Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Playtime with my foster dog

Cooper loves clicker training
From Cooper Chocolate Lab
Cooper is doing very well with his daily clicker training lessons. He LOVES food/treats and now knows he can get the food to come to him faster when he responds faster. I think he is also more at easy with me and this forster home so he able to stay focused on his training better. Of course he will never have the strong focus of a Jack Russell Terrier or the super focus of a Border Collie. Labs just aren't like that -- except when they are tearing after a fast thrown ball. 


This morning I took him out of his crate and he was excited and jumping around me like crazy. I only tossed him two balls before I clipped on his lead for some Heeling work on the road. But he amazed me with how quickly he settled into the work. He is gaining self control and did quite well at maintaining his correct position most of the time. Until we walked near the cattle pasture. He is still worried about those big creatures and kept turning to kept his eyes on where they were in the pasture. I click and treat for returning his attention back to me.

Video on clicker training a dog to walk on a loose leash near you.

Cooper is not the bravest dog I have ever met. The other day when we where doing some heeling work on the road he saw my large German Sheperd behind a bush and spooked like a horse -- tore the leash from my fingers as he bolted down the road about fifty feet. He stopped turned around and looked -- saw it was just Lobo and then came trotting back to me. I clicked and treated for him returning to me. From now on I will click and treat him for moving closer to items that he is a little worried about to make him braver.

Body Work

I put him in a DOWN and moved my hands all over him. He is now quiet comfortable with me handling his tail and gentle squeezing and tugging on it. He is also good about his feet. I can massage between his toes and squeeze his toenails without him getting worried about it or mouthing my hands or arms. My fingers do tickle his feet from time to time, specially his hind feet, and he will do a little kick with them. 

Cooper is also doing a lot better with me rubbing and massaging his ears, cheeks, and face. I am also able to put my fingers down inside his ears. Now when he starts to get mouthy when I am touching his face and ears it is because he wants to play and is not because he is worried about what I am doing to him. 

Mouthy Puppy Play

He is still quite mouthy when he is loose and playing with me. I have to keep trying to replace my hands in his mouth with a ball or other toy in his mouth. In this area his is still very much like a young puppy. He needs to be distracted away from mouthing your hands to playing with a toy. I also say NO (calmly in a normal voice)  and click and treat when he mouths the toy instead of my hand. With a little time he will learn that toys go in mouths but human hands do not.

Playing Soccer Ball

I found a soccer ball that is about three quarters filled with air -- soft and Cooper can get a grasp on it and pick it up. I kick it as hard as I can for him. He runs after it then tackles it, sometimes flipping or tripping over it. He likes this new ball game.  For someone looking for a big puppy acting dog Cooper might just fill the bill. 

Cooper is available for adoption at

Video: Clicker training a dog so you can handle his feet. 

This is how I am working with Cooper and he is learning to like having me handle his different body parts. 


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