Thu 5 Aug 2010
With the wobble board we’re training liking the feeling of being on an unstable surface. The exercise comes from a great new book called Agility Right from the Start. The ultimate goal is for the teeter which can be a very hard exercise for many dogs, especially small ones. The movement it makes when they go across it and the noise it makes can be very scary for many dogs. So I’m training the movement and the noise factors separately.
This is the first time Kara worked with the wobble board. You can see her default behavior is to sniff it or hit it with her nose. I clicked the first two sniffs to let her know that we were working with the object. After that she did put one foot on it so that became what I would click. But you can tell she hasn’t made the connection yet that it’s the paw touch that earns the click. You can see her hit it with her nose and then look up at me – where’s the click? When no click happens she tries something else which alternates between circling it and hitting it with her paw. The circling behavior comes from earlier shaping we did to circle a cone, see our video: Building a Chain.
After a bit she realizes that it’s the paw that pays so the nose touches start to get less. You’ll notice I missed a couple clicks! She’s a little hard to see sometimes so I miss some good opportunities. You’ll also notice I feed across the board and a couple times she put both paws up when getting the treat. I wanted her to understand that she could put both paws on it as that’s the next major step in training this.
You’ll also see that I made a rookie mistake! After the first time she put two paws up I tried to get her to do it again. She really hadn’t gotten the two paws behavior so you can see she didn’t offer it. I realized I went too fast and went back to clicking one paw. Since she kept offering something other than paw touch, I realized she didn’t totally have the idea of what I wanted yet.