the sheltiechick blog

Halloween Costumes

I was trying to decide what Pepper should be when I browsed PetSmart’s website and saw this. Then I went there and they had one in her size and it was 75% off.

She’s supposed to be Wonder Woman anyway. Since all my dogs get superhero alter egos. But I could totally fashion a better Lasso of Truth for her…

Look, I don’t know what Auggie is, okay? I just saw those pirate socks and they were cute, and also that shark fin was like two bucks. He’s a pirate eating shark. Or maybe he’s a pirate ship in disguise.

Look it really doesn’t matter because he’s Auggie and he’s awesome and adorable so who cares.

I have cuffs that I intended to put on him too… somewhere. I have no idea where they are. =< So he just gets to wear his tie.
The idea is that it goes with his registered name and all. Y’know. Sharp Dressed Man? Silk suit… black tie… don’t need a reason why…

Yes, Payton. We all know. Thank you.

Georgie has a sock monkey hoodie, by the way. We bought it at Old Navy. It’s adorable. No pics because she’s annoying (I’ll get some later.)

More Clicker Training with Pepper

Second target training session with Pepper! Once again, watch the video, then look below for more on what I did (and why) in this session!

I started this session with the same criteria as we ended last session: I wanted a nose push. She offered to dig at it with her paw pretty quickly, so I started rewarding for any kind of paw touch. I also flipped the frisbee back over at this point since I was no longer trying to catch my cookies in the middle of it. I pretty quickly got her to dig at the frisbee reliably. At this point I started holding out for a sustained touch rather than just digging. This is the first point where she starts to check out a little bit because she’s not sure what I’m wanting… I went a little too quickly for her. So I went back to rewarding for persistent pawing, and started rewarding low to the ground and in front of the frisbee, hoping that would result in her accidentally stepping onto the frisbee and getting the paw touch I was really looking for. It didn’t totally work, but I was also almost out of cookies in my hand so we just ended there with some pawing at the frisbee so we could end on a good note with success!

Punkin Pictures

I bought pumpkins yesterday morning. They were on mega sale so I was like “I will take all your pumpkins plz.” Actually I only bought five, but I wanted more…

Uhhhh unfortunately most of our family photos looked like this.

This was the best I got, haha. Pepper needs remedial stays again.

Just the boys <3
Auggie saw all the pumpkins and the leaf pile and was like “Oh. *strike a pose*” He just knows… he knows. What a good boy.

I told Payton his turn was next and he decided this is what he wanted to do. Also pivots using the pumpkin as his perch. I’m not sure if I should facepalm or be proud.

Since Payton started it I asked Georgie to do the same thing. SHE IS SO CUTE AHHH

Not in focus =< but it's sooooo cute.
The over-achiever, LOL. Oh Auggie.

Aaaaaand the under-achiever, haha. Poor Pep.

Clicker Training Pepper

Miss Pepper has never really been trained with the clicker before, at least not that I remember. I have started shaping behaviours a lot more often since getting Payton, so I don’t think I really did a lot with her previously. So now that she’s here, it’s time for the clicker training. Previous to this video, I did one quick session where I asked her for sits and downs and C&T for each. With Payton I really didn’t do any “charging” of the clicker and it has obviously not been a problem for him, but Pepper has four years of learning WITHOUT the clicker so I thought I would put a small deposit into her clicker training bank account before starting. But that is all I did.

I tried to figure out which behaviour I thought would be best to start with and decided one of the easiest things to do – and the easiest to “show” for video purposes – was to teach her how to target an object. Both of my boys are very good at this and even Georgie is pretty quick to try targetting stuff if she thinks it will get her a cookie… so easy enough, right? Right.

Watch the video, then read below for how I approached this training session!

At first I wasn’t sure what she would do when I put the frisbee (my favourite starting target) down on the floor. Would she go sniff it, mouth it, maybe even paw at it right off the bat? So I put the frisbee down and just watched to see what she would do before I decided what to click. Well, I should have predicted she wouldn’t do ANYTHING, but as usual I forgot that she is completely unlike my other dogs. So after a few seconds I knew my first move was to just click for looking at the frisbee. I quickly realized I also needed to use my treat placement to help out and started throwing the cookies towards the frisbee. I flipped it upside down, which is usually how I use it when it’s a food target, because the cookies would then get trapped in the frisbee. This let me reward for sniffing the frisbee, then I started waiting for an actual nose touch rather than just a sniff.
I started waiting for forward paw movement, but before she really started doing that, she actually pushed the frisbee with her nose. This was exciting to me, so I clicked it and decided to reward that for a while. We ended the session there!

Something has moved in…


Payton thinks Pepper must be a gift JUST FOR HIM.
Pepper thinks Payton is the most obnoxious dog in the world. (And she’s probably right.)

Payton is trying to get her to play and crying because she won’t play, she’s trying to decide how much snark is necessary to tell him to piss off, and also she is alternating between jumping in my lap when I least expect it and showering me with kisses, and standing two feet away clacking happily away at me and staring at me like “Is this a dream? It feels like a dream.”

No, Pep, it’s not a dream. You’re home and you’re never going away again.

Leaf Pictures

I may have a good reason to re-do the family photos this weekend…

Boys! LOL at Payton with a leaf stuck to him.

All three puppers.

Excuse me while my big dog is devastatingly handsome.

Auggie is the bestest boy.

Seriously, it’s kinda ridiculous how good looking he is. Not even a show dog, Augs.

Oh? But I so pretty.

Yeah, he definitely knows he’s a handsome boy.

And then there’s this thing.



I guess he’s kinda cute. Maybe I’ll keep him.

Oh fffffffff seriously? Fine you can stay.

Yeah okay, he’s sorta handsome too sometimes.

But only sometimes.

the rest of the time… uh…

That’s okay. I pretty much like him anyway.


She’s actually very good at posing all by herself, but when you try and get them all together, she can’t hold still.

Yeah she’s pretty cute too.

The end… for now…

Payton learning “shake”

Yeah, yeah, so my puppy is almost a year and a half old and I never bothered to teach him “shake.” I realized this is an issue when I told Payton he might need to start performing tricks on the side of the road to make us money, and then remembered HE DOESN’T REALLY KNOW ANY TRICKS. Are people really going to be impressed by a dog who can sit, stay, and do weave poles? I didn’t think so.
Well, if he’s going to do tricks to bring home the bacon, I guess I’d better train him up. I mean, he should at LEAST be able to shake.

Right off the bat I kept missing opportunities to reward him. DERP. I also realized I shouldn’t have been rewarding with the same hand I wanted him to “shake” – I was using that hand because the clicker was in my other hand, but rewarding with my right hand meant every time I wanted to reward him I had to take my hand (the target) AWAY. Not what I wanted to do! So I switched reward hands.
Obviously the trick isn’t 100% done by the end of this video, but I’ve got the behaviour I’m looking for! Next is to continue to reinforce it in different locations, and then to put it on cue and name it.

Next: “roll over.” Which is always hilarious to see Auggie do because he kind of THROWS himself over. We’ll see if Payton will be any better at it!

Wordless Wednesday 10/10/12