Jasmine is getting more into treats these days. When we first got her, she wouldn’t eat anything but soft treats. These days, she enjoys biscuits, freeze-dried liver, rawhide chewies, etc. However, Jasmine has taken to Simon & Huey’s Soft Training Treats as well as poached chicken as her favorite staple training treats. I like the Simon & Huey’s treats due to their size, their “tossability”–they bounce when tossed on the carpet–and their simple ingredients (Oat flour, honey, canola oil, garlic, plus whatever ingredient is used for the flavor, including chicken stock, cheddar cheese, etc.). It doesn’t hurt that Jasmine loves them (one of the very first treats she really loved) they are easy to carry and use and easy to store (freezer). We have tried both the White Cheddar and the Chicken flavors. However, real meat is always a high-value treat, and we use the poached chicken in obedience class.
We originally found the soft training treats at our local doggie boutique–Gussied Up Dog Boutique. Yes, it’s a shameless store full of foo-foo doggie items (clothing, cute leashes and collars, treats, bowls, toys and, these days, Halloween costumes). However, it’s also one of the few stores around here that Jasmine is more then welcome to enter. She was terrified the last time we went, though. I think the sensory overload from too many scary costumes had her reeling. Even chicken jerky didn’t calm her fears, so we had to leave the store.
Jasmine still loves “training time.” She gets all bouncy, her ears perk up, and her eyes shine with the glow of treats to come. 🙂 Now, don’t you wish all your kids would be so eager to do their homework?
Jasmine has been showing more interest in toys and chewing, so I thought I’d get ahead of the game and get her some things to keep her occupied. She likes rope-toys and things she can shred 🙂 as well as things to chew. I brought her to a business meeting one day (the person I was meeting with is a dog-lover) and she got her first taste of rawhide–love at first chew. So, home came a bag of small rawhide chewies.
I gave her a chewie yesterday, and after a few minutes of destruction, she decided she was done. However, instead of just leaving it on the floor, Jasmine decided that she had to hide her “bone.” She was with me in the home office, so she looked for nooks and crannies to conceal the bone. It was SO cute! She’d hide the bone, then go and search for it. She would then move it to a new location and search for it again. She did this again this morning–such a fun and entertaining exercise! I’m sure that if I allowed her to take the chewie outside, she’d bury it.
It’s so great to see her acting like a regular dog. She runs and romps with me on walks, she wags her tail in anticipation of a training session (treats are mandatory, of course), and she refuses to go into the kitchen (her safe enclosure) when she knows I’m getting ready to go out. Go Jasmine!
She has also learned “Sit,” “Stand” and “Down” thus far. “Stay,” well that’s going to take a might bit longer. She also comes (to me) when called. Good doggie!
Yesterday, I discovered that Jasmine loves to work.
We received homework from our obedience class to work several commands (Watch Me, Sit, Stand). I worked with her three times yesterday, and she was jumping with happiness as we worked. Her usually sedate tail was wagging away, her ears were perky, and she was unusually peppy. I was so happy to see her so energetic and playful!
While Jasmine doesn’t quite get the commands yet, I think she’ll catch on soon. It seems that she doesn’t like to present her skills in the kitchen, but will readily come and sit on the carpet. Go figure.
Of course, part of it could be the yummy treats she gets for working…hey, we all would think twice about working if WE didn’t get yummy treats too, wouldn’t we? 🙂
Jasmine and I took our first obedience class yesterday. Eight HUGE dogs and itty bitty Jasmine had lessons in getting the dog’s attention, sit and stand. The other dogs were VERY food-focused. Jasmine shook and shivered all the way through the class. She did sit a few times, but I never got her calm enough to really pay attention. Given that the dogs were all about 50 pounds or more heavier than her, well, I’d be shaking too.
I don’t think that this is the class for her. I’m going to write to the trainer and discuss my issues. I’m not pleased with the way that the class went, including the complete lack of individual attention provided.
We attended our first doggie obedience school class at A Dog’s Life on Saturday. A friend of mine, Cecilia, is the Director of Training there and is the instructor of the class. The class is called “Canine Middle School”–a beginner’s class for adult dogs.
The first class didn’t include Jasmine. We talked about training theory, how a dog’s brain works, issues and challenges for each of us, etc. It was actually quite useful information, rather than just jumping into “sit…good doggie” lessons.
We have some homework to do. The first step is to get the dog’s attention. We give her her cue (call her name). When she responds (turns her head, looks at me), we “mark” the behavior. Many people use a “clicker” to mark, but I like Cecilia’s approach of using a word instead; you always have your voice with you, but don’t always have a clicker. We then reward (treat, praise, etc.) and release the dog from the behavior. Seems easy enough, eh? In theory, yes. But I’ve read that it can take 1000 impressions for a dog to understand a command. In the last few days, she’s had quite a few. But, she only looks when SHE feels like it. 🙂
One of the things we’re supposed to do as well is to test the value of treats. Put two different treats, one in each hand, in front of the dog and let her show you which one she prefers. What did I learn? She prefers my right hand. And cheese. Other than that, food is food. Except for kibble. She doesn’t like plain kibble.
Oh, the inner princess in her is coming out!! Gotta love it!
What did I learn in class? Training the dog is all about training US. We need to be consistent. She picks up cues from our behavior and acts accordingly. Makes sense.