Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Paw v. Nose Targeting

Laura recently posted about teaching dogs to distinguish between a nose and a paw target. Lok know both "touch" (nose target) and "step" (paw target), but I'm not sure how well he can distinguish between the two, as I've never really worked on both in one session or with the same target object. Jun knows the two, but doesn't know them as well and I know she can't distinguish between them. Elo, however, was a blank slate, not knowing either command at the time I read Laura's post, so I decided it would be a fun thing to experiment with. In our first session, working with a round plastic lid as a target, I started with a paw target. Elo picked this up right away and we ended up putting it on cue in the first session. In session two, we continued to practice the "step" cue. In session three, we worked on a nose target. It took awhile for E to stop offering the paw target, or the paw and nose together, but we got as far as putting that on cue in one session as well. In the fourth session we worked on both, but separated them by short periods of working on other commands. That's as far as we've gotten right now. So far so good! I'll update after the next few sessions.

In other news, Jun skied last weekend!!!! After a brief period of craziness before we started down the trail, tangling herself up nicely, she calmed down and sat next to me, looking down the trail. At that point I gave her the "go" signal and she did great!! We had to reinforce "no stopping and sniffing every tree" a few times, but once she figured out the object of the game she was a rockstar! There were a few other skiers out on the trails and we pulled over to the side and stopped while they passed. Passing was not something I wanted to work on with a deaf dog in our first attempt. Lok also did wonderful, you would never know he can't see the trail with how confidently and joyfully he runs full speed ahead. Skiing is a great outlet for him, I think!


  1. yay!!! thanks for giving this a shot. i'm still having a difficult time with the dogs with Lance doubting himself and with Vito wanting to offer both behaviors at the same time. But I've had better luck (75%??) in having the target up higher since they can't do both behaviors at once. Someone else had the idea of teaching the behaviors on 2 separate looking targets and then once you start working on them in the same session to slowly start moving the targets closer together. Then you can overlap them and see what happens. I haven't tried it but it sounded like an interesting idea.

    And yay for skiing!! I hate the cold but I'm sure the dogs just love it!

  2. I did read that comment about the two separate targets. Not sure what I think about that, but of course there's never just one way to do something and different dogs require different methods sometimes. I'll keep you updated. I haven't asked E to do both in one session yet, and usually when I get out the target he offers the behavior we were working on the time before. I plan to keep them separate until he can give me the right one almost all the time the first time, then try to combine them. It's a fun project though!

    I get sick of throwing balls all winter and it's a lot warmer to be moving than standing in one place. The border collies gotta get out and run or there'll be hell to pay. So I've learned to deal with the cold, but it's not my favorite thing ever.

  3. Frankie and Kirby, when I allow them ahead of me, will usually bump sides in perfect stride directly in front of me. They would make a perfect skijor pair I think.
    I'm sure I've asked you before, but I never found the time to train. How did/do you train your dogs to turn left and right? Or dont you?
    I've been scouring CL for a pair of cheap, used cross country skis. Walking gets boring and really, when its icy, its dangerous. Skijoring sounds like MUCH more fun. That's awesome that Jun's got it down!