a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Chip Training 1

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Chip Training 1

SUMMARY: Sit/stay, come, fetch, release, name.

I was SO tired and sore yesterday after the weekend--what has become of me?--that I wasn't up to training. So we took the day off, rested, and played a bit in the yard.

Today I worked a bit with Chip on a very few things for a total of maybe 15 minutes scattered through the day:

  • Release word: I'm using Break, which is what I use for Boost, which is confusing her--when I release him, she also releases. I apparently didn't make the connection for her early on that I need to be addressing her directly for it to apply to her.
  • Recall (Come): Using suggestions in Mandy Book's book Quick Clicks to get him wanting to come to me as I have treats. Started with him a foot or so away, show the treat, then wait for him to come get it; click & treat. Repeat a few times. Then stand back another foot or so, repeat a few times. Then put a treat on the floor in front of him, step away about 3 or 4 feet, and click/treat as soon as he turns his head to see where I am, click. Treat when he comes to me. He seemed to like that, although he would periodically get stuck staring and me, wondering what I wanted (so I was moving too quickly along the progression). No command yet.
  • Sit/stay: Goal is that "Sit" means "sit until I give you the release word." Using a "forced sit"--hold collar and press on that part of his hips so that he has to sit (without pushing hard in the wrong place, which could hurt or make him resist), along with the Sit command. Step slightly away, praise & treat, step back next to him, praise and treat, release. He actually let me walk all the way around him without him getting up (in the kitchen), progressing quickly within just a very few minutes.
  • Fetch: He seems to be bringing the toy voluntarily more and more often, as he realizes that (a) there's no keep-away going to happen and (b) if he brings it, I play with him, which has to be more fun than playing by himself or just standing there waiting for something to happen. I think I might up the ante by click/treat as he makes any move towards me and see whether I can speed this up.
  • Respond to name: At random times on today's walk and while in low-stimulation situations here at home, I say his name and reward when he looks at me. He's doing that pretty well, but that's with no distractions whatsoever.
He does like to play tug and is getting more enthused and sure of himself all the time. I'm starting to add a little body/head/face patting as we play--I want him to keep playing and being intense even if there are distractions on his body. This would be helpful for things like weave poles--if he doesn't care that he's up against them with his face, that would be very good. 

Trying to give the other dogs equal time for treats and praise, but am mostly just repeating old tricks rather than trying to increase their repertoire--I'm just not having the energy at the moment to think through things for 3 dogs at a time! But they seem happy.


  1. Play and Learn is a good way to train a dog.

  2. Play and learn is the best way to train a dog! I try to make it so that we both have fun. But it sure can be tiring, mentally and physically. For both of us, heh.