Updated: Jun 22
Kathy did some excellent work in this video. The night before I introduced half of the pups to baked chicken from my fingers while the rest of the litter slept. On this day Kathy had all the pups and they learned quickly. She began clicking them for manding. This offered sit by the pups gives them a way to ask for our attention that we enjoy.
Two things are important here so I am going to take a little time to explain them.
When pups are born they know how to suck. Then as they get a little older they learn how to lap up food. The next step is to learn to chew, picking up food from a bowl or taken from fingertips. Very young puppies tend to take food gently. When they are reinforced for this behavior it becomes a default behavior. To the buyers of these pups, it means that these lovely babies will always be gentle with fingers when taking food treats from people. Never have the pups been told "Be gentle!", or any other cautionary words. There is never a need to tell a dog what not to do; just teach him what you want in the first place. Said differently, don't stop a behavior, create a behavior. Super easy stuff.
In the language of pups, they use their feet and mouths a lot to communicate with each other. People tend to be a tad less enthused about a pup communicating with them in this language so giving pups a different way to ask humans for attention is helpful to the canine/human relationship. This brings us to manding. It is one of the most important skills we teach pups. It is taught using a clicker method called "capturing".
Pups of this age are round and sit often naturally, so armed with a clicker and baked chicken we wait.....tush on the ground - click - chicken! After only a few repetitions pups learn that when they sit chicken shows up. How cool is that!? When pups learn this association they become "operant" in their environment. They are operators; their choices make things happen. To a puppy who has had no control over his life, learning that he actually can have some control over his world is empowering to the pup. It builds confidence in the pup in himself as well as begins to build his trust/training relationship with humans.
If you'll really roll this around in your head and think about it you'll see that this represents a major shift for pups in their relationship with people.
As the pups look for opportunities to make Kathy pay them for manding she also gets a lot of eye contact from them - click - chicken! We feel that if an animal is looking into our eyes we also have his brain, his attention. This makes it very easy to then ask for many other behaviors as our training relationship builds.
The other wonderful thing we did on this day is introduce the litter to two tiny goat girls we refer to as "The Littles". You've seen them on the other side of the fence from the pups. This is the first time the pups had livestock in with them. On this day my question "Who are you?" was answered.....
When the goats came in all the pups behaved as excited kids are inclined to do, and for a bit it continued that way. When Kathy began her clicker training she became more interesting than the goats - mostly. And then there is Juniper. Off in the distance, she has left Kathy in favor of settling in the grass near her Littles. Wow. OK then! I had been wondering about her LGD tendencies for a couple of days but was waiting for more repetitions of behavior before drawing conclusions. My waiting was over!
I will write more about this in a different post so watch for that. For now, here are some posts about manding and clicker training a litter. Enjoy!
Manding -What It Is: https://www.bensonmaremmas.com/post/manding-part-1
Manding - Why Teach It?: https://www.bensonmaremmas.com/post/manding-why-teach-it
Manding – How To Teach It To a Litter of Puppies:
Clicker Train A Litter – Yes!!!!: https://www.bensonmaremmas.com/post/clicker-train-a-litter-yes
Clicker Training a Litter – What The Pups Learn: https://www.bensonmaremmas.com/post/clicker-training-a-litter-what-the-pups-learn
First Clicker Session For This Litter – At 7 Weeks https://www.bensonmaremmas.com/post/follow-sara-s-litter-1st-clicker-session-7-wks
Manding – 7 Weeks Of Age https://www.bensonmaremmas.com/post/follow-sara-s-litter-2-manding-7-wks
Manding With Krysta – 7 ½ Weeks Of Age https://www.bensonmaremmas.com/post/follow-sara-s-litter-3-manding-with-krysta-7-1-2-wks