It continues to be warm weather everywhere this week from the sound of it! Summer is certainly still here and it just makes me realise how much I appreciate aircon. I can’t complain too much about Toowoomba nights, as they have been getting down to around 20oC which has been pretty good sleeping weather. A big comparison to when we lived in Townsville where we had the aircon on every night for most of the year.
I didn’t mention in my first blog, but we’re actually pregnant with our 2nd bub and are now just over halfway through already! This time seems to be flying by even faster than our first pregnancy did (chasing after our wonderful, but busy 20 month old toddler probably has something to do with this 😊). It’s hard to know how much they understand at this age. We’ll point to my belly and tell him ‘There’s a baby in there!’. He’ll point at my belly, saying ‘baby!’, but then continue pointing to different parts of my body (my legs, my arms etc) saying baby each time, so I don’t think we’ve quite made the connection that there’s just one baby growing in my belly rather than one in each part of my anatomy (thankfully!). We had our morphology scan the other day and baby was very accommodating in showing what sex she/he is which was very exciting (we will just keep that one to ourselves though until bub arrives :P).
Anyway… training related! I’m going to step through teaching ‘drop’ today! Equipment you need to get ready is the same as what was used for teaching ‘sit’. All you really need is yourself, your dog (who already knows how to sit), some yummy treats or another motivator (I spoke a bit about motivators in my entry on ‘sit’), a free 10 minutes and some patience!
With teaching anything new, it’s always a good idea to be in an area as distraction-free as possible, such as your backyard away from people and other animals. Once they have mastered the command in this area, it is good to progress to an area with more distractions, like a park, so you are confident they can listen in various locations.
- Start with your dog standing in front of you with his attention on you.
- Ask your dog to sit (ensure they are doing this confidently before moving onto drop).
- With a treat held between your thumb and forefinger, hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose.
- Using the treat as a lure, gradually draw your hand straight DOWN between your dog’s front legs. Your dog’s head should follow your hand down to the ground. Slowly draw your hand out away from your dog with his nose still attached to your hand. His front feet should follow out forwards and his belly come down to meet the ground.
- As soon as his belly hits the ground, say ‘YES’ and reward.
- Repeat until he is doing this consistently and confidently.
- At this stage, you can add in your command (‘drop’, ‘down’ etc) WHILE he is dropping to the ground.
- Repeat and reward.
- The luring hand is what becomes the hand-signal for drop. For Toby, I use a flat hand with palm down and move my whole hand down.
- You might find that if your luring hand is moving too fast, your dog will stand up to follow the treat instead of dropping. If this happens, re-position your dog and try again moving your hand slower.
- Keep training sessions short! 5-10 minutes is a good time to keep their attention before they start to lose focus.
- If your dog’s not getting it (or any trick) straight away, don’t get frustrated. Always finish on a good note, give your dog a pat, take a break and try again later.
- Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice and catch your dog doing the right thing, the more he will do that.