Last Friday, I was super busy running around to post offices and Visa organizations trying to fix the status of my eaten passport. The chaps at the Visa office and the town clerk recorder's office had a good chuckle at the story. Anyway, by the time I got home, there was no time for a walk and I had a big delivery that I had to unpack. The weather was turning crummy and I'm not one to insist on making strict routines with my dogs as I like them to get comfortable with variety and change in life. Some days they don't get walks, instead, they get lots of training or plays sessions or I take them on errands. So as I was unpacking the box, I remembered all my Internet friends who are training box tricks and decided to do some training with it. And after Thursday night's escalator training fiasco for Loki, I decided he needed some really good confidence building exercises.
At school, they jump into these large, 4 square-foot white crates on command, so I thought I'd give it a try. They never tried jumping into a cardboard box and I thought the "in" command given for the white crates that they both know would transfer. I tried the Sibe first, and after about a minute of no success, I gave up and tried Loki, who's pretty much a plug and play dog. It took me about 30 seconds to get him in the box. He stepped in his first foot, I rewarded and then he jumped all the way in and I rewarded.
"Princess, see? You get inside the box, and mom gives you the goodies!"
"Retardo, why do you have to make this so hard on me? Haven't you learned by now that you do NOT do stuff for food? You simply act like you have no idea what they are asking and they eventually get frustrated and just give it to you!"
I discovered the best way to train a Siberian is to have her watch me train a high drive dog, on meth, like Loki. Because as soon as she saw him do it, she jumped in the box and my work was done. It took me about 3.5 minutes to train it in both dogs.
"I can do anything this punk can do, and do it better. Now pay me twice his salary since I'm cuter."
While Juno was in the box, I decided, "what the heck, I'll send Loki to go 'touch' and see what happens." We had been working on me sending him from a distance to touch various objects with his nose, which is the basis for shaping other important tasks such as retreive a beer from the refridgerator (Internet, can you believe Mr. Wild Dingo has the audiacity to question why I spend so much time training these beasts?)
While Juno made herself at home in the box (leave it to the Sibe to plop and claim it), I sent Loki to "touch." What he did next almost made me pee myself.
"Since I'm here, I may as well get comfortable."
He went over and stretched out his nose and "touched" the SIBE! Of course I rewarded him. After that, if he touched Juno or the box, he got rewarded.
"Dude, touch me again and I'll punch your lights out."
"Dollface, everything is hunky-dory. I'll just touch this here box now."
It started to rain so I took the game inside.
"I don't like that idea at all Mom. I think I'll stay right here."
If you have nothing else better to do for the next 3.5 minutes, you can entertain yourself with a high quality film from Wild Dingo on how to entertain yourself and your dogs with a cardboard box. The video is not nearly the quality of Honey the Big Dog's masterful video's on shapping and clicker training. I'm so much looser with my technique. But then again, if I ever had to perform like Honey does, I'd probably clean up my act! My only hope is to someday get the beasts to grab me a beer from the fridge.
Excuse my ratty old pull over with strings hanging off. It's my outside muddy gear. Oh hell, I'll just admit it. I dress like crap.
For the record, Juno also plays the touch game, but she has yet to touch the box with Loki in it. Mango, if you want lessons, just meditate on this video above. You can even watch it repeatedly if you need to study it in detail to organize the steps in your Relentlessly Large Head.
Hope you enjoyed how Loki likes to talk back to me. If you all really want to hear him talk back to me, then check out the 50 second video below.
He doesn't have his full-on cracker back talk in that video. He can be a whole lot worse. People keep telling me to teach him to talk, like 'I love Momma' or something. I have a hard enough time getting him to shut his yapper, so I think I'll pass on that.