Yay for remote genie lamps!

I finally got it! For months I've been wanting a Manners Minder, a remote reward training system. According to Vito, it dispenses whatever you most want at that moment...kibble! Basically it's a little machine that is designed to hold kibble or small round treats and dispenses them from either a push from your remote or on a certain time, even a variable time! Like the clicker, a tone emits right before it spits out the treat so you can reward your dog for distance behaviors. It was originally designed to help with door manners as it is so easy to reward a nice "place" cue even with distractions. But I really wanted it to help with Vito's anxiety. I think it will be perfect to put in the crate with him when I got to Lance's agility and obedience classes as it will allow me to reward Vito even when I'm not there! I am so so excited!!!! In the past couple of months, Vito has gone to daycare when Adam can't supervise him so he doesn't feel any anxiety while I'm doing the separation anxiety program. But now that Vito is older I am looking at getting him into an advanced obedience class on the same night as Lance's agility class and I just can't have him screeching and panicking in a kennel!

I am currently debating on whether I want to use it in our SA sessions at home. As of today we have worked up to me being gone for 25minutes without Vito being anxious but he's usually no longer chewing any bones at all. I think using the Manners Minder would help us build up time more quickly, but at the same time I'm worried that it might put him in a bad state of mind. When I've been teaching him all about the MM the past couple of days, Vito's been just starring at it. Starring and willing a treat to fall out at any second. So I'm not sure that I want him fixated on an object when I leave the house for such a long time. We will see! The MM can be set to up to 5 minutes between rewards so maybe Vito wouldn't just stare once we work up to that setting.

Maybe if I move closer the kibble will come!
(Did you notice his new collar, you can see it now in this picture!) He really is very much in love with the magical machine!

Vito also shocked me today with his crazy little retrieving brain. We were playing tug with a loofa dog when I won and went to throw it for him. Unbeknown to me, I had won since Vito had torn the hat off of the poor dog. So as he went to retrieve the loofa he was carrying the big witch hat in his mouth. Once he arrived at the loofa, Vito looked at me with a puzzled face, turned back to the dog, and then finally looked at me with an "ah ha" grin! He delicately opened his mouth just wide enough to pick up the dog without dropping his hat and then ran back to me, dropping both hat and dog in my hand with a smile :)

Esther  – ( July 2, 2009 at 6:44 PM )  

That sounds like a neat training tool! I hope it helps you out with Vito's sep. anxiety :) And he's a smart little bugger with the retrieval!

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