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Happy Valentines Snoot or Boop

💕Happy Valentines Day from Jo and Wicket💕



Here you see Wicket ‘doing the Snoot or Boop’. This is a fun little trick which has the added bonus of looking super cute.

If you’re looking for something fun to train then see the video below and also my troubleshooting information in case things don’t go to plan – every dog and their human is different.

You might think training little tricks like this is pointless but I love this kind of training. Training tricks builds a dogs’ confidence and skills, along with your own skills and timing. This kind of behaviour can be transferred to other things later or is simply a way to build on your relationship – which is always a good thing. Don’t forget how much fun it is for you and your dog too.

I’ve used shaping to train this in the video. Shaping is the marking and reinforcing of small steps towards the final, desired, behaviour. I like the way that using shaping makes the journey just as much fun as the final destination. You can take several sessions to get to where you want to go.

Note that in the video, Wicket very quickly offers the behaviour I am looking for. He is an experienced clicker trained dog and is used to offering all kinds of behaviour to get the click – or marker word in this case. We have spent years building a training relationship and this involves trust and lots of fun.  We have also done a lot of ‘free shaping’. This means I have marked and reinforced many behaviours that he has offered and that when it’s training time Wicket offers lots of lovely behaviours just in case it’s what I’m looking for. At the start of the video he ran off to start tapping the camera tripod with his paw just in case I was interested in clicking him for that. It made me laugh and I quickly made it clear to him how he could earn clicks and treats so that he wasn’t frustrated.

If you and your dog are new to training, or shaping, it will likely take longer than it does in my video to get the behaviour you are looking for. Don’t worry, this is fine 😊, just enjoy the process.


Here’s the link to the video of how I trained or shaped the snoot/boop behaviour:




(Spot the deliberate mistake – my training is far from perfect and I use both cue words (snoot and boop) but really you should pick one and stick with it. You may simply prefer to leave it on the visual cue and not bother with verbal, as you always need to use the visual cue to get this behaviour anyway. Perfection in training might be some people’s goals, mine is to enjoy the process with my dog – that’s perfection for me!)


💕How to train the Snoot or Boop (see above video along with written explanation)

  • Get ready – you are going to hold your hands out in a heart shape in front of your dogs’ face. Have your treats ready.

  • Mark and reinforce (reward) any movement towards your hands – even a tiny movement, or if you’re lucky he may even try to sniff your hands. If so, mark this.

  • Repeat marking and reinforcing movement towards your hands.

  • To reposition the dog for the next set up, it can help to throw the reward and then get yourself ready.

  • Start to reinforce the ones that get closer and closer to what you want – the ones where his nose goes through your hands.

  • Timing of your marker word is important. Whatever you mark and reward is what you will get more of, so getting your timing right will help him understand what you want of him.

  • Add the cue word ‘Boop’ or ‘Snoot’ (or whatever you would like to call this) only when the behaviour is complete and when you hold your heart shaped hands up he puts his nose into the centre.


Troubleshooting  - What if you’ve tried to  ‘shape’ the behaviour but it’s not working?

 

Sometimes shaping can take a while or you might want to try things a different way.


💕Using a lure:

 

1.        With one hand out in front of you in the shape of a ‘u’ and with the other hand lure (lead your dog with the food) him to bring his nose into the u shape, then mark and reinforce in position.




2.        Repeat, slowly closing your finger and thumb little by little to create a circle for your dog to put his nose through.


3.        Fade the lure as quickly as you can so that the behaviour is being rewarded, not bribed. This is important. You don’t want the dog to be reliant on you having food in your hand to do the behaviour.


4.        Once you have faded the lure and your dog is putting his nose through your circled finger and thumb you can start to add in the other hand, creating a small circle with both hands and gradually changing the visual cue to a heart shape.




Happy training my friends. Waggy tails and valentines Snoots from Wicky Woo the Cockapoo.


Jo and Wicket💖







 

 

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