Jump to content
BC Boards

Lightbulb moment

Recommended Posts

Wow. Zoe totally impressed me today.


In class we've been practicing "come" with distractions. Zoe's was horrible. She'd sort-of come, but not really - mainly due to her anxiety. We've been teaching them without treats, instead with high energy, running backwards, clapping your hands, etc. Works for the other dogs. At home, where I have her full attention and she's not stressed out, Zoe just thought it was a party and would run in circles around me instead of coming TO me. I tried the different techniques the instructor gave for dogs who do "run-by"s and such. Didn't work. I could do it for 5 minutes straight, and she just didn't seem to "get" it.


So today on a whim I grabbed some cat treats (soft and smelly, perfect treats) and took them with me when we went outside. Instead of the same tactic (that wasn't working) I instead just called, "Zoe, come!" in a happy voice. Before she could blast past me I used the treat to show her that what I wanted was for her to come right to me. She got huge praise, and the treat of course.


Lightbulb went off in little Miss Zoe's head.


That's all it took. Seriously, one time. Second time I said "Zoe come" she didn't even consider running by, she came right to my legs.


Fourth time I decided to add the command "front" (which we've been learning in class) to the middle of her recall. Sure enough, she came right up to me and sat perfectly and attentively.


Okay, so maybe treats is not revolutionary. I'm sure there's a reason the instructors aren't using them. But I honestly think Zoe just needed to figure out what the heck the command meant. Now she's golden.


(And after that lightbulb moment we've been practicing it - with treats and without - every time we go outside. She'll be bombproof in no time. :rolleyes: )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe the trainer doesn't want the classic case of "My dog will do it if I have a treat with me".


I think that for teaching a dog somthing new (when they just don't seem to "get it"), that one treat is VERY important.


Way to go Zoe!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everydog has to be excited and motivated about "something", to do what you want. For some dogs it's treats, for others (like my BC boy Phoenix) it's a ball or frisbee, treats are an occassional backup (depends on the environment we are in). The trainer should have you find out exactly what it is that motivates your dog. Train with that and then wean, mixing it up. You may have to bring the motivator back now and then, but the idea is to sorta, "confuse", your dog so they never know when or if that motivator is gonna be provided or not. I always carry a few treats (dehydrated liver) in my pocket, just in case I either meet someone else's dog or I have one of mine with me and I need to grab their attention 'NOW'. Mirra and Sitka, are very motivated by treats (especially Mirra)& when I wave a piece of that stinky liver in front of their nose, when or if I need to, it's bam,,,, immediate attention.

Sure I would like for them to 'bam'... pay attention without treats, but, the treats create the outcome I want, when I want it... who cares what I need to do, to get that immediate wanted response, if it works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hahahah, Deb! That's so true. Zoe spends a lot of her free time plotting how to get past the baby gate and into the kitchen to eat all the cat food. And once she's in there she helps herself to the tootsie rolls. Ugh. I'm glad she likes the actual cat though - the cat likes her too! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...