Friday, October 15, 2010

training: "go say hi"

"Go say hi" is Roxy's new protocol for meeting new people.  It's been working really, really well.

First, we taught her "touch" where she targets the palm of my hand with her muzzle.  Then, I taught her to target other peoples hands with her muzzle (just like she'd do a "touch") and come back to me for treats.  We started with people she already knew putting their palm out for a touch without giving the cue, and when she was reliably running up to their palms, I introduced the cue "Go say hi!" until she got to the point where she learned that "Go say hi" means to go give the other person a touch.

I've essentially made it a game for her and she loves it, and it helps her love people.  The "game" sort of developed over time, and to be honest, the more I think about it, the more I think maybe she invented the game and she's been playing me for a while.

In the beginning I started marking and paying her for any positive interaction, including simply sniffing new people.  She started playing the game and winning, a lot...  It's progressed now to the point where I can have other people ask her for a "touch" and she goes right to them, touches the palm of their hand, and then comes back to me for treats.  And, after she's done this a few times, she's a lot more comfortable around that person.

It's great to see her willingly and excitedly approaching new people. I couldn't be happier!!

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