I taught Barnum this trick last week. The primary reason was that I thought the tool pictured below might help him learn to do a straight-up-and-down paw thwack (stomp) versus any raking or scratching movement.
It turned out I was right. He learned the correct movement very quickly, and he found the sound that the object made self-reinforcing. He loves it! (Need I say that it made refining this skill, easy?)
(Shout out to Eileen, who gave me the idea with this video.)
I got the idea of adding a new cue to the original cue for foot targeting (which was “Bop it!”) to make this trick work.
Transcript of the video is below.
Note: If you are reading this post in an email, you must go to the actual blog post to view the video (click this link).
Barnum is lying on the floor, looking up at Sharon/the camera.
SHARON: Good boy. Barnum, can you help me out in the kitchen? Release!
Barnum stands up.
SHARON: Barnum, shut the cupboard!
Barnum moves into the kitchen and shuts one of the cupboard doors under the sink with his nose.
SHARON: Good dog! Shut the other cupboard!
Barnum shuts the other under-sink cupboard door with his nose.
SHARON: Good boy! Barnum, close the drawer!
Barnum nudges a drawer closed that was at nose height for him.
SHARON: Good dog! Barnum, was all that difficult?
Barnum runs over to a red Staples “Easy Button” and thwacks it with his paw. The button says, “That was easy.”
Sharon clicks, and Barnum comes over to get his treat.
End of transcript
So, can you guess what the new cue is? Post it in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by!
-Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, “easy”-going SDiT