Sunday, February 28, 2010

a little work at the park

Today it was finally sunny and warm enough to spend some time at the park. We worked a few recalls, L2 sits, L2 downs, and lots of L2 loose leash walking. Both girlies did well on everything except recalls were really quite weak. So we will definitely be working on the L1 come game over the next while. It is hard w/ Maizey since she can't be running around too much.

This series shows one of her better recalls.


"yeah mom?" 


"I'm comin'"

Here is a good down-stay, though I didn't catch them watching me.

And finally a good girl sit-stay

 And of course a  click and a treat!
They are both such good girls, and so much fun!

Friday, February 26, 2010


It's true dog training in not something new in our house, but recently we started the Training Levels program by Sue Ailsby. There will be many more details to come, but for today an example in the Levels effectiveness.

One important skill for any dog to have is to know what they can have and when they can have it. Enter the common  'leave it' command. In the Levels program 'leave it' is covered under the skill called Zen. In short it means teaching the 4legged one to have self control. A valuable lesson no doubt, no matter how many legs you have!LOL

Due to the small amount of training we had done w/ 'leave it' Maizey's response was to simply sit down next to whatever undesirable thing she should be turning away from it. So on good advice from the folks who know so much about the Levels I started over following the steps in level 1 Zen and since she had the basic concept she shaped a better 'leave it' quickly.

Tonight she showed me just how well she understood. I was eating an orange, something she LOVES, and she was sitting on my lap, but started getting too close to my food. One 'leave it' and she started to insistently try to jump down. Due to her recent knee surgery she isn't allowed to jump right now so I kept stopping her. But she obviously wanted down so I put her down. Where she immediately took about 3 steps back from me and sat down and looked at me with the "see? I did just what you said, where the heck is my treat?" look.LOL

Due to a turn for the worse w/ her knee we really haven't trained the last two days but the levels help them be so reliable! I'm so pleased to have this great info to teach her!

Index of Training Terms

Marking and rewarding a behavior when it is offered by the dog with no cue given by the handler.
"In the game" 
A phrase used to describe the dogs attitude toward working the skills being taught in that session. In my case I also use it for the handler attitude since imo it is just as necessary for me to be in the game as for my dog. Being in the game would be described as being focused, eager to work, not lethargic about offering behaviors. To me it indicates willingness and excitement on both our parts for what ever task we have at hand.
Lumping is a term in clicker training that refers too asking for a finished behavior before your dog knows how to do that behavior. 
"A hands-off method of guiding the dog through a behavior. For example, a food lure can be used to guide a dog from a sit into a down. This is a common method of getting more complex behaviors. Lures are usually food, but they may also be target sticks or anything else the dog will follow. Trainers must take care to fade the lure early." (
Dog Reactivity
A reactive dog is one who reacts strongly, in human terms we may call it overreacts, to certain stimuli in the environment. Reactivity is a manifestation of stress. (What is Dog Reactivity)
"The word "shaping" is scientific slang for building a particular behavior by using a series of small steps to achieve it. Shaping allows you to create behavior from scratch without physical control or corrections, but rather by drawing on your animal's natural ability to learn." (
Split a complete behavior into many smaller behaviors reinforcing each one as a step toward the completed final behavior.
The point where one mentally or physically is vulnerable to provocation. (Wictionary
Refers to the point where the dog can no longer maintain control and crosses the line to reactivity.
Training Session 
"Either a pre-set period of time or pre-set number of repetitions. Criteria should remain constant during a single session. At the end of a training session, the trainer evaluates the animal’s progress and decides whether to make the next session harder or stay at the same criteria." (
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Lessons From and For 4 Legs has moved to a new address: Where we will continue to learn life's lessons from my little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's, Maizey and Magnus. Don't miss Meeka's lessons too, by checking the archives of my big girl rescue Rottie. They all teach me so much!