Tuesday, 2 October 2007

how do I make the dog stop?

Penny spent an hour Sunday morning at A Perfect Spot dog training. Both she and I had good fun and she had lots of treats. (She missed breakfast as I don't want her to put on too much weight with all these treats.)

We succeeded on most activities but we certainly didn't shine at the 'stop!' command. The idea is that Penny will run towards me and I will put up my hand (like a British policeman stopping the traffic) and she will slide to an immediate halt. The technique I tried was to hold up my hand, at the same time throwing a treat at her. She would stop to eat the treat and when it was all happening smoothly I could add the verbal cue 'stop'.

I've learned one thing - if the treats are tiny and we're working on grass, she'll spend lots of time nosing around for the food. The other catch was that she soon figured out that I actually DIDN'T want her to come to me, so she sauntered towards me, waiting for the food to land at her feet. Great fun for her, but not what was expected.

It was 'back to the drawing board' after class and we tried it out in our garden with bigger treats. She was starting to look a bit tubby already...

At K9 Kompany we've tried a similar command with mixed success. I call Penny to jump towards me over a series of jumps and when she's over the first one I stop her with the same technique. I've been told to lean forward to add my body language to the hand signal.

I looked for some help in the book written by the Kintala founder, David Weston and I think I'll try his technique. The chapter is headed 'Stop on recall' but it's actually a 'Drop on recall.'

He says the dog must first be thoroughly conditioned to drop from the stand position at a distance. Then he says:
1. Practise the drop from a stand position once or twice, using the voice signal 'drop' only and reinforce successful responses.

2. Leave your dog in a stand wait position, walk away five paces and turn to face your dog.

3. Call your dog to you but, the moment it moves, give it the voice signal to drop. Return to the dog and reinforce the correct response.

4. Repeat points 2 and 3 gradually increasing the distance between you and the dog, and allowing the dog to make more movement towards you before offering the voice signal 'drop'. Continue to return to your dog and reinforce it in the drop position.

He then says you should make a hand signal with the voice signal and has a clear explanation of how this signal should look, together with a photo.

I've only mentioned the basics of what he says, because that's what I'm going to try first. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting a clear set of reward-based lessons, because the explanations are clear and there are a series of photos on every page.


Amber-Mae said...

Hey Parlence & penny, you can call me Amber or Amber-Mae, up to you! Most of my friends now call me AM coz it's shorter, easier & it saves up space in the cbox, LOL!

Anyway, about the 'Drop on Recall' or 'Distance Control'. Actually, I've already learned that coz I'm already in Intermediate level. It's not that hard actually. Mommy was thinking of taking a video of me doing OB to show you all how good I really am *ahem*. But actually, I'm not that good. I failed my Intermediate exam miserable & that's why my mommy decided to stop.

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

Anonymous said...

Yes,Penny, I had some fun with the "stop thing" too. The first time I was flying over the jumps when my Mum suddenly leaned toward me and called "stop", complete with hand signal. I was so surprised that I stopped immediately. But next time I was ready and just swerved around my Mum and over the last jump. Oh, Penny, I just love running and jumping.

parlance said...

So, Amber Mae, how did you learn to 'drop on recall'? Penny just doesn't get it, which goes to show that I'm doing a bad job of teaching it to her. I'm going to come on over to your own blog and ask you again.

parlance said...

Jabari, it was just like that with Penny. She stopped beautifully the first - and only - time. Maybe I have to surprise her every time and it will work.