This is why...or should I say, this is WHO
I train the dogs with string cheese. Ranger LOVES cheese. Since I was having extra sharp cheddar cheese for breakfast & Ranger really wanted some of it....he started offering a behavior I have been teaching him.
Turning light switches on and off.
I felt like I was making breakfast in a strobe light.
How did I create this light switch maniac?
We started with basic targeting on a post-it note in my hand. Then I put the post-it note on the wall and clicked and treated him when he targeted it.
Slowly I moved it to the light switch.
After a little bit I started switching the light switch on and off but kept the post it note stuck to the light switch. With well timed clicks and rewards he figured out quickly what I wanted.
When he would flip the switch up I would make a HUGE deal out of it! JACKPOT! He got MEGA cheese and lots of praise. Then I stopped treating him for just the target on the paper and only rewarded him for actually moving the switch.
After I was sure he understood it was the action of flipping the switch he was being rewarded for we moved to different switches repeating it & associating it firmly with the words "Light ON"
I made sure to change the approach to the light switch. For example, the kitchen switch is located over the edge of the counter, so he had to approach it from the side, rather than head on. This helped to generalize the behavior - so he knew it wasn't the approach, or jumping on the wall, it was moving the switch that I wanted.
To get him to turn the light off I put the cheese on the switch so he had to mouth the switch, then when the switch went down I clicked it and rewarded again, saying "light off" at the right moment.
Ranger has grasped the switch in his mouth and is moving it down.
When I knew he firmly understood the action that he was being rewarded for was moving the switch and not targeting the post-it note - I removed the post-it note from all the light switches completely.
Then I moved further and further away from the switch, and he had to start finding the light switch in the room on his own.
Ranger switches the light on by pressing up with his nose
YEAH! The light is on! Good boy Ranger!
Now Ranger turns the light off, but pulling it gently down with his mouth.
AWESOME RANGER! The light is off!
Ranger is very proud of himself!
Now I have this song stuck in my head...
Trace Adkins - Every Light in the House is On