Monday, March 19, 2012

Falling From Heaven

I'm trying something new with Tibby's crate training.  We've done Crate Games and that didn't give me the results that I wanted.  As Loretta and Silvia and all the smart people say, "You have to have something to control, before you can control it."  Or something like that!!

What I want - my Long Term Goal:  Tibby will relax in her crate while I walk a course.

So I want her to LOVE her crate.  So I started thinking - how can I make her love her crate?  Well, why should she love her crate?  I would need to create an amazing record of rewarding in her crate.  The crate should be a place that rains treats!  A magical place!

So this is the set up - Manners Minder on top of the crate.  Covered crate - because I don't want her to depend on me for the rewards or my location.  I want her to ignore me.  Right now when she is in the crate, she gets excited and looks to me for her reward.  Well, why wouldn't she?  That's how we have always played the game! 
The biggest problem we have is when I walk away from the crate.  Tibby gets UPSET.  I guess I would get upset if someone walked away with my paycheck and I didn't understand why.  Now if they walked away and left me with a lotto machine that was spitting out quarters, I might not be so upset.  'Cause hey! I might win big!

So anyway.  Right now I have the door open.  Tibby can choose to go in or not.  She can choose to stay in or not.  I walk around doing stuff around the house, going into another room, ect. and so far she doesn't care what I do.  She likes the Manners Minder ;) 

I have been slowly adding duration i.e. waiting longer between button pushes and random times.  The hard part now is - When to start closing the door?  AND  Now how do I get her out of the crate - to end a training session?  I don't want her to have access to THIS crate all the time, because what if she goes in and I'm not paying attention/not home and she doesn't get rewarded?  I think this would dilute the crate's reward power.   Do I just call her out of it and go play?  Or stop rewarding and wait until she comes out?

I am open to ideas and suggestions!

Waiting.  I'm giving her a mixture of cooked hotdogs and sausages with kibble mixed in.  I use the kibble so I know when a reward falls out.  It goes clink, clink, but hotdogs are silent.

"Oh magical treat maker, make treats rain on me!"

"Hey!  It worked!"



Newdrim said...

What I would do is have the treats rain only when I tell her to go in the crate, so that way I could have crate there all the time and the value wouldn't be diluted. You know, like she can sit on her own whenever she wishes, but she only gets a treat when you ask her to sit.

About the crate door: did you try to close it for a second while the treats were raining? Or closing it right after she came in, started the MM and then opened it up again? I would try closing and opening the door at random times, gradually making duration longer.

I have a similar problem with Ruby, but he won't eat if he sees me leave, so I'm going a different route. I'm doing Relaxation Protocol with him (usually done on a mat, I'm doing it in a crate) which helps him relax in there while I walk around and do funny stuff. It's very boring though and I have to drive somewhere to do it (we already did it at home), so it remains to be seen if I will stick with it long enough to see a difference.

Good luck with MM!

- Andreja

scotsmad said...

She looks so cute waiting for the rain of treats.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

The Yer in Yer Out from crate games is a good way to mix in exiting the crate and then you can just close the door one time before she can get back in. Or if she's not a overly sensitive dog you could just happily grab her collar to bring her out. I personally would want to stop the game before she wanted to so I wouldn't just wait until she came out on her own.

Loretta Mueller said...

Brillant C! :-) And outstanding way to work with her...bring that to class next week!!!! :)