Teaching “Clean Up”
After seeing this video of a ridgeback putting away toys, I decided that’s something I want to teach Lilly. So, we started shaping the behavior with a clicker and cheese last week. The first training session made me laugh. She got the idea quickly, but her enthusiasm for the job hampered our efforts. Lilly flung the toys into the basket with such abandon that the toys often bounced back out. No clicks for that, I decided, but it completely stumped Lilly. She often got frustrated and offered a DOWN with CHIN, which has become the universal sign that Lilly is either A ) not having fun or B ) is upset (shutdown).
I knew Lilly and I were making progress, though, when she began using a front foot to hold the toy down inside the basket once she placed it in there.
However, my fear is that she will learn / believe that the foot action is the thing I’m clicking. It’s so similar to the cardboard box game, where sometimes she gets rewarded for sitting in the box. Other times, it’s putting just her rear feet in the box, etc.
I’m sorry there isn’t video of our tribulations, but by the time I eek out some clicker time, trust me, I’m not camera ready.
BUT, if we get the trick solid, I’ll be sure to get a clip of that so that we can brag.
P.S. I’m also working on getting a clip of Lilly truly “spinning like a border collie” as a reply to the ridgeback video. Lilly indeed does spin like a dervish before I let her outside in the morning, but lately, when I point a camera at her, it ruins the moment and she demurs.