Friday, February 5, 2016

Catty says "I love learning how to do a chin rest!"

Catty is a quick learner and no big surprise that it didn't take her long to figure out The Bucket Game.  Catty loves this game so much that the "bucket" and to be put out of sight or she will demand bark at it. So with The Bucket Game success,  it was time to move onto the next new game.  As I began to shape our training plan there were a number of things that came up.   

First thing was that we needed to practice all of our work on a raised surface.  I make this decision since the vet table is off the floor and Catty's 14 pound self will be on the table at the vet.  So, we have a large desk which I decide will work perfectly as a vet prep table.  

Catty says "I'm ready to get going!" 

D'light wants to watch what were are up to.

Viva, you can't see she's sitting on the floor, next to me also watching...

Soon enough these tools will be a fun part of the game.  But for now they just sit in our working space.

Before we start working with our tools and before we continue with the bucket game... We need to learn how to do a chin rest.  Why is this?  I want Catty to be able to rest her chin in my hand while the vet looks at her eyes and at her mouth/teeth. Catty has a split tooth and it's time for that tooth to be looked at.

Here is Laura Monaco Torelli youtube station, specifically the series on Canine Chin Rest Behavior and it's great! This is what I used to as a guide in our training. 

Given Catty's bite history, at the vet we use a muzzle for vet visits. However, the vet can't look at her tooth when she's wearing a muzzle.  So, my plan is to teach Catty a chin rest and then incorporate The Bucket Game.  With the end result being that we go to the vet with our Bucket and I  have her chin rest in my hand and I manipulate her muzzle and mouth so the vet can look at the tooth.  In my plan, the vet will not have to touch Catty's mouth.

I actually did some mouth prep work with D'light a couple of months ago.  He needed to have his teeth looked at and while he doesn't bite, he does generate a lot of worry and anxiety even with all the vet prep we have done over the years.  So the low handling by me and the no handling by the vet worked out really well for D'light.   As you may have gathered we have an excellent vet who listens to me, treats me and my dogs with a ton of respect and honors what we need.  

To start, I create an environmental set up that will be similar to being at the vet. Since Catty is so small she will need to be on the exam table so, at home I put her mat on a table and time to get training!  It also gives us the opportunity to working on "up" as I pick her up and place her on the table.  

Catty LOVES to train, she loves games and she loves food!  We start of with capturing and shaping and soon enough she is figuring out what she is being rewarded for.  The behavior I'm looking for is that she places her chin in the palm of my hand. Catty know how to "shake" and other foot targeting and she's sorting out if that's what I'm looking for.  

For my training  - I have to work at not pushing my hand up into her chin.  I need to be patent as she learns the game try to be as precise as possible in marking the behavior of the chin rest.

She is just adorable and so much fun to work with - watch her happy tail!

We worked on "chin rest" for a good week and we both did great!  Remember, training isn't a hours on end experience.  We practice every night for no more than 5 minutes.

Stay tuned as the next post we will add in The Bucket Game.


  1. Dear Team Catty,
    Thank you for the extremely kind mention of my chin rest videos. I'm thrilled to hear of your successes, and that you are more importantly having fun!
    Keep up with your lovely team work and progress. I'm so glad you find my videos as a helpful resource.
    We are all learning together!
    Laura Monaco Torelli

    1. Thank you to Lori Stevens for sharing my videos as a helpful resource for you, too!

    2. Thank you so much Laura. Your video's were beyond helpful in so many ways and I love your work. Catty and I are having so much fun and you have certainly helped us in creating that fun! ~Julee

  2. Isn't Team Catty amazing? Love the cattierattie blogs. Thanks again Laura for making your inspiring videos.