Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Su and the talking tree

I had to do it - we have no tree up but this thing was just sitting there in the garage begging to be used. It will be new to a couple of the cats as well but the first to take notice was Su, of course. She was very curious. No treats came out though so soon she walked off..

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Teaching Su to Howl

Well I can’t say it is working well.

We call it woo-wooing and she will do that at the boys on her own, if they are not pleasing her. Not saying Hi for instance when they walk in, or if they’ve been absent for a long time.

Now someone else whose name shall go unmentioned, taught Su to bark. This was funny for a long time as she had such problems doing it and usually only managed a very small noise. However now there are Corn Dogs!!! and she can bark really loud. Hence the effort to do the woo-woo thing..

James is in town and nearly every morning he gets Su a corndog. She loves loves loved corndogs. We make Su "work" for her food, sometimes telling her what we want, sometimes letting her offer behaviors. I decided a wooo instead of a bark would be a pleasant thing. Uh huh. Well first problem was getting Su to understand what was expected. She tried everything. Sneezes, bows, high fives, lie down, lie down all the way (flat on side), sit, bark, and all again... finally very perturbed Su yawned and made a soft sound at the end of it. It was almost a woo as so she got a treat.

That's when it got funny. Poor Su knew she'd done something that got her a bit of corndog but naturally enough she was not sure what. She tried all her tricks, then tried yawning. Nope. Yawned again with a slight yodel behind it, Yes! I got out the clicker - something I should have done to begin with - and we kept trying. Su still is not quite clear on what sound to make and continues to try yawns but she is doing better. This morning when James came in she really got going, sneeze/snorting at him and finally woo-wooing for her corn dog.

Wish I had pics of her working this out. It was too funny. Also so interesting to watch as she tried yawns and noises to see what worked to get the corn dog. At the moment she’s giving us a real grrowly rwoo.. which works for me. It makes us laugh. That's what I love about clicker training. It gets the dog to thinking, not just waiting for the next order. And it is a lot of fun for the people involved as well.


added later.. a video of Su trying to figure out what James wants. You can't hear her she makes her noise so softly but he can.. so she gets a treat: