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April 4, 2007: Getting toys by name

August 24, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

This was the first time I captured video of Shayna retrieving her toys by name — a skill we’d been working on for months. It was shot just a few days before we headed off to the SPCA I adopted her from, for our Fifth Anniversary adoption party… for which I bring in cake and goodies to thank the staff there for being so very patient with me as I searched long and hard for my first dog.

Aside from teaching her the names of her toys, another hard part was teaching her to keep each toy in her mouth after she brings it back to me, sits, and waits for a treat reward. Initially, she would set each at my feet, apparently thinking, “Job done!!!” With some coaching, though, she finally got it — “Oh, he wants me to hold the toy… got it!!!” And did she ever!!!

Another bit of fun was getting her to “squeak” her squeaker toys upon sitting down. The request seemed clear enough to me, but then, I speak English and she doesn’t (yet). So again, this took a bit of time and patience, but once she got it, she got it… and you see the result… especially in the October 2007 video… she squeaks her toys to her heart’s content!!!

As you can see in future videos, the number of toys she “owns,” and knows the names of, has steadily increased, although sometimes she gets very excited and goes from toy to toy to toy, before zeroing in on the specific one I want her to retrieve.

Filed in: Retrieving toys by name, Shayna's Tricks | Tags: ,

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