Focus Fun June Week 4

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first of month – challenge instead of topic

goal is 4 skill topics per week

Page LinksTopicMonthly Drill ProgressionReadySetGoSlow HandTransition GamesReviewPDF Files

Topic – Ways to deal with Fear.  Karrde had some issues when he was younger and here is what I did with him.

When going out and about, I took my older dog, Sly, with us when I could.  Sly is a very confident dog, and Karrde fed off Sly’s confidence.  I.e. Sly was comfortable in new areas and with new people, so Karrde felt it must be OK.

Next, I taught Karrde to have an awesome tug.  We tugged in locations where he was comfortable.  Over time and with success, we would go to newer locations to add to the challenge.

What is it game! See something the dog reacts to in the environment, break into the “What is it game”.. as you approach object say what is it.  If you have another dog that is confident, use that dog to start the game and ignore the fearful one.  NOTE:  this is NOT to replace the DIG drill… this is for a dog on an everyday walk that sees a fire hydrant for example and shows hesitancy or fear.  

When greeting new people, I always held his collar and asked him to sit.  Holding his collar allowed him to fed confidence off me.  Anytime we greeted a person, I asked Karrde to sit and took his collar.

Lastly, once a week, Karrde and I went to a new location.  We did meet and greets with the public, trained, and best of all, went to lunch where we sat on patios and Karrde could absorb the environment.  This was also a great time to work on our Revv/Settle game.  Karrde is now three (3) years old and has gotten MUCH better.

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how is it going?

where are you using and training?

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Your Task for    Week

 

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Your Task for this Week 

 

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slow hand Stands intro

Your Task for this Week 

 

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Transitions Games – Thumb Touch – Teach – Cue word

The THUMB TOUCH (TT) is another one of my SECRETS for keeping my dog’s attention.  This skill can be used when you want your dog to focus on you.  It is easily incorporated into heeling/flatwork or moving around while training.  Also, the TT can be used in the Obedience, Rally, Agility show rings.

WHY do I have my dog touch my thumb instead of my palm? Some of the skills used in Obedience and/or Rally are “stand” and “stay”.  When using a stand or stay hand signal, many handlers face the palm of their hand towards their dog’s face. Giving a signal for stay or stand, and also using your open hand for a hand touch, might be confusing to many dogs.  I.e. the visual cue for the hand touch resembles the signal for a stand and/or stay.  For this reason, I prefer to USE and DO the THUMB TOUCH.

What You Need

  • Soft treats that your dog loves.
  • Low distracting location.

Your Task for May Week 5

FUNdamentals

  • Hold a small high value treat in your LEFT hand.
  • Have your dog either facing you or on your left side.  Do NOT have your dog in a sit.
  • Small or toy dog?  This exercise is made easier if you are sitting in a chair or on the floor.
  • Put the back of your LEFT hand, with your thumb up close to and in front of your dog’s nose.
  • When your dog moves toward your LEFT hand and your thumb, “mark” his behavior with your reward mark word (“YES! BOOM!”).
  • Turn your hand over and give your dog a treat.
  • Once you have given the treat to your dog, load your hand with another treat and put your treat hand behind your back.  This way you can “PRESENT” your TT hand as a signal.
  • Repeat this sequence several times.
  • Present the back of your LEFT hand with your thumb out to your dog.
  • “Mark” the desirable behavior, then turn your hand over, and reward your dog.
  • In the beginning, keep your hand low to give your dog the opportunity to be correct.
  • After a few repetitions, play or interact with your dog.
  • Repeat with your dog at your left and right sides.
  • NOTE: my dog usually prefers to either touch my thumb or the back of my hand.  Either option is acceptable.

Introducing a “cue word.”

  • Once you are sure that your dog will touch your thumb as soon as it is presented, start adding your “cue word” (“Touch”, “thumb”, etc.).
  • As soon as he bumps your thumb with his nose, say your “reward mark”, and turn your hand over to reward your dog with a treat.
  • After your dog eats the treat, put your hand behind your back.  This way you can “present” your TT hand as a signal.
  • Wait a moment and present your thumb to your dog again.
  • Say your “cue word” as bumps your thumb.
  • Repeat this sequence until your dog is confident and consistent with touching your thumb.
  • From now on, only reward your dog for touches that you have asked for.
  • Once your dog will touch your left thumb on cue, repeat with your right hand with your dog on your right side.

