I’ve said for so many years, dogs are the best teachers in the business. And there are so many ways I could go into that, but right now a funny story to demonstrate.
Last night my husband, who is in charge of taking the dogs (except Tom, as Tom refuses) out as many times as they require once he is home in the evenings, came in from taking Zora out chuckling.
“I think Zora is playing me.”
“The past couple of evenings, she’s been asking to go out a lot more than usual. I take her out and she immediately goes over the dog walk. So I give her a treat for doing the contact. Then she goes over the a-frame. And I give her a treat for doing the contact. Then she wants to come inside.”
By now I’m laughing too. She really does have him trained.
My husband, while he loves our dogs, isn’t really a dog person. He fully admits that if I wasn’t the driving force behind us having dogs, and if I didn’t take care of 99% of their needs, he wouldn’t have a dog. But he is very good at upholding various rules and criteria if I ask him to (and an expert at petting them). Such as Zora doing her trained contact behavior whenever she does a dog walk or an a-frame. With me, if I don’t ask her to do the equipment and she does it on her own while we out for a potty break, I either ignore her or lightly praise her for doing it correctly, and interrupt her if she doesn’t do her trained contact behavior. My husband apparently didn’t get that part of the memo, LOL. All of this time he’s been giving Zora a treat every single time she happens to put herself up and over a contact obstacle and does her trained contact behavior in the yard when he has her out. So she figured out how to get him to do it even more often.
Zora has him trained to do many behaviors. This one I’m rather impressed with. Particularly because we had a period where she did something similar, getting him to take her out many many times in an evening because he was giving her a treat every time she came back inside. Once I noticed what was happening, we changed the instructions for him so she only got a treat for coming inside if she actually toileted outside when he took her out. No treats for crying wolf. Her asking to go out then dropped off drastically to a reasonable 1-2x an evening. By asking to go out then doing the contact obstacles, she found a loop hole. Zora is one smart cookie. Who really enjoys her cookies whatever way she can get them.