ClickerSolutions Training Treasures

Tumble's Success

Hi Dear Friends,

I've been sleeping at my dog school the last four nights because "Tumble" - a yellow Labrador - was staying with me while his owners had a short holiday trip to Austria. As she was in a heat I couldn't bring her to my house, because I have a male Labrador. That's why I had to stay at school (night and day!).

But I didn't want to waste time and I wanted to do some "crate training" and also teach Tumble to fetch.

I think you might be interested in this "success story".

From the first day (last Tuesday) I started the "crate training". The owners said Tumble didn't like the crate at all, so I shaped the behavior, and while I'm writing this message , yes you guess well, Tumble is sleeping in her crate. Wonderful isn't it?

Purely positive of course!!

Another "thing" Tumble absolutely didn't do was "fetch" (I think it's the right word for taking a thrown object and bring it back?) In the dogclub where she was going before she came here, some stupid trainer told the owners Tumble didn't WANT to fetch, so they had to punish her severely by harsh leash-jerks. He even said that she should "scream" otherwise it wasn't hard enough and it wouldn't help.

The result was at the end that this trainer has been bitten by Tumble (doG I love that!) and Tumble still didn't fetch.

This was a challenge for me to get this behaviour-chain shaped. I started on wednesday. I did it with what we call here "a buffalo-bone" (it's edible and looks a bit like a plastic bone). Anyway, first looking at it , C/T, sniffing at it, C/T, licking it, C/T, taking it in her mouth, C/jackpot. She didn't realize at all that I was shaping something. (I think that's one of my "secrets" : that the dogs are being trained without noticing it.)

On Thursday we were already so far that Tumble went to the other side of my classroom (30 feet), took the "bone" and brought it back to me. Then I took another object (like a big rope with two knots in it at both ends) and lowered my criteria as from the beginning. In two minutes time Tumble realized it was the same "game" I wanted to play, but with another object.

On Friday I went home for half an hour and left Tumble alone during that short period of time. I left the rope and a fresh "buffalo-bone" on the floor (so she could chew a bit if she wanted to). When I came back Tumble was all gladness and shaking her whole body, wagging her tail, you get the picture.

I kneeled and was caressing her and cuddling, etc. And then she went away and took the rope in her mouth, but she didn't come directly back to me. So I watched - didn't say a word, just watched, - and she was picking up the buffalo-bone (also on the floor) and managed to bring the two objects at once to me!!!!

I gave her a very nice jackpot, and I was really touched by this spontaneous behaviour. To tell you the truth, my eyes filled with tears. And I don't want to "humanize" but Tumble sat next to me and licked the tears away as if she wanted to say :"Hey, mate, we did it together, didn't we".

And this afternoon I went in the (big) garden with Tumble (for peeing) and she saw a plastic ball in the grass. She went, took it, and brought it to me.

Isn't that great?

Yes, to be honest, Tumble has changed a lot during this last four days. From morning to evening she's wagging her tail, is happy, doesn't leave me more than one foot. (She becomes a velcro-dog :-)

I'll miss her, although I'll see her back regularly (her owners are in my dogclub now, and usually coming every saturday).

I'm proud of what I did. I think I taught Tumble that she's allowed to be A DOG. And I'm happy for her that she has owners who are really willing to learn.

I hope this report gives you all some happiness. Thanks for listening.

Best regards from Belgium,

Jos Lermyte
copyright 1999 Jos Lermyte


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