When the floor is food:
This ClickerExpo session was actually about training horses and the title of the session refers to working with horses when they are standing on grass or hay. But it uses many of the “leave it” and “zen” type concepts that are used in dog training. This is an especially important task for Service Dogs (and therapy dogs) that might encounter dangerous but tempting items on the floor or in the environment. It was really interesting watching horses learn these concepts without any force or corrections or intimidation, just like dogs can be taught the same concepts.
- Animal nose targets the back of the trainer’s hand to get hand to flip over and deliver treat- this means the animal is likely to reach for the hand with a closed mouth instead of grabbing with an open mouth and slows down the food grabbing from an offered hand after a click.
- Wait till I bring the food to you (zen) More training for “don’t grab” which is critical when working with a very large animal like a horse that has teeth that can crush hand bones. (And dog trainers think German Shepherds have “hard mouths”!)
- Wait while I play with the treat pouch/pocket. Just because you reach for the treat does not mean a treat is coming, especially if the animal reaches for it in anticipation.
- Wait while other animals get treats first. Helps to call each dog’s name first.
- Leave it when something drops till told to get it.
- Leave it with other people (just because they have treats, doesn’t mean those treats are available).
- Wait for head up when food is tossed into a bin/bucket/dish, click when animal picks his head up and then toss next treat into container.
- Repeat with food on floor (head up is marked with the “get it” cue)
- “Treasure hunt walk” (random goodies placed along walking path).