The Skidboot Trick

Discussion in 'Dog Tricks' started by tx_cowgirl, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    So yesterday while playing fetch with Mud, I threw her toy and had her stand-stay, but then decided to have her do some tricks before I would let her go get it--much like Skidboot, except the toy was a few feet away, not right under her nose.

    This kind of peaked my interest, and now I'm thinking I want to teach that kind of control. Makes for a dog that has incredible self-control. :) I want to teach her(and Zeke--but he'll be tougher!) to creep up on a toy, back up, spin, do whatever I say except get it(until I say so of course). I'm assuming it'd be best to start with a boring toy, not one of their favorites. Right?

    So here's where I'm a bit stuck. As for creeping up on the toy(Skidboot's handler uses "Ease up!", and "Take a step!") would this just be a matter of shaping steps toward the toy? And with Mud, if there is a new object in the room and I'm sitting with a clicker, she knows she has to do something with it, but I don't know that she'd ever figure out that just stepping towards it gets the treat. She always goes right for touching it, pawing it, or picking it up and bringing it to me.
    As for the rest, is it really just a matter of sharpening verbal cues with no hand signals and working on listening without looking at you? And of course, working on self-control. This is where Zeke will have a REALLY hard time. We've got a lot of practice to do before we can even start this.

    Anyway, any input is appreciated. :) It seems so simple, I'm just not seeing it I guess. O_o

    If anyone doesn't know who Skidboot is, here's one of his many videos. He was an Australian Cattle Dog, and he passed away in 2007. His owner still has other ACDs that he does shows with as well.
    Jean likes this.

  2. fly30 Experienced Member

    I had seen a similar video with this dog. Amazing. However, I find it a bit cruel ;)
    That trick is for sure a herding dog trick. They are intensely focused on things.
  3. fickla Experienced Member

    Yes, I think it would be a matter of shaping one step at a time. If you start with a lower valued object and clicked as she started to walk towards it would that click interrupt her forward momentum to come back to you and the treat? I think you would either need a reward that means more then the toy. Or you could possibly treat more as the herding behavior it is and interrupt the creeping with a stop cue. Dogs with intense eye would likely offer the slow steps towards their prey.

    Personally I will not be teaching this trick to Vito. Even though he is not a herding breed he does have that level of intensity about tennis balls and frisbees. But we have been working very very hard in learning to make eye contact to get what he wants instead of intense staring at the object. While both "tricks" work on self control I would prefer the attention behavior.
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Interesting insights into this trick. Hmm. Thanks guys!
  5. wenryder Active Member

    That video of Skidboot was great! Thanks for sharing! =)
    Good luck with your training with Mud - keep us posted on her progress!
  6. mewzard Experienced Member

    That is impressive self control. Like fickla we've been teaching getting eye contact for permission (mainly to approach other dogs) i don't think she could learn both.
    Though thinking about it, Oka would last about 30 seconds before going "nevermind then! it ain't that interesting!" and walking off.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I do a lot of work on eye contact as well but am always working on self-control. If they can't control themselves, then I can't control them either and it's harder for me to keep them safe on and off-leash. :)

    Not sure if I'll give this trick a try or not. Still debating. Nonetheless, it is impressive.
  8. Ina Well-Known Member

    Hi tx,

    This sooo true. I have an issue with eye contact with Smokey. He is getting better at it though. Do you think it is age related .. he is only 6 months old?
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Not necessarily age related but just his stage in training perhaps. Does he not want to look at you in any situation, or just in certain situations? If it is just in distracting situations, then lower the criteria. For instance, if he will look at you with no distractions for a fairly good length of time, then ask him to maintain contact while you very gently swing your arm. When he'll hold eye contact with that, swing your arm a little more. And more. Alternate arms. Swing both arms. Then factor in maybe one more distraction completely unrelated to you. (Another dog, noise, or person, or simply moving to a different room. Maybe turn the TV on.) Also if you're testing it in a pretty distracting situation, use higher value treats. Don't ask for it somewhere where you KNOW it's too much for him, because you'll be diluting the meaning of the cue. Work your way up and gradually raise the criteria.
    If Smokey is an extremely timid dog(not just submissive in personality, but very scared of lots of things, more submissive than the average dog, etc), then I would say eye contact could be an issue because he's small and you tower over him just because you are so much taller than him. But if he's not, I'd say it's just a matter of advancing his training.

    I have taught my dogs to look at me with shaping alone. They have a cue for looking at me but I don't use it very often--they just know they have to pay attention to me. It's just an unspoken thing that I've taught them to do. With heel, I did a little more work actually teaching them to maintain eye contact, but for just looking at me I shaped it. For instance, when I ask my dogs to wait for something, they won't be released until they look and me and maintain eye contact until I release them. For Zekers, since he's obsessed with tennis balls and tends to focus a loooot on the ball, he has to maintain eye contact with me until I decide I'm going to throw the ball. Basically, eye contact usually gets them what they want so they check in with me a lot and offer eye contact pretty frequently. For my purposes, this works just fine for me. Some people might want to be more dependent on a verbal cue, so it just depends on what you want to use it for and what you want from your dog.
  10. Ina Well-Known Member

    Thanks again Tx.
    Thinking about it , yes he keeps eye contact if we are all alone with no distractions. I'll be adding them slowly (as you have seen from my video, I'm the one who is overenthusiastic). Because we play a lot of fetch just for fun, I'll be waiting for him to look at me before I throw the toy. The verbal command I used so far is also complete ruined because my kids permanently say "watch".
    Best is probably to start from scratch with a new word and build it up, as you said, slowly. Thank goodness dogs are so very forgiving :whistle:
  11. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    This is a pretty neat trick! I have played around with it a little with River. I doubt we will ever get to Skidboot level but it is fun to throw in some challenges once in a while.

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