Another stressful week with little time to write any posts. However, the training goes on despite my lack of time to sit down and write anything about it. Here is a post on a behavior I'm introducing into Hokey's repertoire: "go to your place". This is a very convenient behavior to have if you are busy doing something and want your dog to stay out of the way, especially if you don't happen to have a crate handy.
The most common tool used to teach this is some sort of mat, but a towel, small blanket or even a dog bed, which is what I use for Poppy, works fine. It just should be something reasonably portable and easily recognized by your dog as "their" object. Every dog in the household should have their own designated "place". I bought Hokey a small cheap utility mat with non-slip backing for this purpose.
I am primarily training this through shaping and am currently in the middle of training the full behavior. It started with me laying out the rug in the middle of the living room and hand-flashing (my "clicker" since Hokey is deaf) her for interacting with it, eventually working up to reinforcing her for standing with all 4 feet on the mat. This actually turned out to be a speedy process as she was already used to putting all 4 feet on an object lying in the middle of the floor due to the shaping work we've been doing with the frisbee. From there, I gradually shaped her to sit and maintain good eye contact with me.