Happy Train Your Dog Month everyone!
This is our first brand new trick for the New Year! On Tuesday we participated in a "Flash Trick" in the "Tricks and Training" group on facebook. One of the members chose a trick or two and we had 2 hours to train it and then post a video. The tricks they chose were "Get into the Suitcase" or "burrito" (roll yourself into a blanket). I chose "get into the suitcase" because I always wanted to train that trick and my dogs already know "burrito".
"Get into the Suitcase!"
We trained this by using shaping! Shaping is a method of getting behavior by marking tiny increments of behavior.
The first thing I did was present the dogs, one at a time, with an open suitcase. They are very familiar with shaping games so it actually ended up pretty easy for us to do. It only took me about 5 minutes to get Zoe completely into the suitcase with the lid shut on her. Phoenix took around 15 minutes because she was a little weirded out by the lid of the suitcase.
The shaping went as follows:
Look at the suitcase - click
Sniff suitcase - click
One front paw into suitcase - click
Two front paws into suitcase - click
Slight Lift of back foot towards suitcase - click
Back foot into suitcase -click
Both back feet into suitcase - click
Then I helped them out by giving them their "down" cue.
Rinse and Repeat.
After they had completely figured out what I wanted, I made it harder by closing the lid of the suitcase. They had to nudge it open with their nose without knocking it completely over and get in with the suitcase lid on top of them. This was definitely more challenging for them but they figured it out pretty quickly!
In the video you can see that I made a mistake. I asked Zoe for a down and she didn't follow the cue but I accidentally clicked her. She still got a treat for it. Any time you click, even if by accident, the dog always gets a treat. Zoe was having problems laying down in the suitcase because it's really too small for her and it's uncomfortable with two metal bars running across the back. When Zoe can't figure out how to place her body she will offer other known behaviors. In the video she offered her cross paws trick.
Also, Phoenix is whining because the cats were angry about being locked in the other room while we filmed it. You can hear Pandora scream in the video and it was bothering Phoenix.
Are you planning on training any new tricks this month?