I wanted Tanner to have excellent stimulus control (I only want him to offer the behavior in the presence of the cue) on these two behaviors for a couple reasons:
- It can be annoying for him to constantly paw at me or try to put his nose in my hand every time I hold it out.
- Teaching him to wait for the cue also teaches him self control.
- It was challenging for me to teach.
- It makes him use his brain. (watch for the steam towards the end of the video)
I do not tell him "No" when he does the wrong thing. I don't want to punish him for trying. Why? Because a dog that is not afraid to try things is easier to train. Besides, he "gets it" without the aversives!
Another thing to note is that both of these behaviors were trained pretty fluently at home. We have taken them "on the road" and used them in other situations as well. However, this is the first time I have asked him to discriminate outside the house. We are at our local dog training gym, a place very familiar to him. Although he does not hesitate or make mistakes at home, you can see that this environment is a bit distracting and he has to work a bit harder to concentrate.
Hey, I created a thinking dog! How about that?!