Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hand-touch and Chiro

Ike & Carmen saw Dr. Anne last night. Ike's pelvis held and Carmie is doing great - she only has one more appointment before she is on maintenance. I had Anne test to make sure Ike will tolerate the milk thistle and double-check that he isn't having any problems with the Bug-off Garlic or Longevity. Nope. That's great news!

We also saw our friend Marlene at Dr. Anne's! She had both her Goldens there for adjustments. I was early so we were able to visit a bit, which was a very nice surprise. : )

This morning I realized how much I am enjoying using hand touches to interrupt Ike's scanning. Ike thinks it is a great game, like he does everything else that involves brain work, cookies, and praise. He can be 5 feet ahead of me and if he looks back at me to alert me that there are people walking on the OTHER SIDE OF THE SIDEWALK, MUM! I say "Nosey" (because he is!) and he totally reorients to hand touch. I love it!

I think this is a wonderful progression for us. For people with a sight sensitive dog I would highly recommend trying to incorporate hand-touches into your "tool box". I don't think you should skip the eye contact because a dog could just bang his/her nose into your hand and go right on reacting to the stimuli. I also think eye contact is an integral part of relationship building.

In the beginning with a dog that is over-stimulated, eye contact for a second might be ALL they can offer when they see creepy people, kids, bikes, dogs, whatever sets them off/overwhelms them. Ike is at a point where eye contact is old hat - he offers it all the time. It ups the ante significantly for him to have to offer a new behavior (other than setting up or fronts).

I have also noticed that he maintains eye contact after the hand touch while he is waiting for his cookie - I swear he isn't waiting long!! : ) Knock on wood, I think the hand touch has been very successful.


Diana said...

Did you use the clicker to teach the hand touch? Diana

JULES & IKE said...

Yes, I used the clicker to teach the hand touch. With Ike it took FOREVER (literally years) but with normal dogs you can teach it super-quickly.

I recommend holding your hand an inch or so to the side of their muzzle. When they turn to sniff, click/treat. Continue to click/treat as they sniff your hand. Then change the rules so they need to actually touch your hand to earn the click/treat. It depends on your dog how quickly you can move. With Ike I needed to c/t for glancing at my hand, then c/t for getting nearer to my hand, the c/t for sniffing, and finally I have a rather soft touch! I am working on changing that to a harder poke!

I reward by placing the treat on the hand the dog touched. Be sure not to lure it or move your hand into the dogs nose (poor Ike, I think I have done all those and worse years ago). And change hands and location you are holding your hand as your dog “gets it.”

Here’s a good link on hand targeting/touch from the AgiltyNerd blog.

JULES & IKE said...

Let's try this as an active link, fingers crossed:

learning Hand Target

ann & partner said...

Gee, Julie, I had no idea how hard it was for you to teach the hand touch to Ike. What a great mum you are!! That was the easy one for Partner. The touch butter cover is now to easy for him. How can I make it harder? More covers? If so, what would I do with them, to make him think??

Blue said...

Where are you going for chiro? I'm thinking about taking Iris, just in case anything is out of alignment before I have her do too much agility.

JULES & IKE said...

Ann, You can put multiple objects down and let Partner figure out which one he needs to touch. Ike thinks that is a very fun game. I will put down a lid, a toy and something else - then change what I want him to touch. Think of it like the con with the walnut shells covering a item. Which one is it hiding under - except you aren't hiding anything!

Blue: Ike sees Dr. Anne Crawshaw at the Road to Health in Framingham. I really like her. Katrin recommended her last May because Ike was so pokey and it made a huge difference. I could literally see the change in the set of his tail. Of course, he doesn't have fur covering it! I can e-mail her phone # or give it to you next week if you want.