New Tricks in Progress

In January I decided to get back into teaching the boys some new tricks.  It's been awhile since we learned some new things and last month I had no foster puppy to distract me.  We haven't had a ton of sessions and even less since Gracie has come, but the tricks are still on my goal list.  At the rate we are progressing they are likely going to be the only tricks we get to in 2013 :)

With Lance I wanted to try
1. Quickly alternating lifting his two front paws, but more like hopping back and forth rather than drumming.

This is proving to be somewhat easy of a trick, but one that Lance really doesn't care for.  If he's happy about it it's super cute!, but just as frequently Lance likes to curse at me instead.

2. Say no. 
I thought I'd shape Lance to turn his head first over his left shoulder, and then seperately teach him to turn his head to his right shoulder.  The left shoulder one went very quickly and he can actually repeatedly offer so that it could be saying no in and of itself.  But really it's more of a repeated twitch rather than a no so I then started to teach the other shoulder.  For some reason the right shoulder is extremely difficult for Lance to grasp.  He gets stressed very quickly and Lance easily shuts down when stressed.  We're still working on it.

3. Walk in my slippers
Not going so well either.  Apparently he's rusty in his free shaping to objects as I can tell Lance really isn't thinking about HOW he's interacting with them.  He's flinging his body all over the slippers and just being obsessed about the food.  I can also tell that I really need to borrow a pair of Crocs as the slippers are just too easy to squish and thus he's not able to get enough success with aiming his feet properly.

Vito's tricks
1. Shame from a sit.
Vito finally learned to put his paw over his nose in a down position sometime last year.  Doing it from a sit has proved to be just as difficult as teaching shame initially.  I don't think he's understanding that he can physically lift his paw to bring it to his nose vs having to lower his head to the paw.  Trying to help him get this by having him rest his paw on my arm and then asking for it.  Some progress is starting to be made.  In another variation, Vito quickly got how to do bow+shame, but again that allowed him to bring his nose to the paw.

2. Retrieve his tail.
I did not think teaching him to bite a body part would be so difficult!!!  He's been trying SO hard and picked up on it being about his tail very quickly but would just not try biting.  Lots of shoving his nose both above and below his tail.  I then tried putting vet wrap on his tail and left a little flap hanging for him to bite.  That was a great idea for him and it wasn't long for me to get rid of the flap and then get rid of the vet wrap completely.  Unfortunately, we are now stuck at Vito biting the tail but not having any sort of hold.  I think part of this problem is because although my dogs have a fantastic hold of objects, they have never done it while I'm holding the object too.  I'm currently holding his tail to help him grab it easier.  Plus, it's his tail :)

3. Walk in slippers.
Word of warning, teaching a dog to dig it/scratch is extremely self reinforcing.  Vito wants to dig at the slippers or scratch them backwards as if hiking them.  It has been a painful process to get just standing on them, let alone aiming for the proper spot.  And then whenever he gets the tiniest bit frustrated the digging appears again.  On the positive side, while Vito is having the same problem as Lance in really needing a pair of Crocs, he does seem to be thinking more about proper foot location than his brother is.

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

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