Saturday, September 09, 2006

Acting class # 4

Today, I had my fourth, or second to last of my Level 1 Acting Class. It was a cooler day here in Vancouver, so I was able to concentrate more....especially when those mesmerizing bees were all hiding in their hives!!!

The four new commands we learned today were: "Give kisses", "Rear up", "Circle left/Circle right", and "Back up"

Give kisses - dog licks a designated spot

  1. Begin with smearing the designated spot with yummy paste (ie, peanut butter, kong filling)
  2. Point and show the spot to the dog, and say "Give kisses" (or anything you would like to like to use as your command)
  3. As soon as the dog licks, click and reward
  4. Work towards having the dog in a "Sit" position and then pointing to a spot and sending them over to "Give kisses"

This exercise is just no my style! Why? Well maybe because I don't give "kisses", not even to mum!! The way I show my affection is by giving lots of wet, slobbery "nibbles". I will use my teeth and gently nibble you, but you would have to be a very special person. So for them to want me to "give kisses" to a spot was just too ridiculous!

I licked up the kong filling that was smeared on mum's arm and that was the end of that. Mum gave up finally, and told me "Kiss Kiss", which is what mum usually says when I'm giving her love nibbles on the "cheek" and sometimes her "ear" if I happen to miss her cheek LOL. I happily gave mom a few wet nibbles and turned my attention to the pesky flies!!

Rear up - dog standing straight up on hind legs

  1. Begin by getting your dog to put his feet up on your arms to support the weight
  2. Hold a treat with your other hand and place the hand above the dog's nose to get the do into the stretched out/reaching to the sky position, give the command "Rear up", click and reward once the dog is in the position
  3. Progress to holding the treat on top of the dog's nose and removing the support arm
  4. Treat and reward for any amount of time the dog is able to hold in the standing position trying to reach for the treat
  5. Once the dog is able to hold the "Rear up" position consistently, ask them to "Rear up" without giving any support
  6. Reward once the dog stands up tall supporting his own weight

Mum had two concerns regarding this exercise with me. One being, she didn't want my elbows slamming down onto the concrete floor everytime I come down; and second, she didn't think I could hold up all that weight my super deep/broad chest carries (I'm a more "masculine" built Airedale....). However, I decided that I wasn't gonna sit out without giving it a try first, so I hinted to mum that I wanted to try by jumping up on her .....hehe! Mum got my point, and supported my front legs like instructed while I reached for my treat. But then I guess I was too heavy (it's my chest I swear) for my mum's weak arms that I just kept getting lower and lower LOL. Then it was time for mom to pull her support arm away and see if I would remain in that standing position. Guess what? Much to mum's surprise, I actually stood up trying to reach my treat for a good 2-3 seconds!!!! Not only had I done better than expected, I gave enough time for mum to grab onto my harness on the way down and set me down gently. I am thrilled and proud that I made the decision to at least give it a try. Mum says we might work on this once in a blue moon, but we will put our focus on other tricks............


Circle left/Circle right - dog circles left or right on one spot

  1. Begin with the dog in a standing position, and pick one direction to work on initially
  2. Hold a treat closely in front of the dog's nose, begin very slowly luring the dog in the direction you want the dog to circle
  3. Once the dog has completed one rotation, click and reward with the treat
  4. Slowly, distant the lure from the dog's nose and ask "Circle left/Circle right"
  5. Begin leaving the lure out if the dog is performing consistently, click and treat once the dog has circled on rotation
  6. Slowly distance yourself from the dog and ask him/her to perform

I am proud to say that I caught on to this trick very fast after I understood what mum was asking. In the beginning, mum held the treat close to my nose and started circling to the right. So I followed the treat with my head to the point where I couldn't reach it anymore, and that's usually the point when you move your body to keep following the treat. Well, I thought to myself, that's silly, why would I want to waste my energy moving my whole body when I can just turn my head the other way to get the treat.

Then mum took out her weapon - "Turkey Parme Biscotti", something that I could not get my nose un-glued to. She used that as my lure, and sure enough, I decided it the TPB was worth moving my big butt for!! After a few lures with the TPB, I got the idea and our instructor, Georgina asked mum to only use the lure to get me to start the circling action, then pull the treat back really fast and see if I would finish the circling myself. Well, I, Miss Sunshade didn't disappoint anybody! Finished the circling all by myself with the lure used only at the beginning.

This is a video mum took that kind of shows you what she meant by only use the lure in the beginning, and then rewarding at the end of the circling. It was kind of hard for my uncoordinated mom to juggle the camera, the clicker, and the treat.

