Week 6 - Eye on the Prize
Here we are at Week 6! What a journey it has been. This process looks different for everyone but by now you should have a dog who anticipates good things from checking in with you.
If you have been recording your training or you are one of my working students, go back to week 1 and watch where you started. I always recommend doing some kind of before and after to see where you have come. It is so easy to get caught up in the lessons that you miss the progress.
This week we are going to do things a little differently. I want you to work on the first video for at least 3 days. Only that exercise. You can do one from previous weeks if you or your dog looks bored but don’t move on to the next video until you have practiced the first exercise 3-4 times!
Look At Me - Teaching heads up attention from any position
For this exercise, all we want is eye contact while moving. Ideally, eager eye contact. You may have already started experiencing this with other games in previous weeks. This week, we add the normal “yes” marker word and feed from the hand instead of tossing it.
After one or two practice sessions, add distractions. A closed bag of treats, additional humans, another dog (house mates, not strangers), toys, cages pets, etc. Start about 8-10 feet from the distraction and practice for an additional 1-2 sessions.
If you’re successful with all that, you can move to the next lesson!
Everything Is a Trick - Rewarding Attention
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Real life applications. In this video, my dog Journey is giving me attention and engagement even though there are 2 dogs crated in the car. Those dogs are whining. The goal is to maintain attention as we creep past them. I am very close! You are not expected to be so close to a distraction, especially this early on. Consider the video an example of where you want to get to.
I reward him handsomely with hot dogs for looking at me. And then we move closer! If it was safe to do so I might even use a little Premack and let him get you the distraction. Now notice that I inserted his recall when he moved away from me! And I backed up a little like in the ditch games. Just about everything we worked on can be found in this video.
Like the title of the last exercise says “Everything is a Trick”! The engagement lifestyle is a game of “oops! I tricked you and snuck away with the treats! You better not take your eye off me again!!” Practice often even after this class is over, especially the last video. And every few months have a generous week like we did in week 4.
Relationships are like bank accounts. Don’t go bankrupt. Make some windfall deposits every now and then to maintain a healthy balance. And don’t get stingy. Remember that “stubborn” just means your dog thinks the rewards suck. You don’t have to give your dog 10lbs of hot dogs every week, but pay them for their effort.
Practice the exercises from this week 2-3 times minimum. Also if you’re interested, create and post your training plan in the forum class chat so I can see how you plan to continue your progress with distractions and taking these lessons out into the world.
I also wanted to say THANK YOU to my amazing students. I am so proud of your progress and I look forward to hearing all about your future progress in the community. You are now proud members of #TeamSelectiveHearing and I can’t wait to hear about your future exploits. Get out there and show the world your amazing Couch Wolves!