Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Kipling Gets Around (A Shaping Game)

Here's a trick I usually teach a bit earlier in a puppy's learning career, but with time constraints lately, preparing for the breed ring and lack of daylight hours after work I haven't spent as much time on tricks lately as I ought to. It doesn't help that Mr. Kipling has hit what I am calling his "honey badger" stage. We're back to working LOTS of basics: settle, enough, wait, stay, come, off, etc. Adolescence always seems to come the day AFTER  you're absolutely SURE that your puppy is a biddible genius! BAM! Honey Badger!

On-call work last night kept me pretty busy (and awake all night), but also gave me some flexibility to work Teller and Kipling this morning at the barn and then to work Kipling this evening before dark. So high on the list tonight was was Kipling's 'get around' work. The object of the game is pretty simple - the dog should move away from the handler, towards and around the cone (paint can, etc). The first few steps involve paying any kind of attention to the cone, then only for feet moving towards the cone. Once the dog is consistently moving towards the cone, you can strategically place the reinforcement (throwing the treat past and to the side of the cone) to encourage the dog to come around the cone.

In the initial stages of this trick, I don't really care which way the dog is turning around the cone - I pay attention to which side they favor, but I reinforce whatever go around they offer me. Once the dog is consistently moving around the cone it's pretty important to quickly move to the next step, cueing off one side or another. With Kipling I managed this by standing close to the cone and restraining him slightly by the collar, when released he'd go immediately around the cone and I'd reward him from the opposite side hand. I quickly added distance from the cone.

The video below is Kipling's 3rd session of Get Around - as you can see I've quickly increased the distance, but I'm still making the left/right distinction pretty easy for him to keep his success rate pretty high.

Stay tuned after all that getting around, for Kipling's favorite new trick - B-O-U-N-C-E!

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