Thursday, July 9, 2009

Muppet Graduates from Puppy School

Hooray! Muppet graduated from puppy obedience school. He is on his way to becoming a well mannered little pup. I entered Muppet in obedience school when he was about 5 months old and he has really picked up the lessons quickly. The classes were a lot of fun and it gave us a great opportunity to bond. Here are some of the tips and tricks that I learned:

Watch Me: Most dogs do not like to make eye contact. In the dog world, eye contact usually indicates a confrontation. However, we can teach our dog’s that eye contact is ok. Here’s how I taught Muppet:

• I hold a treat right next to my eye and say, “Muppet, Watch Me”.
• When Muppet looks at me, I reward him with a small treat.

Sit: Before I could teach Muppet any trick, he had to learn to sit. This is the basic building block to all the other tricks. Here’s how Muppet learned to sit:

• I put a treat between my thumb and index finger.
• I hold the treat slightly in front of Muppet’s nose.
• I slowly lift the treat above Muppet’s head – this will force him to look up.
• As Muppet looks up, he automatically sits.
• I reward him with the treat for sitting.
• Once Muppet picked up the hand signal, I added the cue word “sit”.

Lay: Teaching Muppet to lie down was very easy. Usually everyone knows this trick as ‘down’. I had to switch the cue to ‘lay’ instead because I had already taught Muppet that ‘down’ meant to get off the couch or bed.

• I start Muppet with the sit position.
• I hold a treat between my thumb and forefinger.
• I keep the treat close to Muppet’s nose, and slowly lower my hand to the floor—Muppet usually follows my hand down.
• When Muppet assumes the lay position, I reward him with the treat.

Once Muppet started to pick up all the tricks, I started to reward him randomly instead of consistently. That way he never knows when there might be a treat, but it keeps him interested. I also shower him with ALOT of praise.

1 comment: