Boudicca learns to fast walk the fountain perimeter!


This is Boudicca doing “Up.” It’s a common trick some dogs are capable of doing. That’s great, she’s too cute, but the point here concerns dog learning and building foundation skills.

The fountain in the background is located at Island Park near downtown Sarasota, across from Marina Jacks Restaurant and fueling docks.

The fountain is set down in that gray cement wall with an outcropping of shrubs set into another wall about 3 feet deep, from outside rim to inside edge of gray wall. Boudicca has known how to jump up, get on the plaque and on the edge of the fountain wall, but she has never been encouraged to walk completely around the fountain on that edge.

Today, within two-three trials, using verbal cues for example “fountain” and “walk” she learned to walk the entire perimeter of that inner fountain wall. We increased speed, using the same cues, simply by increasing how fast i circled the wall from the ground.

I couldn’t target train this behavior, getting on the wall was not possible, the shrubs created an obstacle making that an unlikely option. I couldn’t shape it, again too many obstacles and treat delivery would have been difficult, however, these restraints never deterred Boudicca from learning this task.

How, one might ask? I’ve taught Boudicca to pay attention to verbal cues in addition to using hand targeting and directional information. Because she has this ability, I sent her “up” to the “fountain” edge, cued her to “walk” and she followed me around the entire perimeter of the fountain. All these cues she had previously learned. All that was necessary was chaining them together into this new sequence. How easy is that! For Boudicca, it was pretty easy. This week, we’ll get back down and try to get some video!

Here it is!

Yeah Boudicca! It’s things like this that remind me how grateful I am to have such a wonderful dog! 😎

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