Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Young Dog, New Trick

One of the items on my "Retirement To-Do List" is getting Toby into a new class. I'd love to try agility with him but he would also benefit from the challenge of an advanced obedience class.  

Well so far, no luck. I know, I know. How can this be in a large metro area? Well, the agility class that looks great is on Saturdays at 2 PM.  That's not going to work for us... as Ted says (with just a hint of bitterness): "Some of us still know what a weekend is!"  

The closest agility class is out because we've had problems with the daycare (Toby) and boarding (Kasey) there. Sorry, two strikes is out in this game. 

The advanced obedience class I tried didn't "make" - not enough students.

 I'll keep looking, but in the meantime I've been checking out videos on YouTube. One that looked interesting showed how to teach your dog to "wave".  I decided to give it a try.
Yeah, not my idea of a treat either, but I'm not the one being rewarded...

First, and most importantly, the reward treats. I used a Pup-er-oni because it's Toby's favorite treat. In fact we call it "doggie crack" because he will do ANYTHING to get to them. (Two weeks ago I accidentally left the pantry door ajar. Toby noticed. He snuck the bag out without making a sound, stole into the living room, and left the empty bag under a chair.)

 The treat is torn into teenie-tiny bits because Toby's is gettting too portly and has been put on a diet. By the way - It isn't working. Some of us spell diet P-E-A-N-U-T-S.

"I must have done something, something good!"
Step 1: A good solid "SHAKE". We're all set there!
"Which paw? I'm ambidextrous!"
Step 2: Say "WAVE" while holding hand out, then say "YES!" to mark it when dog raises paw. Let paw brush hand but do not hold it. Give treat. Repeat several times. I interspersed "SHAKE" a few times too, to show Toby the difference.

"Well, hello to you too!"
Step 3: Gradually flip your hand to change the signal to a wave. 

That's it! Toby got it the first day and showed his new trick to his friends in Physical Therapy during his TherapyDog visit on Monday to lots of oohs and ahhs :)

Here's a preview of coming attractions: next project is FETCH! 

Goodness knows he needs the exercise. A 2-mile walk every day just isn't burning off enough calories from what some people call Toby's "dieting". Yes Ted I'm referring to you!

10 comments:

  1. Woof! Woof! YES absolutely TREATS works well but gotta be extra careful (I know I've been there). Try use healthy treats like carrots, banana, apples (my favorites). Teaching tricks take patience and gotts have some fun. I did agility, yes it takes a lot, a lot of time. It's fun, gone to several competition but lots of time and work. Good luck on your trick training ... Not sure if you read my post http://www.sugarthegoldenretriever.com/2013/02/how-did-you-do-that-balancing-trick/
    Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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    1. Toby does like apples and carrots. Haven't tried banana yet. You're right, I'm going to see if those motivate him the way his puperonis do. No I hadn't seen your instructions and I'm on the way to check it out.
      Thanks for the tips!

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  2. How fun! I might try this with Riley. She loves to shake and she loves to "sit pretty" with both paws up in the air, so it shouldn't be too much of a stretch!

    Bummer about the classes not working out. That stinks. I know I ended up taking Riley to a class in Williamsburg when I couldn't find any classes that worked for us around here. That's a bit far for you though, plus I think the trainer moved out of state. Hopefully you'll find something that will work for you. I wanted to do agility with Riley, but alas, she has hip dysplasia and can't run or jump.

    Elyse and Riley

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    1. Sounds like Riley will be a natural! I'm kind of relieved that it's not just me that is having trouble finding a trainer in the area, and yes Williamsburg is too far, both distance and having to get over the water which as you know can triple the travel time. I'm sorry to hear Riley has hip dysplasia but at least it doesn't interfere with the good work you do as a therapy dog team.
      Take care and keep dry today:)

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  3. OOOOHHH!!! That's how you do it!!! I am going to have to try that with Blueberry. She already knows "shake". Oh and she spins around in a circle. Have you tried that yet? It's a real crowd pleaser! She did it for the vet and the vet was just delighted because she said most dogs won't do any tricks at the vet!

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  4. I'm impressed! Actually I tried teaching him to spin once and he got completely frustrated. Maybe I just need to try again. I'll bet you made the vet's day; it must be hard to love animals and spend all day with them being displeased to see you :( Funny true story: my daughter works at the vet next to Toby's daycare and one day they wanted his picture so they grabbed a camera and a treat. They couldn't get him to hold still long enough for the photo because he wouldn't hold still - he was doing all of his tricks, one after another, and barking in frustration because they STILL weren't giving him the treat!

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  5. Great wave Toby. Your mom taught you well. :-)
    Getting ready to eat, and actually eating, are happy moments in MY life too. LOL!

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    1. Of course! Right after breakfast, we start wondering what to have for lunch! :D

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