The formal retrieve is our first step in teaching the hotdog retrieve. The plan I'm using is this one which comes via Helix Fairweather from Steve White at Clicker Expo which is to say you split, split and then split some more and train up the base behaviours to fully fluent before connecting them.
The critical skills:
* food refusal
* go out
* pick up an object
* carry an object
* deliver the object
Formal retrieve will take care of four of those: the go out, pick up an object, recall and deliver.
Within the 7 critical skills there are various fluency levels, from "not at all" to "fully fluent"
IE the skill of "pick up an object" would start at not fluent (dog actively avoids or doesn't investigate the object) to mild (may investigate it but doesn't know what to do with it), to moderate (attempts to pick it up but doesn't hold it for long or correctly) to fully fluent (picks up straight away, correctly and holds it)
For the hotdog retrieve, all seven of the above mentioned critical skills will have to be fully fluent. Then we'll start out with a bit of hose just a bit bigger than the hotdog. The hotdog will initially be frozen and shoved into it so that the dog can't initially accidentally reward itself by chomping. Then the hose will be cut away bit by bit till the hotdog (still solid frozen!) is being retrieved. Then we will work on making it a room temperature hotdog and then a heated one. Once THAT is there, it'll all be linked together so that I stand in position with a fully cooked warm hotdog, throw it several meters in front of me, send the dog out to retrieve it, the dog picks it up and returns, sits in a front and delivers it to hand upon cue. Nifty huh?
Now that said, I've got more pretty piccies!!! Isn't she a cutie patootie! *sighs happily*
Stacking at 3 weeks old! Cute and obviously smart! ;-)
She's the one on the bottom of the screen here!
And on the left here!
Amanda (their breeder, there are several Amanda's in Aussie Shepherds!) said the whole litter is really motoring around now! These photos were taken Sunday, 1 Oct!