I thought I was done, but NOOOOOOOO ..... Georgina wanted to challenge me!!! She said since I have perfected my go to "MARK" command, she wanted to try and see if I will first "sit and stay", then go to "MARK", then do a "turn right" (mum uses turn instead of circle), then go back to my "MARK" after the turn. Here are two videos that show you what I'm talking about:

This is me performing "MARK", noticed how I stepped onto the MARK (phone book) and stayed on the MARK as soon as mum gave me the command. I stayed on the MARK until mum gave me my release word, "ok".

Once you have gotten your MARK command, you can incorporate other commands into the MARK command, like a little routine. Georgina took a video of me doing "MARK-turn right-MARK" in class, but it was on her camera. So mum decided to re-create it at home on our camera!! See how mum lured me into turning right, but didn't actually hold the treat in front of the nose the whole way??

Georgina was very impressed at how fast I caught on to this whole thing, but I told her, hello? This is Miss Sunshade you are talking about!! Mum, however, told me I had to be modest......she said this was a good start, but we still had to work on leaving the lure out using just hand signal, and of course, distance work. GEE....why does she always have to spoil my moment??

In 20/20 hindsight.....I think I will just pretend I don't understand anything in the future, because look at what I had to do for being shooomart... The other doggies from our class didn't have to do anything but watch, while I was doing my little "MARK-Turn Right-MARK" routine!!

Back up - dog walking backwards

  1. Begin by positioning the dog between a wall and an object (ie, a bench) so the dog can't move left or right, only front and back
  2. Take "one" step towards the dog as you ask "Back up"
  3. Click and treat as soon as the dog moves backwards
  4. Progress to taking "two" steps towards the dog and ask "Back up", click and treat if the dog moves back
  5. Then stand still and ask the dog to "Back up", click and reward behaviour
  6. Progress to you standing still while asking the dog to "Back up" until you stop signaling

Sooo......I was squished between the wall and a chair!! I backed up alright...but I did it in my own kind of special way ...hehe. I sat down as soon as mum took a step towards me because that is usually my signal to "sit" after mum calls me to "come" (**so mum says "come", I go up to her, she takes one step towards me, I "sit", then she breaks me from that sit). When mum took that step towards me, I thought that was what she wanted. Then mum just kept walking towards me and I had no choice but to move back - in the sitting position. Everybody had a good laugh about it, and I had fun doing it. So I guess this is what it's all about - HAVING FUN!!

Previous class entries:


Anonymous said...

hey sunshade, i'm pretty good on that "rear up". grandpa LURV when i stand with my hind legs and always reward me with treats. but just like your mom, my mom doesn't really like me doing that too much.

btw, you breath... really loudly!

Groovy Dogs Just Wanna Hv Fun said...

Nice tricks n moves, looks impressive. I cn b rather tricky as well ... Groovy, JRT.

Anonymous said...

hi sunshade! i love your posts about your acting classes. looking forward to seeing u graduate! :) anyway, love that rear up trick... but i wonder how owners are supposed to stop dogs from jumping instead of just standing up on their hind legs? :) i'm doing quite well with rearing up too, though it took me months to stand for more than 2 seconds because HM (my mistress) says my back legs are weak. i hope to learn how to mark too! :)


fee said...

miss sunshade!

i read your comment in someone's blog that said your mommy is taiwanese. does she speak mandarin? mine does but she hasn't taught me a single chinese word. we're going to try out some of the acting lessons you've posted in your blog this weekend. more treats for fee!

loves and hugs,

Tigersan said...

Wow, more moves than me knew even existed! And me though "O-Te" (shake) and "fu-se" (lay) were top level commands ;). Me will have to think about adding some moves to my skill-set ;)

jaffeboy said...

Super cool, Ms Sunshade. I think I'm gonna be doing some practising with MaMa this weekend.

Jay said...

Wow, Sunshade. You seem to be having fun. Can you teach me please??

Bogart H. Devil said...

Beauty and brains... WOW!


Fu Fu said...

Hey sunshade,
You're so clever learning all the commands. Have you have your own special way to do things. haa.. Sound like you're having fun. :)

~ fufu

T-man Angel said...

I am so impressed by your skills at the "Mark" acting technique. I have trouble acting because I just like to be myself all the time (like your struggles with the "kissing" technique). Keep practicing my friend, and I will see you someday on Broadway!! :)

Chelsea said...

I went to obedience class too. I graduated highest in my class but, between you and me I am sure the teacher was biased because clearly, I was the cutest dog there.

Keep at it! You are doing great and the big bag of treats you get at graduation is worth it!

ranger said...

hi miss sunshade. you are really good! do you mind if i link to you? i have family in sechelt and robert's creek. they love visiting vancouver!

anyways, mom and i go to acting classes too! we learned wind up and rewind! mom wants to work on backing up and we have never tried the mark! thanks for giving her that idea.....(sigh).