Monday, December 27, 2010

A list of cues..

Trained west for about 20 minutes tonight. Just a note for anyone who might be training their own dog.. I do marathon training sessions with West TO tire him out. I don't expect him to learn new things at the end of the session, and realize that behaviours may deteriorate because of the long sessions. But it keeps him tired and happy.
I put on his GL and thundershirt for the session tonight. He thought about the GL for the first couple minutes, then ignored it completely after that. Good boy. Here's what we worked on:
Eyes - look at me on cue, and maintain eye contact.. got about 5 seconds
roll over - cute trick, and hopefully will evolve into a "flat on your side" behaviour
sit - he's very contextual with this one
down - same here, he's not really sure what down means at all
stand - just started this tonight. coming along nicely. not a kick back, just a lure-forward for pushups
touch - my hand or the end of the stick with his nose
paw - put his paw in my hand. he knows this one.. from sheena, maybe?
shake - body shake. He was doing a few of them (I'm having trouble getting the shirt to fit him nicely. might try washing it) so i started naming it.
leave it - back off food in my hand on cue.

Overall, he did very well. He's tired now, and hopefully ready for a good night's sleep!


  1. A belated Happy Holidays to you and the doggies. Great to hear that West handled the car so well, and that your cues are taking effect with him. When you say he responds to 'sit' and 'down' contextually, what exactly do you mean?

    I've named 'shake' with Skye as well and she now does it automatically before we come into the house, except for when she's not dirty -- then she doesn't feel the need.

    BTW, as yawning can be a stress indicator, do you know if shaking is considered the same?

  2. Hi Ailsa, good to hear from you again!
    If West is standing, giving me attention and I say "Sit", he will almost always sit. But, if West is standing and giving me attention and I say "Banana", he will almost always sit. The context of "in this room, with this lady, and she says a word" is WAY more pertinent to him than "this word.. not that word". This is typical of dogs, and very common. You've heard the phrase "But he does it at home!!" ?
    With down, when west is sitting and thinking about lying down, he has no problem downing on the first cue. If he's standing and I cue down, he sits. After we worked on stand and a few other behaviours, he couldn't down from a sit anymore. Change in context led to complete failure of the cue.
    Buddy, my prev border collie, had Shake and Swallow on cue, just by naming them when they happened. I do want Shake on cue for west (along with a play bow, yawn, look away..) for the reason you mention, it's a calming signal. Yawning is a good indication that the dog is stressed, and many dogs will yawn to seemingly try to calm themselves down. A shake is very similar. I just put a video up on youtube of Archie playing Snooker. He's worried about the judge, and you can clearly see him looking back worriedly as he plays. Once he moves far enough away to feel safer, he shakes off and carries on the game.