I haven’t posted in quite a while, since my summers are often crazy busy. I don’t have a lot of internet time. But I’ve been spending the summer travelling a lot with Corrie, my BC/GSD/mutt. He’s almost 2 years old now, and is finally becoming a pleasant companion at times, instead of just a fascinating challenge. He walks on a loose lead now almost all the time, and we’ve started very light jogging together, and we finally know each other well enough that he rarely has occasion to react to other dogs or kids. In fact, a couple days ago at the beach, he specifically sought out a strange kid and convinced the kid to throw a stick for him until they were both worn out. (We’ve worked on his kid reactivity primarily by teaching him that kids are usually willing to throw sticks…fetch is the best reward in the whole universe.) I still don’t trust him around all kids or in all situations, but it’s light-years away from where we were a year ago. Yay Corrie!!
So the next thing that I’d like to teach him is more specific directions for finding an item that I can see but he can’t. For instance, sometimes I throw a ball for him and he thinks I’m going to throw it the other way and takes off running across the field the wrong way. He knows "Find It" and he’ll happily look and look, but I want to be able to give him feedback about *where* he should look. I’m not even sure what commands I want to use. Left and Right? Warmer and Colder? Hand signals? He seems to very roughly understand pointing, but not well enough to understand if I’m pointing near or far away.
Has anyone else done this? What commands do you use and how did you break down teaching it? We use clicker training a lot, so I’m especially interested in shaping/capturing methods. Anyone got links to good video or written instructions on how to do it?