Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Giving Paw

When I was growing up, I considered a dog who knew how to give paw a "trained dog". Our family dog could do two things on cue - he could sit and give paw. That was it.  And that was my definition of "trained"!!

Sammie knew how to give paw when we adopted him. I was very pleased about that. His "high fives" are still his favorite trick. 

It took quite a bit of doing to get Speedy to give paw. He never liked having his paws touched. Whenever I would reach out a hand close to his paw, he would pull it away. I finally got around it by shaping him to touch a board on the ground with his paw and then I transferred the behavior to a dowel. Then I slowly raised the dowel and when he was offering the paw touch to that, I put a cue to it. Then I held out my hand and he learned to touch his paw to my hand. He does nice paw touches now to my hand or my leg.

Speedy with his paw on a the prop from our "Here Comes the Sun" routine:

Maddie learned to give paw in tricks class. It was pretty easy, but she had one quirk. When I put my hand out for her to give paw, she would almost always nose touch my hand first and then give paw!! It was a Maddie-ism. Eventually the nose touch faded out, somewhat, but she would still do it sometimes.   

Dean learned to give paw the fastest. I picked up his paw and gave him a treat. Did it again. The third time, he reached up and put his paw in my hand, I added a cue, and it was done. It literally took seconds, both paws! 

Tessa has been somewhat of a challenge with this. I started teaching her to give paw almost a year ago. It was something we would work on during down time in class or on the sidelines. I used the method with her where I held the treat over her head until one paw lifted slightly and then I would take her paw in my hand and treat. She did not get past this stage for ages. 

Then, we were in tricks class about a week ago and she just did it! I put my hand out, and she put her paw right in my hand!! Since then she has been experimenting with the behavior and having some fun with it. And she even did it for Ben when he was doling out treats over the weekend. It was funny because Sammie, Speedy, and Dean were all trying to get in on it! Paws were being offered left and right!! No pun intended!! 

This is more than just a dance move for Tessa. It is something that she will eventually be able to use to interface with new people! So, according to my former standards, Tessa is now a "trained dog"!! She sits and gives paw!! And considering where we started, I am extra proud of her progress!! 

Tessa sitting on the sidelines at her first Agility trial since I don't have any pictures of her giving paw yet!

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