Good Day on this the second day of South Africa’s Lockdown. Your challenges for today are:
Down: When dogs get the hang of this skill it becomes one of their favourite tricks. Getting your dog to lie down using a food lure is pretty straightforward although the problems arise when you do away with the food lure. Obviously, you won’t always have food in your hand to lure your dog into a down so you want to get rid of the food lure as soon as possible. I’ll post a video of my pup Bo lying down with a food lure and then just using a hand signal on my YouTube channel and send you the link in my next post. In the meantime this is a very good video to watch.
I’m using a clicker to mark the moment Bo’s elbows touch the ground. You can use a marker word as well such as “Good” or “Yes”. The problem with using food lures is that the food in the hand becomes part of the cue. The beauty of using a food lure is that there is always a hand signal built-in. And once the dog learns the hand signal adding the verbal cue is easy. The progressions look like this.
“But, my dog already lies down on cue…” you may say.
If your dog’s down is already on cue (under stimulus control) then you will need to proof it. You’ll do this by asking your dog to lie down in every room in your home first of all, and in the garden as well.
How did this go? Can your dog respond to the verbal cue “Down” in the kitchen, the living room, the front porch/verandah, the bedroom? If so, then well done! And, if this went well, you can try another of my challenges – and that is a Speed Trial. How many times can your dog lie down in response to the word “Down” in 30 seconds? Get a family member to help with the timing and the counting. Big applause from all if you got 7 or more repetitions.
Summary of challenges – dependent on level for Day Two:
Beginner Level: Down with a hand signal only. The reward is given after the dog is lying down.
Intermediate Level: Down with a verbal cue.
Advanced Level: Seven or more cued “Downs” in 30 seconds.
WHEN YOU HAVE WORKED THROUGH THE CHALLENGES LET US HEAR HOW YOU DID ON OUR FACEBOOK GROUP.