The Yoghurt Pot Experiment

LM and Yogurt Pot 1

LM and Yoghurt Pot 1

It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. I firmly believe this, having adopted many older rescue dogs over the years and trained them to behave as I wish, in only a few months.

Little Monkey, on the other hand, may be an exception to the rule!

I realise she is not the brightest of dogs (she has other good attributes) but I thought I’d have a go at teaching her a new trick, totally different to anything she has ever done before.

She can do the sits, downs, recalls and stays no problem. This time I thought I’d try a little “Search and Rescue”. That is, search for a treat under an empty yoghurt pot and rescue it; by eating it!

I eat a mini yoghurt most days (so there is no shortage of pots available) and give the almost empty container to Little Monkey, who I have trained to take gently from me and go straight outside to lick.

LM and Yoghurt Pot 2

LM and Yoghurt Pot 2

You can see from the photo above, that not only is this finger-licking good, but also face-licking good!

So to the teaching of a new trick:

I sat Little Monkey down in the shade, showed her a dog biscuit and let her watch as I placed a piece under two yoghurt pots a metre or so apart.

I walked away a little then said, “Fetch!”

LM ran straight to me and sat down, looking expectantly for her treat.

I said, “Fetch!” again, pointing to the yoghurt pot. She looked at my hand, then at the ground by my feet. After pointing a few times, closer and then directly at the pot, almost touching it, she finally went there to sniff the ground, overturning the pot almost by accident and retrieving her treat.

I tried with the second treat . . . And we went through the whole procedure again!

I did this three times in total and each time she came to me first for her treat, though she did get quicker at finding them under the yoghurt pots. She still did this by scent though, by sniffing near the pot and by continuing to do so, managing to tip over the pot and reveal the treat. My plan would be to have several pots with a treat in only one pot eventually.

I didn’t quite get the response I was hoping for (I think my old boy Mr Spaghetti Legs would have been quicker on the uptake!)  but LM had lots of fun. It is food after all! And I am sure that with regular repetition (a 1000 times usually works for her!) she will understand and go straight for the pots.

But this is going to take some time!

 

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39 thoughts on “The Yoghurt Pot Experiment

    1. scifihammy Post author

      LM clearly had no clue where they were – even tho she watched me place them! And once I’ve said Fetch she knows she can eat anything she can find. But – today was tons better and LM went straight to the pots. 🙂

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      Reply
    1. scifihammy Post author

      Aw That is very kind of you. Approaching winter is a tough time for Rescue Organisations and I’m sure your donation of food was much appreciated. 🙂
      It is hard to see all those dogs in need of a loving home, but you do what you can. You have just adopted a little dog. 🙂
      (Oh and today’s fun yoghurt pot training went so much better!)

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  1. pensitivity101

    Our previous collie could tell the difference between colours. His biscuit mix of various shapes were also different colours, but the shape of the biscuit didn’t determine the colour of it. We’d line up half a dozen (his quota for the day) and tell him he could have ‘the brown one’. He’d go straight to it. Then we’d tell him he could have the yellow one etc etc. It never failed. However, when we tested him and put six same colour biscuits all in a row and told him to have the ‘black one’ of which there weren’t any, he just looked at us, got up, and went straight to the dog cupboard where they were kept! Maggie just eats the biscuits, in any order!

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Wow that is amazing! Collies are so clever! I’ve seen one on Youtube who has a vocabulary of about 200 words – so like your dog – fetch the blue ball etc
      I like Maggie’s attitude. 😀 LM is the same. 🙂

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  2. Midwestern Plant Girl

    Funny how our countries spell yogurt differently 😉 LM looks so cute with her cup!
    Breck is smart for his own good. Like my comment awhile ago, he can work me like a tool for what he wants! Me teaching him something is difficult tho.
    On the other hand, Oreo ain’t so bright, but he’s eager. You can see the smoke coming from his ears while I’m trying to show him how to do something. He really wants to please me, but his little peanut brain needs a little time to warm up and get what I’m throwing down. Eventually he gets it and actually retains it!

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      Yes, I’ve always spelt it yoghurt (Brit!) – but did google it to double check!
      I think your collies are very clever – and so different 🙂
      LM is more like Oreo. Once she twigs what I’m doing, she’ll play along. All I have to do is keep repeating it – for a long time! 🙂

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  3. blosslyn

    My dogs love the empty yoghurt pots like LM, but they have to take in turns, I think I might have a go at this trick and see which one out of the four can do it, ha ha if any 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. blosslyn

        Ha ha, if we had chocolate, we are both on a diet :), it would have to be in a high place, as Nancy has learnt how to jump up and pull the handles down on the cupboards…..with the other dogs cheering her on 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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