27 October 2008

Paw Targetting

I am starting work now on getting Molly to target with a paw. This is part of Level 3 target, but that i sonly part of why I am doing it. I want to teach her to push switches on power strips with her paw. That's my ultimate goal.

Today was our first training session. I put a post-it on the floor. Being very retrieve oriented, Molly wanted to pick it up and give it to me. I just ignored these attempts (no reward), taking the post-it from her and putting it back on the floor. I started by clicking and treating for looking at it. I wanted her to know that this is what it dealt with. She kept persisting with retrieve, so from there I went to clicking and treating for moving a paw, even just slightly. Then I refined to moving a paw near the target. She hit it sometimes, probably mostly by accident, but I reacted by rapid-firing clicks and treats while she was touching it.

By the time the short session ended, she was pounding her paws into the floor, often on the target, and only getting rewards when she hit the target. I didn't want to overdo it this first time (she does seem to learn amazingly quickly), so I ended by jackpotting her--rewarding her with a small handful of treats--when she again hit the target hard with her paw.

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