The Dog Den's beginner class and working with a young puppy provides an opportunity to reevaluate and get back to basics. This week the class introduced the WAIT and STAY commands which Monte has been doing for at least six months. He is very good, but not perfect. This week we only walked out to the end of the leash which virtually guaranteed success, earned the puppy a reward, and strengthens the puppy/raiser bond. At this age we often forget the positive reinforcement and only offer corrections.
For a couple weeks now, Monte has been reluctantly getting dressed, almost shying away. Seven months ago he was bounding into his vest. By coincidence, Abbey's raisers have started working on getting her to move into the vest by luring her. This was a perfect reminder that we needed to start at the beginning, ensure success, and re-institute positive reinforcement for this action.
I started by placing my hand down by my side, palm facing forward. It didn't take Monte long to hit my hand with his nose (TOUCH) which earned a "YES" followed by some kibble. After ten more times with varied hand placements, he was ready to TOUCH my hand through the vest - "YES" and more kibble. It took about five minutes and he is now eagerly inserting his head through the vest with only the verbal command (no hand prompt), which earns him a reward.