Yesterday morning Elsa and I were at the park very early. I had to go out for the day; so I wanted to make sure that she got a good run in before hand. While we were there I wanted to work on Elsa understanding directions with the use of my hand. We headed over to one of the concrete benches where we like to sit and did some "hup " and "off" exercises. Not only is it good for listening practice but a good addition to her workout. Then I switched it up, I wanted her up and over the back. For a moment she was confused and continued doing what we had been doing. That is when I stopped.
Clearly moving my body and my hand in a different motion I said "over." Elsa very politely and easily leapt over the back of the bench. Nice!
Elsa gets very excited when learning and working. She likes to offer what she would like to offer as a behavior; and this is when I need to slow it down and get more clear. She is so insanely smart that I am often left shaking my head at what she offers me.
At home we have an office thing that is becoming more regular since Luke's passing. Mid afternoon when Elsa thinks I should stop writing or working up photos; she will come and nudge me. I will spin my chair around and ask if she'd like a hug. She immediately puts her two feet up onto my lap and we snuggle for a bit, then I get back to work. So yesterday while I worked late in the office I thought that I'd like her to jump up on the back of my chair for the touch she needs. When she came around to the side of my chair I asked her to come up "hup." I did not turn my chair like I normally do for her but kept the front away from her. She tried to get to the front but I wouldn't let her.
She took a few steps back and stared at me, confused. Patting the back of my chair I coaxed her to come up on the back. She got very excited and continued trying to get to the front. Dogs like to do what is familiar; sometimes all that is in the way of something new is something familiar. I knew if she just did it once that she would have it. I was determined so I was patience. Patience is a virtue and in dog training it is a must. Finally she put her feet on the back, we kissed and through a party. She was very excited and now I am thinking that I will have Elsa on the back of my head regularly; which is just fine with me.
Training is all about patience, timing and knowledge. Knowing when to stop, when to coax, when to offer feedback for right or wrong. If you don't know what you are doing, how can you possibly teach someone else? The more you understand how dogs work the better you can figure it all out and teach them. You have to have the big picture in your head; along with the baby steps to get there. Training can be any new behavior, it does not have to be boring, sit/stay stuff.