Having introduced Sid to a clicker while we were in Kentucky, we’re using it for Training Time here now. Yesterday, we worked on recall (come when called), sit, down, sit-stay, down-stay, and “wave” (in which Sid waves his right front paw at me).
The major accomplishment was fading the lure for sit and down. That means that I am no longer using a piece of food to move him into position, but just moving my empty hand like the food is in it, and he’s performing just fine. The next step will be fading the signals so that I’m not using such broad hand gestures, and then pairing verbal cues to the behaviors so that I can use my voice if my hands are full.
Having successfully faded the lures, that leaves us “Zen” and “Touch” in Level One of the training series I’m working him on. Also I need to quit dithering around and pick out Dog School and take him to obedience classes. One, classes would give me more structure and a little sense of urgency, and two it would give Sid the experience of working around other people and other dogs. I’m aiming to get him his Canine Good Citizen award, plus his work as a Service Dog will take place in what you might call a “distraction-rich environment” (i.e. the real world) so the more experience he gets working out and about, the better!