15 Weeks 3 Days-Trick and Stand

Oct 24, 2004 | Stitch's Story

For breakfast, 10X Sore Paw, and 190X standing. Again we work through the couldn’t-be-that-easy part. Towards the end I think it might be easier to teach her to stand by teaching her to back up – when a dog backs up, her body naturally shifts weight to remain standing. Baby puppies, unfortunately, are too wiggly. If I try to lure her to back up, she plants her bottom and rolls over it onto her back. If I lure her forward first, THEN back, she gets it once in a while. I try shaping her by clicking any foot moving backward, but at the same time as her front foot moves back, her butt drops into a sit, so I go back to just clicking her for standing. If I hand her the kibbles, I get a steadier stand than if I toss them, but if I toss them so she can run get them and come back to stand, I get less subliminal whining, so I go back and forth from one to the other

Another meal – 195X stand, 5X Sore Paw. With Scuba I frequently measure the difficulty of a behaviour in time or number of clicks. Getting the TV remote off the table near Ron’s chair, for instance, was a 5-minute behaviour. Turning the pedals on an exercise bike was a 20-click behaviour. Notice, if you will, that Stand is now up near 600, and we don’t have it well enough to add a cue yet. This isn’t Stitch being “stupid” – Stand is a difficult thing for dogs to figure out. We have the same trouble with stand that we have with Eye Contact, it’s a duration behaviour and she assumes if she doesn’t get a click immediately, she should try something else. So by working on standing, I hope I’m teaching her to have a little more patience and trust her previous behaviour to make the click happen. At the end of the meal, we can usually get up to 3 seconds with 4 on the floor, head up, and no whining. In between spins, dancing – at one point she plants her back feet and waltzes her front feet back and forth, back and forth, swinging her head. That would make a great trick. But I stick with the Stand.

She’s doing Sore Paw very well, but hasn’t quite got it on cue yet. It takes her one click before she remembers what the words mean.

Supper – 5X Sore Paw, coming along nicely, she remembers it with a tiny lure off centre. Stand 195X, I WAS going to be bored with Stand, but tonight she gets it. OK, she wants something, I have to do something, look around, touch the table leg, go left, go right, left, right, le FREEZE! I GET IT! FREEZE! FREEZE!

Very exciting stuff (maybe I don’t get out enough, but *I* am excited). We get to 5 second freezes in standing position (incidentally, with 5 second Eye Contact, better than we did when we were working on Eye Contact!). When she forgets and Sits, she stays sitting for 2 seconds, then jumps up and freezes. Sometimes she freezes in a very nice show stance, sometimes stretched out like a German Shepherd, and sometimes all scrunched up with her head just off the ground, peeking up from under her bangs. But she’s Standing, and she’s doing it deliberately. Tomorrow I’ll start using a cue. Scuba’s is Outstanding – out being her back-up cue, then standing to keep her on her feet. And because she never did hear the difference between Sit and Stand. And it constantly reminds me that I think it’s outstanding that she stands on cue!