Tonight the pups and I had a great clicker training session. Juno's part may have looked like not very much—lying calmly on her blanket on the couch while I actively worked with Kaline—but for her, it's actually a big deal. Juno is an amazing dog to work with, obviously, but she still has problems "honoring the working dog." As far as I know, it's mostly a field-dog term, describing the part of a test where the dog must sit calmly by as another dog works in the field. It's tough to learn it's not all about you!
Anyway, Juno's general M.O. when I'm working another dog is to whine and yodel in the most pitiful manner. So this is something we have to work on. She got periodically rewarded with the same treats I was using for Kaline—Just Chicken!—for holding a nice quiet down-stay. She was awesome, even when I was migrating around with Kaline, doing recalls and downs in different locations.
With Kaline, my main focus was down. My end goal is for his feeding ritual to be like Juno's, which is exactly like Angel's before her. No mugging the human around the food bin or during food preparation; just lie down next to your food bowl and wait for your release cue. Since Kaline's a baby, I've been having him just sit and wait for his food. He's excellent at sitting—he sees me go to the food, sits about three to four feet away, and then when it's ready he races out to his bowls and sits again with great expectation.
I wanted him to choose to lie down, eventually, but for the first two times, I lured him with the chicken, c/t-ing when he was down. Then I released him to reset him. At first he'd just sit and stare at me plaintively, maybe whining a little. Eventually he'd get bored and lie down, leading to much praise and chicken. He also got c/t-ed for remaining in the down and giving me nice eye contact. Soon, anytime I reset him, he'd sit, then when that only got verbal praise, immediately lie down. Yay! He's getting the concept!
So we started doing it in other places, with me in different spots in relation to Kaline. I did beat the clock, then circles around him. We went out of the family room to the kitchen, then to the dining room where his bowls are. There, we not only worked on down, but going into a sit from a down. If you've ever taught a dog to do this, you know it's hard to teach them that sit is a position, not a movement! Another thing to work on.
Last we went to the living room where we worked both on down and on stand. We have a low coffee table down there, which is actually where I taught Juno the stand cue. She's got an incredibly solid stand now, but when I first started working on it, she thought I had gone completely insane and why the hell was I touching her flank, etc. Being elevated, even less than a foot, changed everything.
Kaline, of course, does not have anything but good associations with stand because of the great work Maura did with him. Once on the table, he caught on real fast that I wanted him to just hold the position, and he stood so nicely as I moved around him and touched him all over. Nice eye contact too. I felt all accomplished.
Then he peed in the brown bed. No swelled heads with a puppy around!