Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sometimes Old Toys Are The Most Motivating Toys

Since the middle of March we have been working on building Maizey's toy drive. (A bit of the hodgepodge we are working on)

Having appropriate rewards as reinforcement is vital in clicker training. The right reward, and a variety of the right rewards will really motivate your pup to work harder and offer more behaviors. Humans are the same as our four legged friends in this manner, the higher the paycheck the more motivated we are to work. While food is usually the easiest thing to use toys are a very important part of this. Because of Maizey's knee's we couldn't play tug, so I really neglected encouraging her toy drive. But with a couple of weeks of playing the games mentioned in the "Hodgepodge" post problem solved!

She is now enthusiastic and excited to work for her tug goody.

At first she was a little confused to not work for treats. She offered me less behaviors at first and would do as I asked and then run to the kitchen and look at the counter w/ her eager, "where's my goody?" look. 

"Comeon mom I did good lets go getta goody"
"Where is it? Where's my goody?"

But that was a learning experience for me too, because it showed me she was learning to work at a distance from the treats, but also I need to vary where we go to get her treat. Quickly though she got the idea that the tug game was her "goody". It has been a lot of fun to watch this develop. 

One of the recommendations is to have a toy you use only for rewards so I dug in the toy box and pulled out one of her oldest and most revered tug toys. Made by the famous Zoe and Dare's mom for my pups years ago it's still going strong, although now missing the tennis ball (thanks Maizey:)) and one of its strings, it remains her favorite tug.

"Yeah I know this tug is twice my length and girth! I killed it and its goin' with me!"

"I'm gonna get it!"
 "I GOT IT!"
"And I'm not letting go!"


Marie said...

Glad to see that the toy is still hanging in there. If you need another, let me know. Nice that Maizey is picking up on the toy reward now too!

katie said...

Are you kidding me? You know we never turn down toys in this house! Remember the size of the toy basket?LOL Thanks though, that one has been a real winner!

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Lessons From and For 4 Legs has moved to a new address: http://www.lessonsfrom4legs.com. 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!