2o2o Training Videos

Last night I couldn’t stand it any longer and even though Magnus isn’t cleared for moderate activity till tomorrow I let him do a short session of 2o2o training. It was a blast!

He really gets aggravated when he’s only allowed to do three minutes of training at a time. He has the same attitude about not walking very far. It’s frustrating to me too, but we’re both learning some good lessons from it.

He’s learning impulse control in a large way. I started using a cue for the end of training, releasing him with an “Okay all done!” and “Go play”. This has helped him know he’s done training since he knows we would normally do more in a training session, and these short sessions tend to hype him up and not satisfy his want to work.

I’m learning impulse control too since I have a tendency too work way to long. Training is just to much fun and I don’t want to stop! I know that’s not the best habit so forcing me to train shorter is good training for me.

Magnus started 2o2o (2 On 2 Off) a few weeks ago in Tricks Class. 2o2o training is the foundation for many other behaviors. In tricks it’s used for handstands. In agility it’s one method of teaching contacts. We’ll be using it for handstands as he gets his mobility and strength back.

Since this was our first night training I used a very low book. (Actually a phone book wrapped in duct tape.) The criteria is two rear feet on the book, he already gets that so this first video was a just a refresher session. Treat placement is supposed to be low so the dog learns to keep his head down.


This session I added the board. The board is the first step to getting elevation out of a handstand. You can prop it on books, a wall, the couch, anything that you can make progressively taller so the board gets more and more vertical. Obviously since Magnus is coming off an injury I made this very low.


Last night was Maizey’s first session ever of 2o2o. She tends to think anything I set in front of her is to sit on so I can take her picture. It totally cracks me up. In session 3 I added the board, but it was too soon and in this clip you see I have to lower my criteria and explain again with a lure.


By session 5 she had the idea and started offering me 2o2o on her own.

At the end of session 6 she shows she really gets it when she stretches forward to get a treat without taking her feet off the board. This is the next step of proofing the behavior where you tempt the dog to take her feet off the board and C/T when she doesn’t.

This is the first time I’ve trained 2o2o so I hope I’m doing it right. I’m looking forward to spicing it up with the actual handstand when it’s safe for Magnus.

What do you use a 2o2o for?


Tricky Magnus Learns To Roll the Ball

Magnus has had two weeks of tricks class. We are really enjoying it.

“Whether he’s young or old, athletic or lazy, quick-witted or dumb as a rock—he’s YOUR dog, and his success need only be measured in YOUR eyes.”-Kyra Sundance

Week one was a lot of basics for Magnus and I, but what I’m really loving is how much our relationship has grown since our last class. His focus is better. His attention span is better. He is working more for the fun of working not just to get paid. And the biggest surprise of all, I actually seem to have some value to him!

Week two we started working on some more complex tricks. In these clips you see us working on him learning to roll the ball with his front feet.

This one is his second session:

This one is his third session:

So what do I learn from these clips?

I have a long way to go in my handling skills. I think he’s doing great, but videos of my training always show me all my mistakes. Which is good since that way I can hopefully learn better habits, but it sure is humbling!

I see is a lot room for improvement in the mechanics of my training. I think I know quite a bit of training theory. It fascinates me and I spend tons of time reading and trying to learn about it, but when it comes to actually practicing the mechanics of the theory I lack experience.

Sometimes I think the simplest mechanics of training don’t always get covered in classes. Maybe it’s because people want to cover the more complex things that have more bang for your buck. I mean do you want to know how to hold your clicker or learn a new trick?

Something that simple may seem obvious, but when our instructor showed me to loop my clicker around my hand, not my wrist, my reinforcement rate went up. I was more comfortable and had more control of my equipment. A very simple change, but one that made a big difference in the mechanics of my training.

Another example: In the video I can see the way I’m holding my treat hand is awkward. It didn’t feel awkward, but I can see I can improve my reinforcement rate if I adjust how I’m delivering treats.

I could go on and on with what needs to improve, things like not working past when he’s “in the game”. How and when I set the ball down to improve his success. Where I place my legs, since it looks like I’m bracing the ball on my foot when I’m not.

Like I said, I could go on and on, but my favorite thing I see is best summed up by Kyra Sundance when she said, “Whether he’s young or old, athletic or lazy, quick-witted or dumb as a rock—he’s YOUR dog, and his success need only be measured in YOUR eyes.”

In my eyes, that’s one smart, cute, fun, successful puppy!


Tricky Maizey: Load Up the Suitcase

I am finally getting around to posting some Training Levels business after my recent jaunt into puppy socialization land.

For the Steps To Success, L2 Trick I thought I would post a trick maizey learned a while ago. We are huge copy cats, since we first saw Ricky and then Dare do this. But it is just too cute to resist.

This was trained with a combination of luring and shaping. It took two lures to get her in to suitcase. Then we shaped the details using the clicker.

The only thing I can’t get perfect is her tail and her ears. I suppose they are both so long that when the hair hangs out she probable doesn’t even know!

Since we shot this video she now gets released and hops out to get her reward, but I am just too lazy to refilm it all. Plus these were shot before we lost Meeka and it just makes me happy to be able to see my Big Girl looking so happy.

Everyone look out, she may just load up and show up on your doorstep!


Little Green Buckets Are So Exciting

This weekend it was vividly demonstrated to me how different things are really exciting to different people. I was glad to attend the wedding we were a part of on Saturday, but not “Sooooo excited I could hardly stand it!” as one of the other guests expressed herself.

