So far I have only done 'action' words - ones that ask him to perform a specific behavior such as sit, roll, and shake.
luna may;3179 said:
How in the world do you teach a dog to read?
It's actually very easy - not very different than teaching a verbal command or hand signal. Here is a brief lesson:
Learning (for any species) is easiest if the new
cue/stimulus/etc is presented just before something familiar... so when you say 'cookie' before you give a treat your dog will perk his ears at the word - if you gave the treat first it would take much longer for them to make the association.
You make your 'flash cards' by printing one word on a sheet of paper - make it big, all capital, and use a simple font. Use a landscape layout to get a nice large size. Put the card in a sheet protector so that it doesn't get smudged or creased, as the dog will take that as part of the word.
The dog needs to use their eyes to look at the word, so they must know the behavior without needing visual cues. The easiest way is to use a verbal command.
Start with a command that isn't the first behavior your dog will offer - this will make additional words easier to add. I start with DOWN, then do SIT second, followed by the dog's favorite between SHAKE/WAVE/ROLL/TURN/SPEAK.
Show your dog the card (remember how they learn - new first, followed by old), holding it still around their eye level against your body, and give the verbal command. As soon as your dog complies, take the card out of sight (behind your back or flat on a table) as you praise and play/treat. If the card stays in sight, it's as if you are saying the dreaded sitsitsitsitsit
After 3-5 repetitions you can hold back the verbal command for a couple of seconds, but if they don't do it, slide it in before they lose interest (don't wait more than about 3 seconds).
Dogs learn the first word pretty fast, but they are not looking at the word - show them anything remotely like the card and they will lie down. Each consecutive word is taught the same way. For the second one they are guessing (if it's not DOWN, it must be SIT!).
The third word marks when they are starting to look at the shape of the words... when learning to read, many dogs have mixed up TUG and TURN considerably more than most other words - so they certainly are looking at the letters.
Here is a video of Charlie shortly after I started teaching him to read. This video is really cool - it shows him responding to a card as I pick it up (SHAKE). I didn't realize that he had seen it, so when I held it out he went through his other words before coming back with his first choice. I'm so glad I had it on film, or I never would have realized what was happening!!!
What I'm saying is 'Yesp!' to mark the correct behavior, not cuing him (it's much easier than trying to hold a clicker, in this situation). The video quality is really bad and I think the sounds are not perfectly in time with the image, but you get the idea.