We are participating in Something Wagging's Train Your Dog Challenge. Not just for the month of January though. Hurley and I are going hard-core and training one new thing each month in 2012!
For January's challenge, we chose to work on the command "Back Up." Here's where we are:
Back up is coming along splendidly. I know it's not the most glamorous of tricks - we'll get there - but it is a basic behavior that the Hurley I know needed. I've used it to get his schnozzle out of the fridge, get out of my way when I'm moving bags of food and a couple other instances. I'm loving how useful this one will be!
But I felt that the learning curve was pretty short for this challenge thing. Too short for a new behavior that's supposed to take us 30 days to learn. I know I started out easy peasy but he had it down pretty much as soon as I brought the clicker out on the 3rd day of training. At the end of the first week, this was where we were at:
Training went so well with Smart Man Hurley-pants, I decided to include the girls in on the fun. I've done a few sessions - all 3 dogs, just the girls, one on one and, while they seem to be getting the backup motion, they are no where near as far along as Hurley. Maggie at first tried to hop back with front paws in the air and it took several training sessions for her to understand that I wanted all 4 paws on the ground but she's finally there. Sadie just hops back. I cannot get her to stand in front of me without sitting (her default behavior). And so she then does a cute little hop backwards into another sit. Both of them will offer up every single thing they know in about 10 seconds flat as well before settling into understanding that we're working on backup. And their energy level training? Off the charts! Neither of them have Backup down on either verbal or hand command yet so I still have to step towards them to elicit the step backward. Sigh. I've still got 5 days in the month left, right?
Wondering what's next on our training agenda? Here's a sneak peek!