I had a chance to work with my little friend Henry the French Bulldog again last weekend. There is some thought in certain circles that this breed is NOT intelligent.
Henry learned to go through the tunnel in under three minutes and during the second session the next day, I was sending him through without luring. It would have all been faster if I had changed my training method sooner. Yes, it is all my fault 😉
Here’s what I did:
I started shaping him to look at the tunnel.
I had originally not wanted to lure him through the tunnel – which is faster, but can develop a dog that relies on the human more for direction if done too often. I also wanted to make sure that he was not worried about or scared of the tunnel, which some dogs are, so I tried to build a positive association with it by click/rewarding gradually. I did this first, for looking at the tunnel, and then for moving closer to it.
After about a minute of this, as he was standing on the open side of the tunnel opposite to me, I bent down and put my hand with the reward into the tunnel. He came flying through! No fear at all, and fairly enjoying it.
I realized that this was the way to go because of his fearlessness and enjoyment of the behaviour.
In our second session, I did no luring and by the end of the two minutes, I was simply sending him through the tunnel. Quite amazing for a difficult to train dog 😉
The length of the tunnel was quite short, but I have no doubt that he will be able to negotiate it when it is stretched out.
We wil find out how he does with that when he comes back to visit in November!