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Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Fun

It's easy to get bored with the same old routine training games all the time. Shyla can do many of them in her sleep.
This summer and fall, we've changed up our training, incorporating some new ideas and lots of fun and games.

Before each "photo" session, we do a couple of training games that emphasize self-control and then a huge exciting reward after I release her. One difference from the past is that we are playing games like tugging and fetch as rewards for a job well done. The advantage to these games is that they make Shyla excited and very happy so she's thrilled to continue playing when my camera comes out.

Her success rate at the "balance a treat on your nose, toss in the air, and catch it with your mouth" is up to about 90%. It's amazing what practice will do!
Of course, I said "90%" and not "100%" so I still get some funny bloopers like Shyla catching the treat with her ear!
After we've done some motivational game playing, Shyla's recalls are lightning fast and full of enthusiasm!
We have a new training goal to work toward. After years of being too scared to approach strangers, Shyla has decided that hikers are SO much fun that she needs to jump up when she meets them. This is a tricky problem to solve with a formerly very skittish dog because I absolutely don't want to do anything that might dissolve her new-found trust in people. That means I need a "positive training" solution to the problem.

Just the other day, a person surprised us by being out on "our" trails during our ride.
It was a man with a big beard and a deep voice so I expected Shyla to shyly stay away from him. Instead, she ran over and jumped straight up to meet him. I did the first thing that popped into my head and called "sit" from a distance. To my disbelief, Shyla did sit! The perfect reward would have been for the man to pet her while she sat but I think I surprised him too. So, I ran over and fed Shyla a jackpot of treats as she sat in front of him.

He looked down at the two of us with a bemused expression. A crazy dog with a crazy human!!! Fortunately, he seems to be friendly with both dogs and humans.

Happy Friday! It looks and feels like winter outside but I'm hoping autumn wins over the weekend so we can enjoy more of our golden world!


  1. You are doing wonderful work with Shyla. A tip of the tail to you

  2. The nose treat is one of my favorites -- But of all the dogs we've had, only one could do it. But your photos are fun, and how wonderful that your girl is now so trusting, and sees people as "good things." It's a true tribute to your training and devotion!

    Enjoy your weekend!!

  3. Somehow we think Shyla may never reach that 100% because she may worry you won't play that one any more:) It is chilly here at night now but oh the days are just glorious. Enjoy your weekend.

  4. Shyla has come such a long way, and to greet a stranger, almost scary. Treats, and a golden girl in golden leaves. Beautiful.

  5. The fall colors are beautiful. They are starting to make an appearance here.

  6. Shyla is so cute! I love her catch photos!

  7. OMD, LOVE the treatie in the ear!!! BOL!!!! I told Ma that I need to learn that trick...that lots and lots of treaties are needed...then she reminded me that I still needed to lose 5 lbs, and no extra treaties, butts I can practice with my stuffed squirrel if I wanted...pffft! SO not the same thingie!
    Anyhu, the colors are just amazin' there!!! most of our leaves haven't even started to turn yet. Though, we mostly have evergreens here, so it's not very colorful like you guys have!
    Ruby ♥

  8. Hari OM
    WTG Shyla!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  9. We have said it before and we'll say it again - you and your mom are the most incredible team, Shyla!

  10. my balancing and catchings a treat rate is still 0%... I don't know why... maybe it is my nose?

  11. I've trained my dogs to ignore people they run into, basically just walk past as if they aren't there. It is surprising how many people are "offended" that my dogs didn't make a fuss over them.

  12. You are such a fun and beautiful girl sweet Shyla!

  13. You so often give me a new perspective on the finer points of training - thanks, KB!
    (Piper thanks you too!)

  14. Everything is so yellow right now! And good girl, Shyla! :)

  15. Bravo Shyla!! you do such wonderful training with her
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  16. All these photos of Shyla in the golden leaves - we just love everyone of them! Way to go Shyla! Good girl!


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