However on Friday night when I had to drop into the store I was, ”Sooooo excited I could hardly stand it!” What would illicit such a response from me-a confirmed non-shopper?

Maizey will show you:

“See my new food bucket?!? Now I can learn to be a big girl like Meeka and carry my own bucket!”
Hmmm. . . this bucket carrying thing is harder than it looks!”
“Awwe forget it i’ll just eat out of the bucket!”
I’m absolutely positive the excited wedding girl thought I was from an alternate universe when I was jumping up and down and clapping when I found this treasure of a little green bucket, but you should have seen Maizey when I gave it to her, she jumped up and down too! Okay admittedly it was probably more because I was jumping up and down than because she truly cares about little green buckets but my girls and I have a deal, if their happy I’m happy. If I’m happy their happy. It’s a good deal. 
Meeka illustrates:
“This is the most awesome bucket ever! Every time I find it my crazymomlady feeds me!”
“Plus when I hold the handle she jumps around, clap sand cheers. She looks like a total dork so I laugh at her and run around and be wild. It’s the best game ever!”
“I mean its no pink bear, but common this is pretty fun!”
Today’s 4 legged lesson: take joy wherever you find it, even if its a wedding for some crazy people or in a little green bucket for the rest of us sane ones!LOL

Small Victories Are Still Victories

Perhaps I’ve mentioned before how Meeka gets her little metal bucket and carries it to the dog food to get her breakfast and dinner. This is an enormously cute trick that I have been trying to get on video fairly unsuccessfully. Also completely unsuccessfully I have been trying to teach Maizey to do the same thing. Tonight we had a breakthrough.

Ahh you should have seen me. . . such a proud momma when I told them “Are you Hungry? Go get the bucket!” Lo and behold! Who gets it? Maizey! And by the handle too! So as I squealed “good girl! Maymay got the bucket! commere! Bring it! Bring the bucket!” in rapturous tones and Meeka ran around trampling everything in sight and Maizey pranced around carrying the bucket and. . . ran in the opposite direction and dropped it. Looking back at me with the look like, “Aren’t I amazing?!?”

Insert my sighs here.

But it was progress so we set it up again. Cue: “get your bucket” and again Maizey gets the bucket and again. . . runs in the opposite direction and drops it with the look like, “I am the most awesome talented princessface in the world! Now where’s my dinner crazyfoodlady?”

At least she’s learning and every time one of them learns something new it reminds me of a 4 legged lesson: I get more excited than they do to see them so proud of whatever new thing they learn and in the way of dogs they get just as excited as I am for no other reason than that i am happy.

Chalk that one up on the list of what motivates me to train.


Lumpers V. Splitters

In clicker training, particularly in shaping there is a concept called “lumping” and “splitting”. I think most humans by habit are lumpers. I know I am.

Lumping is a term in clicker training that refers too asking for a complete finished behavior before your dog knows how to do that behavior.

So it goes like this: we want to teach a dog to lay down. We tell the dog, very earnestly and lovingly, “Down!” Pup looks at us and is thinking, “I know you want me to do something Mom, but what is it?” While they are thinking they stand there patiently waiting for more information, for a better explanation. Which to us looks “stubborn” when really we just haven’t given enough explanation.

Meanwhile as they stand there thinking, we as humans stand there thinking impatiently, “Why won’t this dog lay down? I have told her 25 times and she won’t lay down!” Come on admit it, we’ve all been there.lol

Enter the beauty of splitting. Splitting is exactly what it sounds like. You picture the finished behavior and split it into many smaller behaviors. And with the right timing of the clicker you are able to reward any behavior in the right direction to the finished behavior you want. This is a wonderfully fun way to teach something because, really, who doesn’t like to get paid for being successful? We all do, and so do our dogs.

As an example in L2 Tricks it states: Dog performs a trick of the partners choice. It may be very simple. L3 Tricks is much the same, but it has to be a shaped trick. So I chose to start shaping Maizey to ring a bell that sits on the floor.

Now think of this in lumping. I imagine it would go something like this, “Maizey here’s a bell ring it!” At which point she looks at me as if I’m nuts and offers me 5 things she already knows all of which have nothing to do with ringing the bell.

But picture this w/ splitting, there are plethora of behaviors she can offer me that are in the right direction of actually ringing the bell. She looks at this strange shiny thing, click/treat!(c/t) she walks closer to it one step c/t! Two steps c/t! Sniffs it c/t! nudges it w/ her nose (can you hear me cheering?) c/t! and so on until she accidentally hits the little button and “DING!” c/t! and a huge cheer from me! She is excited and I am excited, I mean just look at all the things she did right! Do I care that the actual ringing of the bell was an accident? NOT AT ALL! It gave me the chance to reinforce the final behavior I want and then in the next session I can just go back to splitting. Gradually you can ask for more behaviors in the right direction before you c/t. But in the beginning if is important to have a high rate of reinforcement to encourage the dog to keep offering behaviors.

Here are two video’s that show her third session.

You can notice in this clip we end on a successful “ding” of the bell.

Obviously I’m not a pro at this (yet;)) but hopefully this shows the basic concept. And please forgive the goofy ‘dog talk’ and probably just get used to it. The more enthusiastic I sound the more enthusiastic she is.