Harry and Stella wish you a very happy 2010! We’d like to give you a Christmas present by explaining how we got them to pose with the piano.
When you first bring out a prop, it can make your dogs a little nervous. You want to encourage them to be curious and get comfortable with this new object. Clicker training is marvelous for this!
We put the toy piano on the floor in the middle of the living room so they’d have to learn to live with it. At first, we clicked and treated every time they even so much as looked at it. Gradually they were approaching and sniffing it. Again we clicked and treated for this. Eventually the piano was no big deal.
We left the piano there for a week. Every so often, we’d play a game with Harry and Stella. We’d call them over and put a treat on top of it. When they bravely approached and took it, we clicked. We gradually increased the complexity of this game until they were putting their paws on it. This was harder than you might think because it is very slippery plastic and they were nervous about sliding off. (BTW, it’s battery operated, so without the batteries we didn’t have to worry about getting them used to the sound it made when they pressed the keys!)
After a week of clicker training, the piano had become a fun exercise. Time for the photo shoot! Harry and Stella were given treats and praise for posing and the picture turned out beautifully!