14 June 2011

Approaching Our Training to Produce Success

I've been trying to keep Thane busier during the days that we stay home. With the longer shopping trips we need to take to get my food needs supplied, I usually don't have it in me to go again the next day- not even for a walk. This is hard on Thane and leads to my BC redhead finding ways of entertaining himself- some destructive (chewing himself) while others annoying (barking) or nagging me to play, play, and play some more.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I have gone back to training Thane to put things in a basket. This can be very helpful with laundry since my machine- the Wonder Washer has a small tub basket that the laundry needs to go into. It can also be helpful if I can get him to the point of less ball obsession, for him to pick up his toys before bed. This is something I really miss from my partnership with Met. Just maybe we will get there too. grin

There's been a hiccup in the training process however in that after we conclude, Thane chews on himself some. I am suspecting we could be dealing with treat allergy once again. So far, its been kept to a minimum. I plan to continue, but reduce treat size- see how that goes. I hope it does not make us table training - AGAIN. It seems everytime I am training something with him, this allergy rears its ugly face.

Forget the allergies though. Last night in our session there was just so much fun! We had both baskets out- the little basket we are practicing with which is about the size of a store hand basket for shopping, and the larger basket full of dirty clothes. Thane would grab an item from dirty clothes to bring it to me, I'd say I don't need it, put it in the basket at which point he would plunk it in the little basket.  Back to the big basket he would go for more things. It was too funny when he tried to do my thermal shirt. That thing is almost as big as he is cuz I like them large and comfy. He's not ready for big items yet. Oh he can hold up an arm to me so I can retrieve it, but big items just get in the way of doggie feet ya know! LOL

I had put a bunch of little things on the top of the large basket to work with. Thane had other things on his mind though- afterall when a BC makes up their mind to do something a particular way, its quite a task to change that mind! Thane went for that shirt at least three times before I finally put it up so we could ummm make progress. Many trainers would probably have taken the time to just train with it since that was what he was choosing, but I want to think this through more thoroughly. Thane is not a really good free shaper. Often times I wind up asking for help on lists and then realizing that I have to look at things from the way Thane learns- until I figure out in my own head how to teach him to do all of something so big, I've learned its best not to tackle it because I get frustrated- he gets frustrated and it sours the training process of the task altogether.

So for now, we practice with what I call *the littles*. I love seeing Thane get so into what we are doing- his ears all bouncy, eyes probably shining bright- he just really digs new things when I get my head around how to approach the training so he will try things out and succeed.


  1. If you're concerned about the amount of treats being an issue, I would skip the jackpots. The overall consensus is that jackpots usually do not improve training performance for most dogs.

    I know with Jersey, jackpots were very successful, but with Gadget, they might have helped, but we could have achieved what we did without them. With Barnum, they actually mess up our pace, and then he starts looking for multiple treats every time and gets confused.

    Thane has enough drive that he is working for the click and treat. I'd just use one treat each time. Maybe if he does something spectacular, you give him one and then another, in rapid succession. That might help with the food allergy situation.

  2. We recently started making our own treats for Hudson. We bought a cheap food dehydrator for about $40, which came with a 'jerky gun' - kind of like a dough gun for making cookies, to make tubes of ground meats for making jerky. Hudson is very happy with the new treats, and over time I expect we'll save a lot of money on treats. Not to mention, of course, that we can make jerky for the two-foots in the house. If you know a meat that Thane isn't allergic to, this might be a good option for you. Once we get through the batch of plain ground meat treats I made, we're going to expirament with things like sweet potatoes and pumpkin. I'll try to remember to write it up in my blog, if you want to keep an eye there! At the rate we're going, we'll probably run out of his current treats at the end of the summer.