June 16, 2005

Dusty, Dusty, Dusty

Today we've been playing come. Getting Dusty used to her name and making it fun to come when called. I've roped in neighbours and passing strangers to call her - three times in a bright, cheery tone "Dusty, Dusty, Dusty" crouching down to her level - then I call her back to me. Patricia McConnell studied professionals communicating with animals and found that invariably a come signal was a short repeated sound, while a stop was one drawn out sound.

Following Dani Weinberg's advice I'm working to establish several primary reinforcers so that our training isn't too dependent on food. A happy "good girl" or a "yes" and a rough and tumble are sufficient reward for coming at the moment.

She enjoys her toys, particularly interactive tug and toss games, so we're keeping those up. Our local petstore had 25% off all Petstages toys so I bought her a couple of those - the Orka tube and the Cool Puppy teether. While both are designed for chewing, they have tails and streamers for chasing and tugging.

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