Wean off of the treats.

  • Begin to vary when you give your dog a reward for touching your hand/thumb.
  • Start by giving your dog a treat for 2 out of 3 touches, then 1 out of 3, and so on, until you are randomly rewarding your dog for the best responses (faster, more definite bumps with his nose, etc.).
  • Make sure you give your “reward mark word” for ALL touches, including the ones that you do not reward with a treat.

Visual cue only. I prefer using a signal only.  Hahaha.  In order for of my dog to see the cue, he has to be looking and watching me.   :>)

  • Keep your hand low when presenting your thumb making the transition to no verbal easier for your dog.
  • Present your thumb cue and whisper your command.
  • Continue to whisper until your dog becomes proficient at the TT with no verbal.
  • Only when your dog is proficient with the TT signal, should you raise your hand to a comfortable position.

Adding motion.   

Until now, we have been training in a stationary position.  For this step, we will add back in the verbal cue word, and the treat in the hand, to simplify adding movement for your dog.

  • Review the thumb touch steps before beginning to add motion.
  • Have a treat in your TT hand closest to your dog.
  • With your dog at your right or left side, begin slowly walking forward.
  • As you move forward with your dog, present your thumb low, and quietly say your cue word.
  • Reward and praise your dog for the touch.
  • Only increase the height of your thumb, or weaning off of a treat or verbal, as your dog becomes confident and is consistently touching your thumb.

Proofing the Thumb Touch.

Once your dog will touch your thumb/hand while standing or in motion start adding new easy distractions to test your dog’s knowledge of the skill.

  • Test your dog’s knowledge on your right and left side.
  • Practice at different paces, i.e., walk at slow, normal or a jog.
  • Walk your dog through an open ring gate and do a Thumb Touch in the middle of the gate.
  • Stand or walk next to a person or a dog asking for a Thumb Touch.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Your dog shows no interest and will not touch the back of your hand.  Put a dab of peanut butter (PB) on the back of your hand.  Lower your hand so your dog can easily lick the PB off.  Test to see if your dog will touch your hand.  If so, continue with fundamentals above.  If not spend more time with the PB.  :>)
  • Your dog seems confused when you are training this game.  Make sure you are putting your signal hand behind your back or at your side BEFORE presenting the cue.  Wait a moment, and then present your thumb to your dog again, and say your “cue word” as bumps your thumb.
  • Your dog will not touch your thumb on a signal only.  Keep your hand low when beginning to wean off verbal command.  Over many repetitions, gradually wean off using your verbal touch command and make the cue just the “presentation” of your thumb.

 

VIDEO NOTES: In this video, Karrde and I are training the TT.  First, he is showing how he touches the back of my hand/thumb.  My hand is held low, and we work with him on both my right and left sides.  Then, leaving my hand lower, we begin to add the TT while we move forward at a slow pace. 

 

In the next section, Karrde and I work on starting to raise my hand a bit higher, so he has to jump up a bit to TT.   All in all, he does a nice job.

Next, Sly shows how to add the TT with movement.  We move together forward at a slow pace.  When I give the cue, Sly jumps up, and is rewarded for his effort.  Once Sly shows he understands the cue in slow motion, we start working on a signal only and no verbal cue.

Lastly, Sly and I are moving at a normal pace while doing TT.  Remember, when training the TT, to keep your hand low, and raise it as your dog understands the concept.  Make sure that you “present” the signal each time, whether your dog actually touches your hand.  If my dog does not TT, I will simply remove the signal and try again.

BEFORE PROGRESSING, REVIEW YOUR CHECK LIST.

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BEFORE PROGRESSING, REVIEW YOUR CHECK LIST.

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Your Task for this Week 

 

BEFORE PROGRESSING, REVIEW YOUR CHECK LIST.

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PDF Files useful for this week

Focus Fun A-Z 2023-Training-Log-______ Week-

 

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