July 18, 2007

Pre-emptive cues

When I have finished sweeping, I tap the broom on the floor a couple of times. I've probably done this for thirty years, but I didn't know I did it until Dusty told me.

Duz wants to chase the broom. So I place her in a down stay, sweep a section and then tell her "Get it." She casts around and grabs the broom for a tug. This worked well for a while, then she began to consistently race for the broom, before my "Get it." She was predicting that the broom taps would be immediately followed by "Get it" so that became her cue.

This has sent be back to start line 'routines'. If I'm to have a set routine then I need to proof it so that she waits for the final cue - not one of the actions that precede it and therefore predict it. If I'm not going to go this route, then I need to vary what I do at the start line so that she is not picking her own cue from the chain.

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