oh my auggie

Anybody else have this… um… “problem?”

I’m working on “look at that” with Payton. About a week ago we had our first major success. I was using a hand chopper to chop some nuts for trail mix and I figured he was going to hate the chopper, so I got my treats ready and treated him for being calm while I touched/moved/used the chopper. It took about ten minutes, and only that long because I stupidly decided to make SURE he really was going to hate the chopper first and he went over threshold. (Sometimes he surprises me with what he does and doesn’t decide to bark at, so… I should have just gone with my gut instead of making sure it was a Bad but. Lesson learned.)

I felt so proud of him. I wasn’t crazy chopping going to town, but I chopped three cups of nuts and he didn’t really care by the end. And not once did I whack him or yell at him or intimidate him or even flood him.

So I got out my big pile of Weird Stuff tonight to work on it some more in a controlled setting and without setting him over threshold. The first thing I got out was three tiny pinwheels.
I accidentally taught my dog to spin a pinwheel with his nose.
Then I got out a plunger.
I accidentally taught my dog to put his front feet on a plunger.
Then I got out this big fake plastic lollipop.
My dog decided to jump on top of a moving box.

He thinks there’s more to the game than just looking. He wants to interact with stuff when I put it in the framework of “here’s a clicker and some treats, and there’s a weird thing.” I think this is good but at the same time not. Good that he sees something weird and instead of “THAT IS WEIRD I NEED TO BARK AT IT,” he thinks “This is a game! What can I do to get cookies? LOOK WHAT I CAN DO”
But I won’t always have a clicker and treats with me to re-frame the “game” into a game of LOOK WHAT I CAN DO. And he won’t always be able to interact with the weird stuff beyond just LOOKING at it and then looking back at me, which is part of the point of just teaching a Look At That.

This is a strange problem to have. Definitely not the worst problem in the world to have, but I’m not 100% sure how to go about fixing this. =P
By the way, Auggie is wearing an e-collar to stop him chewing on his foot, and Payton grabbed the edge of the e-collar and was dragging Auggie around by the e-collar. Just thought you should all know that. oh Payton.

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