Joey’s learning a new skill

I’m trying to teach Joey to back up. Joey is very, very sweet, but not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I’m touching his chest (ok, I’m pushing on his chest) to get him to back up. Clicking every time a hind leg moves. Joey is clueless, but is liking the cheese and sausage treats. So I lured him a couple of times, and he backed up much more willingly (no opposition reflex) but I don’t think he really knows why I’m clicking and treating. I don’t want to get stuck on luring, he is very adept at following a treat with his nose but I don’t think any brain cells are involved at all.

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One Response to “Joey’s learning a new skill”

  1. Mary Ann Dabritz Says:

    Hi Liza,

    I attended a Lab at the most recent Clicker Expo (or as my friend calls it, ClickerRamaSmartFest), about this specific challenge, getting Dogs to be aware of their back feet.

    Instead of luring or pushing or crowding (none of that was allowed), they put a small terry towel immediately behind the dog and clicked any movement of the hind feet toward that towel. Because of the different texture, it was easier for the dogs to realize why they were being clicked. Within 5 minutes they had one of the dogs (okay, he was a Border Collie, but had never done this before), putting his hind feet onto a small platform (with a towel taped down on it), and in subsequent tries, they were able to tip that platform (while the feet were NOT on it), in small increments to 90 degrees (vertical), and the dog would still back his feet onto it! So the dog essentially had his hind feet 24 inches up a vertical wall, and was nearly standing on his “hands”.

    This was all within 5 minutes! Steve and Jen White lead that particular lab. So you might try changing the texture immediately behind Joey’s hind feet, and it might help him get a clue.

    Good luck!

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