Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Step 1: Listen to your name

Clearly, Ziggy and I have some work to do - so what's first?  Getting my youngest to pay attention when I say his name.

Right now I'm working on 2 of the things Celeste suggested.  I plan on adding some more in a day or 2.   
First, he is getting about 2/3 of his dinner hand fed to him.  One piece of kibble at time, while his head is up (he doesn't seem to know that a dog can eat small pieces of food w/out looking down) while I say his name and praise him.  This will help him make the connection between good things (food) and my verbal praise, my gentle touch (hands on the dog), and his name.

Next, we've started playing the "name game."  I grab a handful of kibble (or another treat that contrasts w/ the floor color) and my clicker.  I throw a treat, saying "get it, get it, get it."  When Ziggy's just got the treat, I call him back to me "Ziggy" and "right here" to indicate my outstretched index finger.  When he gets to my finger, he gets a click and a treat.  Repeat, repeat, repeat until the handful of treats/kibble are gone.

I've already noticed a change in his behavior.  We haven't been doing any "official" obedience work - I'm putting those exercises away until our relationship is better - but he's already looking at me with more interest and following me around the house more.  Right now he's laying next to my feet, and tonight in agility class he hung out closer to me than he usually does.  

I know it's one lesson, and just a small step, but I feel better knowing that at least I've got some tools to help get me past the stuck spot.  I'll let you know how it continues to go...


  1. I think this is a game that I can use with a certain dog who also does not have good attention. Thanks, and keep posting!

  2. My dogs follow me around the house all day long. My husband calls it my dog-train. I had no idea it was useful for anything. :)


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