Hops started the day by playing with Rice and Dillon, then for his breakfast he had his first shaping lesson of go to bed. I put a mat down and stood next to it. Hops immediately came over to investigate the new thing and I clicked and rewarded him on the mat. After he ate the kibble I said release and tossed another piece off of the mat to reset him. After eating that kibble he went right back to the mat. I clicked and treated that about a dozen times (tossing the kibble in different directions so his approach to the mat changed each time). Then I raised criteria by stepping back from the mat. His response was to sit in front of me, to down, to bark at me, and finally when I did not respond to any of those (I just looked at the mat) he turned around and went to the mat and got a click and a jackpot! He had no problem going away from me to go to the mat after that. I was able to get about 4 feet away and it did not matter where I stood around the mat, every time he finished his release kibble he went right back to the mat. Smart puppy! I call this step the “magic mat,” when you step on it cookies appear! Later I will add a down position to it, duration, distractions and more distance.
Taffy came over today for another play date and she and Hops played for 45 min solid, rested 1 minute, then played another 10. What fun it is to watch puppies play! They are a perfect match.
Hops had his second week of preschool today. He played well with the other puppies and loved the people. He was so funny, he would offer a sit to anyone paying attention. If they gave him a cookie he would sit again, they move, he moves closer and sits, it is like he was saying, can’t you see me sitting? That means I get a treat! For one lady he sat very nicely, but was facing her back! We laughed at him, I told him he had the wrong side and he moved around to face her and sat again. He was a little sitting machine! He enjoyed playing on the planks with Jeremiah and offered to walk and run on them over and over. When we worked on self control he was not only able to leave cookies alone that were on the ground right in front of him, but even when they were on his paws! He is so smart! He also did some very nice pushups and hand targeting. I think that the down time between play and training sessions at class is just as important as the sessions themselves. So while other puppies played or had training sessions I was either rewarding Hops for being quiet in his crate, or I was opening up the door and rewarding him for staying in it, or I held him on my lap and petted rewarded him for being calm and quiet. He never barked in the crate or lunged at the crate door like some of the other puppies. He also peed right away whenever I took him out, he is such a good puppy!
Hops was fed his dinner while I clipped and filed his nails. He was pretty good for the clipping but was fussier when I was filing. I clip my dog’s nails when they are upside down in my lap. He does not have any problem with being upside down or having his feet touched, he just does not like the clipping and filing, which is pretty normal!