Clicker Obedience Training Question

Hello forum friends!

Dude and I went to week 1 of our intermediate obedience class this past weekend. Our homework for the week is to teach the 'wipe your paws' action on a towel laid on the ground. I am having a hard time 'luring' or 'inducing' this behavior. What the teacher wants us to capture is the 'digging' action on the towel and I can't seem to lure Dude into this action. I've tried placing treats into and under the towel looking for him to simply place his foot on the towel to click or any form of investigation but he just looks at me when I try to get him to get the treats in the towel or will wait until I uncover them to show him where they are. If I don't show him the treats he stands and stares at me and then offers other behaviors, (sit, stand, laydown, rollover)

I've tried to get this in 3 short sessions, about 10 minutes each.

Dude does dig while he is nesting in blankets, in his dogbed or on the couch throwing couch pillows all over the place (haha)

Does anyone have suggestions?

Our training background has been a 6 week puppy class starting at 9 weeks and a 6 week beginning obedience class immediately following those classes. We are taking the intermediate with the same teacher but Dude is now 2 and we haven't been in a formal obedience class since he was 6 months old. We also participate in conformation and go to handling classes a few times a month. All obedience classes have been clicker/positive reinforcement and handling class is positive reinforcement.

Thanks!

Did you try putting the towel on the couch? That would do it for my dogs…any blanket or towel on couch must be scratched into a nest shape...then you could click and treat...it will probably take a while for him to make the association, but that would seem the like quickest way to me...

If you want a very clicker savvy dog, i would not lure or at least do very, very little. I would not put threats on/under/near the towel. Given what I know about basenjis, I might try a slightly damp towel to induce the behavior you want. (I would certainly use that for the head-on-towel behavior. gg)

I would c/t for foot on towel. once that is in place very good and quickly, wait just a little and let him get frustrated then see if he'll stomp on the towel a little harder. then i'd think you can shape it into a dig.

it's a little hard to give a strict guideline for this sort of thing b/c it does vary a bit from individual to individual.

hope that helps a little
good luck

Does he know "touch"? Maybe you could teach him a version of that and have him target with his paws onto the towel? I've never tried it with a paw (only a nose or a full body for mat work). After he touches onto the towel, I think he would then naturally make a "wiping" type motion as he pulls his foot back off the towel.

Note: you could teach him to target on something else like a toy or a target stick if the towel is confusing to him at first.

I think Clay might be on the right track. If you teach the Dude to target the towel with his foot then delay the click treat he may start pawing at it in frustration, that is what mine have started doing when I withhold the click for a stronger response.

Thanks for all of the great suggestions.

Quercus: I will try opportunistic clicking/rewarding when he is nesting, hopefully it will help reinforce the desired behavior rather than confuse him.

Agilebasenji: Surprisingly enough my guys do not roll on damp towels, very unbasenji like of them. They do insist on grabbing towels, running off with them and promptly killing them by giving them a great shake before stealing the stoled goods from each other. They ignore them during our training sessions because I have taught them 'on your bed' where they will run and place themselves on the area I point at (dog bed, place on couch, towel or blanket laid out) Thanks for the advice.

Clay: Matter of fact we just began targeting on Saturday as well, with the nose touch. Dude does have a great high five so I think that paw touch won't be difficult.

Tonight I began directing him onto the towel and doing a low five and click/rewarding when he would give the five and his paw would land on the towel.

Lvoss: That's what i'll try next as soon as I can get him to exhibit a bit of the behavior. Thanks!

pacificNWbasenji - don't feel bad, I have never been able to get Gossy to paw anything on command.
The touch command was a snap however (in my obedience classes we used two different touch type commands "touch" was for the hand or target stick and "plate" or some other word was for touching a place on the ground – the latter for agility actions) .
If the intention is to get the dog to "go to place" the touch command should be sufficient to get it started.

@pacificNWbasenji:

Thanks for all of the great suggestions.

Quercus: I will try opportunistic clicking/rewarding when he is nesting, hopefully it will help reinforce the desired behavior rather than confuse him.

Agilebasenji: Surprisingly enough my guys do not roll on damp towels, very unbasenji like of them. They do insist on grabbing towels, running off with them and promptly killing them by giving them a great shake before stealing the stoled goods from each other. They ignore them during our training sessions because I have taught them 'on your bed' where they will run and place themselves on the area I point at (dog bed, place on couch, towel or blanket laid out) Thanks for the advice.

Clay: Matter of fact we just began targeting on Saturday as well, with the nose touch. Dude does have a great high five so I think that paw touch won't be difficult.

Tonight I began directing him onto the towel and doing a low five and click/rewarding when he would give the five and his paw would land on the towel.

Lvoss: That's what i'll try next as soon as I can get him to exhibit a bit of the behavior. Thanks!

Cool. Let us know how it works out.

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