Thursday, November 15, 2007

Phone Alert Training

Petey got a lesson in alerting to the phone yesterday.

I have one of those cordless thingies which has up and down arrow keys you can press to change the volume and type of ringtone. I filled a little cup with healthy treats and sat down in a cushy chair. Pete already knows "Touch" and "Paws" - the first being to touch my hand with his nose, the second to paw at me.

When Pete was busy chewing a bone nearby, I'd surreptitiously place a treat in my right hand, left hand poised on the broad arm of the chair holding the telephone. Press up arrow... RING ... a quick "Pete! TOUCH!" Being sound reactive as he is, he came over immediately but stared at the phone at first. A little more encouragement, "Pete, TOUCH!" and he switched his attention from my left hand to my right where, upon sticking his nose into my palm, he discovered a treat. Good job! Thank you.

(Yes, I often thank my dogs, especially when I consider what they've just done as a favor.)

His further attempts to extract a treat from my hand yielded mild discouragement and "that's enough." Once he engaged himself in an activity of his choosing, I'd repeat the activity. It wasn't long before he'd come charging through the room at the sound of the phone, eagerly nudging my hand without my prompting him with the TOUCH command. He responded even in several very distractive situations - playing with another dog and cuddling in Dick's lap.

This dog is going to be awesome!

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