Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gimme Kisses!

Animals can be worked with at a pretty young age, and contrary to the old saying, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! I have begun house-breaking as soon as my new pup or dog comes home with me. The same with leash training. Critters are smarter than a person might give them credit, but they don't just know - they have to be shown by a benevolent leader.

If you are a fan of stupid animal tricks like I am, here's an easy one you can teach your pet. The title of today's post is what it's all about. It would have been a good one for the month of February, as it is sort of 'valentine-themed', but it is a quick and easy-to-learn, easy-to-teach! For the sake of continuity, I will give instructions for teaching your dog, but this trick can be adapted and taught to any animal, including a horse, goat, bird, rabbit, or chicken. If there's a will, there's a way!

For this trick you will need: a leash, a tablespoon loaded with peanut butter, & a very few tiny bites of cheese.

#1. Sit your dog near you. If it's a corgi or another short breed, you will have to crouch on the floor near them, or give your dog a 'boost' up onto the couch or closer to your face level to make it easier on your spine.

#2. With a very slight sample of peanut butter on your index finger, wave it past your dog's nose a few times like a magic fairy wand, so she picks up the scent. Reward with a tiny bite of cheese.

#3. Next, smear the slight sample of peanut butter wherever you wish the 'kiss' to be planted! Some people don't mind their dog to kiss on their lips, but I prefer my cheek; some might rather be 'kissed' on the wrist. Your choice here!

#4. Again, wave your index finger with the peanut butter scent past your dog's nose again, reward with the cheese bit.

#5. This time, after you wave your magic wand past her nose, say the command phrase "Giveme Kisses!", and offer your peanut butter cheek immediately, so she picks up that scent. Allow her to lick the peanut butter from your cheek for a couple of licks, then offer the tiny cheese reward. (The slightest interested lick receives the cheese, until she licks a few times consecutively.) Repeat this step a few times more, each time delivering the cheese after the desired number of licks. You don't have to 'count', but if you are like me, you will only want the kisses to continue a brief amount of time!

#6. Next comes phase one of the treat elimination. Wave your peanut butter wand past her nose, offering your peanut butter smeared cheek for the desired number of licks. When she kisses, say 'Good Girl!' in a happy tone, give belly rubs or a non-edible as a reward - something she really enjoys - instead of the cheese! Don't let her get too excited, that is why you might need a leash, to contain her or bring her back if she gets too happy and wants to run around the room!

#7. Continue to practice the previous step until you are pretty certain she understands the command means for her to kiss the peanut butter smear off you, then she gets the "Good Girl!" as her reward. When you think she is ready, begin phase two and eliminate the finger wave, using just the peanut butter on your cheek, and your chosen verbal reward or tummy rub, or whatever you chose as your non-edible.

#8. Finally, Give the verbal command "Giveme Kisses!", offer your cheek sans peanut butter, and deliver your non-edible reward.

This trick may take a few moments, a few sessions during the day, or a few sessions over a period of days. It depends on the age of your pet, how much time you can devote to a session, and how peppy or laid-back your dog's personality is. The keys are kindness, encouragement, repetition, and rewards. Things to remember when working with dogs: the nose will generally call them to attention first, and the next attraction will be a movement they will see with their eyes. The last thing will be the ears. That's why dogs seem to pick up visual cues before a verbal cue. Words and sounds generally mean little to them, unless it is proceeded by a scent or a sighting. When they put 2+2 together, it then creates the correct response for YOU, and then the big pay-off for your DOG!


Another Great Giveaway- this time at CYNTHIA'S!
Read all about it - click on picture!


Infrared Goggles said...

Wow, that's very clever! Great tip, the smell cue, which I know about but have a hard time applying in training. The peanut butter is perfect--cannot wait to try it!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Now, I can see wanting a pretty little corgi to give ye a two old 100-pounders, kissies!!! Back, girls! LOL...go kiss the cats...(they do)

Funny, I rescued a little cat (Hadji) and he gives a LOT of kisses, it's so sweet...right on the lips...think I will try to teach the other kitties to "kiss" too, maybe with tuna or butter instead of the peanut butter.

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Tuna kisses, oh that crazy Texan, right? This is a good post...everyone will want to read, and try out this technique.
Nothin' better that a corgi kissie.

Kelly said...

Cute and good directions! I trained Gibson to give me kisses when he was little.. We would actually just sit and give pecks on the lips for a few minutes straight, it was so funny. Now he thinks it's not as cool (typical adolescent!) and will just give me one sloppy kiss when I ask him too.