Incidental learning

Feb 9, 2018 | Serra's Story

Thinking about incidental training today. Things I can teach him without putting any effort into it.

I can’t throw the ball if I don’t have the ball. I started out by throwing it for him a few times, then I sat in a recliner working on my iPad. He came and stood over me and chewed the ball. I ignored him. Then he chewed the ball with his chin on my lap. I ignored him. Then he dropped the ball on my lap. I picked it up and threw it. He tried suckering me into trying to get it from him a couple of times, but I’m not playing that game so he gave up and now drops it every time (sometimes he needs to give it a couple of extra chews first). Now if i don’t respond to the ball in my lap he’ll poke it with his nose until I wake up and throw it. This is going to be a TON more fun for me when I have a new shoulder.

I don’t throw the ball until he makes eye contact. This isn’t something that will have to continue forever, but it introduces the idea that the ball getting thrown doesn’t happen because he willed the ball to fly but because he earned the flight, right now by making eye contact, later by responding to a cue or even focusing on the where it will land, depending on what *I* want out of the deal.

I already talked about how he can’t lie in the path of people who are walking.

He has to go down or up stairs ahead of me. No way am I getting on a flight of stairs with that rhinoceros behind me!

Syn can hump him if he lets her. He can’t hump anybody ever.

If he loses his ball or anything else under furniture, he tries to get it out and can’t, and he comes and stares at me, I will ALWAYS help him get it out. Yes, maybe the third time in a row he won’t get the ball back, but I will ALWAYS respond to his asking for assistance. Dogs in the past who have known this have even come to me with things stuck in their skin or wrapped around a paw. When he’s doing a nosework hide and doesn’t have the confidence to keep looking when he can’t find it, if he asks, I will move a step or two (sometimes toward it, sometimes randomly) to encourage him to keep looking (or better yet, not put him in that position).

Another dog getting something isn’t cause for struggling to get it, it’s cause for sitting back and waiting because it’s a gold guarantee that he’ll get something too.

Whining when I’m working another dog gets him crated in a far corner of the house.

Bugging me for supper at 18:01:23 does not make supper arrive faster.

Fondling will occur if he’s lying quietly beside or on me. ONLY when he’s lying quietly beside or on me. This has resulted in him getting very quietly cuddly.

I love to play bitey-face with gentle mouths. He loves to play bitey-face so he’s very gentle. It thrills me to the core of my being to be playing safely with my hand in the mouth of a large animal with 3 cm teeth. He hasn’t quite figured out yet that feet are slightly more delicate than hands, but it’s coming.