We started crate games and worked through stages 1-3 so that he will now choose to go straight back into his crate when released. I noticed that he really struggled with going back into the crate to start with but by the end he was happily popping straight back in. Need to do some more work on this at dinner time so that we have this learning stronger.
Just a note – Erik has a condition where he cannot digest protein so he has to have special food which makes this all the more difficult as we cannot use really high value food as it would have a detrimental effect on his digestive tract! To combat this we are training at meal times so that the food is at its most valuable.
Dinner time training went well, strengthened the choice to go back in the crate and then moved on to the collar grab game where the dog runs back into the crate after being released and his collar held. Had a well-timed accident with the pot of food when I accidentally knocked it over as I was trying to reward a choice to go back into the crate, Jackpot ☺
[I have been asked to explain a bit more about what the crate games are that I have been playing. Stage 1 is adding value to being in a crate, Stage 2 is teaching the dog to stay in the crate even thought the door is open and there are a few distractions, Stage 3 is teaching the dog that after you are released if you are not given a job to do choose to go back into the crate.]
Breakfast training. Erik immediately returned to the crate after release this morning, no hesitation as there had been on the first two training sessions so we again moved to the collar grab game and he was returning to the crate with enthusiasm and speed. He had a couple of mistakes where he anticipated the release but settled nicely after that. Dinner Training. Erik did some nice collar grab game, driving to the crate well so I started to name it ‘go to bed’. After a few reps he started to whine so I shut the crate door and went and read for 5 mins. Went back to the training and did one quiet go and then stopped. So the good news is that I can recreate the anticipation noise out of the context of hunting and retrieving and have a way of working through this excited expectation noise. We will see how it goes. Trained with the whole meal after going for a walk so I think he was very hungry, possible contribution to the squeaking?
Breakfast Training. No squeaking this morning. A couple of anticipations regarding coming out when I changed location. One hesitation going back in when I moved out of the back door and sent him in from there, just waited and he worked it out. Second time straight in from the same location. Other than that just carried on naming the behaviour. Only trained the last 25g of breakfast. Dinner time. Trained all his dinner. No squeaking. Worked through the change your mind game and he made a mistake when I first picked up the toy but not after that. He even sent to the crate first time when I was holding the toy. Good training session good progress.