Practicing Nice!

Nice!! Nais. Nice. My mother-in-law in Tennessee might say, "Naaahhhs."

Nice is our new marker word for Guide Dogs for the Blind. It is used for certain behaviors, like Go to Bed, that will be rewarded with a treat. When the dog does what we are trying to teach, we mark the behavior with a clipped "Nice!", and then the dog gets a treat.

Right now, we are familiarizing our pups with the word "Nice!". When they hear the word, they know a treat is coming. So, there's no behavior or expectation associated with the word yet. They do nothing at all, we say the word and give the treat.

Today, during our walk around SB Lake, I stopped to practice "Nice!" with Cabana. We don't want the dog to lunge for the treat, so I also practiced holding the treat out a few inches from Cabana's nose for a few seconds before giving it to her. Cabana did great with this, waiting patiently for the treat to come to her, rather than moving forward to grab it.

We also stopped a few times during our walk for Cabana to practice sitting. When our CFR was here a few weeks ago, she noticed that Cabana tends to take a few meandering steps before sitting, sometimes wrapping herself around my leg to sit in front of me, rather than facing forward at my side. So I've been practicing this regularly with Cabana during our walks, and she has improved. She still takes those extra steps sometimes, but I think she's getting it, by George.

Taelor and Pilaf  – (May 28, 2009 at 2:28 PM)  

I have serious problems with this word. I mean, before GDB started using it, it was just one of my "praise words". So I keep saying it on accident, and then she expects food. *sigh* I guess I just need more practice with it... =P

Mitch and Meade  – (May 28, 2009 at 2:38 PM)  

Meade loves that word!!! We have to be careful not to say it in normal conversation when he is around! But after you say it like a million times it sounds SO stupid :P

Anna  – (May 28, 2009 at 4:36 PM)  

It's such a new concept that I'm having a hard time "getting it". And like Taelor, I used it as a praise word too. I used to tell Vortex he did a very nice job. Ugh.

Lisa and Ellie  – (May 28, 2009 at 6:24 PM)  

YAY Cabana for doing just a great job.

Elizabeth and Peyton  – (May 28, 2009 at 9:20 PM)  

I've had a tough time getting n*** out of my everyday vocabulary (I won't even WRITE it now...LOL). I remember getting Alana used to "the word". That's a lot of fun!

Becky  – (May 30, 2009 at 8:03 PM)  

I realize I say to Cricket ... you are such a nice puppy - all the time, funny!

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