “sit.” After a few reps, I phased out the verbal cue and she still knew what I wanted.

I’m trying to decide what I’d like to do with her this month. Maybe something with the doorbell?

When I ring the doorbell, I want my poodle to.....

Not sure yet. I suspect it’ll be tricky, as her current response to the doorbell is intense.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle
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Maybe something with the doorbell?

When I ring the doorbell, I want my poodle to.....

Not sure yet. I suspect it’ll be tricky, as her current response to the doorbell is intense.
Elroy's response it somewhat intense as well. I haven't tried it yet, but I should do something for the doorbell too. My doorbell is quite traditional and "TV doorbells" sound very similar. Elroy alerts to "TV doorbells" as if someone was at the door. I Never realized how many times the TV doorbells are rung! Needless to say, he does the same for a real doorbell ringing. Maybe we could strive to have them come and sit next to us after a couple of barks.
 

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Leo (GSD), Lily (APBT), and Simon (SPoo)
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Here’s a quick video of Peggy sitting when I fling my hands up. (I fling the camera up, too, so don’t watch if you get motion sick. ;))


It was very easy to teach this, as she already had a solid sit. I simply started throwing my hands up when I said “sit.” After a few reps, I phased out the verbal cue and she still knew what I wanted.

I’m trying to decide what I’d like to do with her this month. Maybe something with the doorbell?

When I ring the doorbell, I want my poodle to.....

Not sure yet. I suspect it’ll be tricky, as her current response to the doorbell is intense.
There's a webinar for that..... Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - Webinars It ran on 9-30, but both the presentation and Q&A are available in the recording. As long as it's showing on the website, it's available for purchase, but they tend to come down pretty soon after they run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
BTW, I forgot to say you did such a good job with Peggy! Impressed!
She’s a quick learner! If ever we have problems, it’s 100% on my end.


Elroy's response it somewhat intense as well. I haven't tried it yet, but I should do something for the doorbell too. My doorbell is quite traditional and "TV doorbells" sound very similar. Elroy alerts to "TV doorbells" as if someone was at the door. I Never realized how many times the TV doorbells are rung! Needless to say, he does the same for a real doorbell ringing. Maybe we could strive to have them come and sit next to us after a couple of barks.
I like the thought of making it a two-parter. For Peggy I might try having her run to the door to eyeball the introducer, and then race to the pantry for a treat. She will think that is huge poodle fun.

And yes, she, too, has lots to say about TV doorbells. :rolleyes: Lol. I will usually replay the moment a half dozen times until she is no longer reacting.
 

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I guess I should be thankful Phoebe is clueless about the doorbell. It rings and she doesn’t even wake up half the time. My shopping habit comes in handy for something I guess? We don’t go to the door immediately most of the time so it’s a non-issue. 🤣

I wish I could participate in these monthly trainings more, but I feel like Phoebe needs to focus on the basics still, and adding too much makes her act out. 🤦‍♀️
 

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I guess I should be thankful Phoebe is clueless about the doorbell. It rings and she doesn’t even wake up half the time. My shopping habit comes in handy for something I guess? We don’t go to the door immediately most of the time so it’s a non-issue. 🤣

I wish I could participate in these monthly trainings more, but I feel like Phoebe needs to focus on the basics still, and adding too much makes her act out. 🤦‍♀️
Your ambivalence about the doorbell might be the key to avoiding doorbell reactivity altogether, especially if Phoebe can’t see out the window.

I seem to recall the doorbell being a non-issue over here until we were deep into adolescence. Maybe somewhere around Peggy’s first heat? The reactivity seemed to happen overnight, but I know that’s rarely actually the case. I probably ran to the door at some point and got her adrenaline surging.

As for “acting out,” oh boy do I ever know what you’re talking about. I’m not exaggerating when I say I used to keep Peggy’s training sessions to 30 seconds or less. Even now I keep them pretty short, unless we’re working on stuff she already knows.

Bowing was especially hopeless. She got so frustrated, I gave up on it altogether. But then I randomly tried again months later, and—amazingly—she knew exactly what I wanted! Poodles are so neat.
 
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