Friday, April 8, 2011

Nubble Keeps Practicing His Cues

SSD Nubble and his puppy raisers are working hard on his cues. Last month, he went spent the afternoon at Berks Career and Technology Center with Lindsey. He handled the busy hallways well and practiced "under" in her geometry class. Then, the principal let Lindsey and a classmate spend time in the cafeteria with the doors closed so that Nubble could stretch his legs! Lindsey used that time to practice "stay" and "come." It was a great afternoon. Thank you to BCTC and the principal for welcoming Nubble into the school!

Nubble picks up some cues very quickly. Others are more challenging for him. "Leave it" and "paw" are his latest challenges. When Donna starts working on "leave it" with him in a training session, he understands what he's supposed to do, and he doesn't touch the object. The challenge comes into play when he has to apply "leave it" to real life.

The cue "paw" signals to the dog that he should pick up his paw and place it in his handler's hand. When Donna gives Nubble the cue, he picks up his paw and moves it at or near her hand, but he won't actually set it in her hand. In a relaxed situation, such as when he's laying on the couch, he will let her touch and pet his paws, so he's not opposed to having someone touch his paws. Donna has been working hard to help him learn the cue "paw." At puppy class, she used a target stick and had him target the stick with his paw. She started with the target stick on the floor, making it very easy for him to succeed. Watch the video of Nubble practicing "paw" in puppy class. See the progress he makes by the end of the training session!

Other cues come very easily to Nubble. He learned "go to bed" very quickly! He has also been working on "under." He knows the cue, but he doesn't always do it perfectly. When given the cue "under," a dog should go under the table, bench, chair, etc. and lay down. Sometimes Nubble just sticks his head under the bench or chair. Other times he'll go under, circle around, lay down, and then scoot back out. Donna is always looking for opportunities to practice "under." When the Northeast Puppy Raising Program went bowling for one of their outings, Donna and Nubble practiced "under" with a stool. Nubble managed to get his torso under the stool, but his back end and shoulders were sticking out! He did eventually figure out what he was supposed to do, although he never actually fit under the stool.

The bowling outing was a lot of fun. Nubble couldn't figure out why he couldn't chase the bowling balls down the lanes, though, and he barked. Our volunteer trainer has Donna work with Nubble, removing him from the situation, and then coming forward again to the point just before he started barking. Then Donna and Nubble slowly worked their way forward. Although Nubble wasn't able to get very close to the bowling lanes this time, it was still progress.

Nubble loves to swim! He went to the Canine Spa in Dillsburg. He's funny about the water, though. He doesn't like to get in the water right away. Once he gets wet, though, he has a great time swimming!

Next week, our dogs in training in the Harrisburg area have their evaluations. These evaluations are less of a test and more of a one-on-one training session with one of our trainers. Now that Nubble is coming to our Harrisburg puppy classes, he will get an evaluation, too. Wish him luck!


  1. So cute! What is she using to treat him? Cheese whiz for dogs? I want to find that!!

  2. Yes, she's using cheese whiz! A lot of our puppy raisers use it as power treats for the dogs, and the dogs love it!

    It's the same cheese whiz you buy in the grocery store. We just give the dogs a tiny little taste each time we click.