Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What we've been up to

Well, to be honest, we have done any agility since last week (that video that I posted). Unless you count Mika and Wall-e going into 2o2o position on the plank every time we go in the backyard, hoping for treats :)

Starting this winter, I'll be giving my dogs at least a month's break from any kind of agility, once a year. Our 5-week agility break begins this coming Saturday, and lasts until the next fun match in January. We'll use those 5 weeks to work on other things like tricks, and just basically relax.

Speaking of tricks, I started teaching Wall-e a couple yesterday! I started teaching him how to do a handstand, using the method we found on Ricky's blog
. He was actually doing really good and I had him backing up about 12" onto the ironing board (which I'm using for the "plank"). The ironing board was raised about a foot and a half off the ground. I'll raise the board slowly, so that he can build his front end and back muscles safely and won't strain his body too much by doing a handstand. I won't get him to stay in a handstand for very long at all, anyway.

I also started teaching him the "get-a-tissue-when-I-sneeze" trick. Actually, I started teaching it by accident! I was going to teach him how to walk in backward circles around my body. The method I was going to use involved teaching the dog to do backward circles around an object before going around a person.

So, I grabbed the nearest object -- a tissue box. Immediately Wall-e started interacting with the box, thinking that we were playing a shaping game! He tapped it with his front paw, touched his nose to it, and did other goofy behaviours. As I was laughing, he started ripping the tissue that was sticking out of the box. Right away I thought, "Aha! I have a trick!" and I started shaping the trick.

First I clicked for a grab of the tissue, then a pull, then pulling it completely out of the box. After a few minutes, I could hold him by the collar, say "Achoo!" and release him to grab a tissue out of the box. The next step will be to shape him to bring the tissue back to me!



  1. An ironing board is a great idea! Make a video so we can see Wall-e using it for his handstand!

    It's so funny that you were teaching backwards circle and ended up with a get a tissue trick! You never know what might happen with training a dog - that is what makes it so fun!

  2. The ironing board is such a great idea. Thanks, Diana

  3. I think that taking a short break is a terrific idea, and sounds like a lot of fun to be working on those tricks, I agree we need video of the tricks!

  4. Thanks for the comments! :) I'll try to put some tricks in a vid sometime this winter ;)