ATTN dog trainers! How can I teach my dog this skill? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 02-25-2011, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a 6.5 yo toy poodle.  She is the smartest dog I have ever met.  I swear she speaks English!  I had only had her for a few weeks when she tried to drink out of a water glass that I had left on the living room floor.  I told her "You have your own water in the kitchen, go drink it" and I swear to you, she DID!  That was 2.5 yrs ago and I still can give her commands in regular conversation and she understands.  Do I sound crazy yet?  haha


Anyway, my 16yo ds was recently diagnosed with narcolepsy.  Unfortunately, we are having to battle his insurance company to cover prescription medication, so for right now, we can only implement "lifestyle modifications" which basically means that he gets to school 2 hours late very day and sleeps all afternoon.


I was looking up some info on service animals for my sister's disabled dd and came across a blog post about service dogs being trained to help ones who have the severest symptom of narcolepsy, called cataplexy.  The blog also mentioned the dog was trained to respond to the person's alarm clock every morning by licking the face, nudging the person toward the end of the bed, and even mouthing the hand gently so the irritation of the dog's teeth would force the person to respond.


My ds sleeps so soundly he doesn't even hear the alarm clock, not even this one.  He also has sleep paralysis, which means he can't move his body for the first few minutes after his brain is technically awake.


Now, my 6lb poodle isn't going to be able to push my 140lb ds off the bed, but I know I could train her to jump up and lick his face until he gets up.  How would I do this?


Since I was a kid, I have always taught our dogs the basics: sit, down, off, leave it, stop, come, stay, and okay/go ahead.  I am pretty sure I can do this new skill.


Here's what I'm a-thinking: 


1)  one afternoon, put ds in bed, set the alarm for a minute or two hence, smear his cheek with peanut butter, and wait outside the open door with the dog on her leash. 


2) alarm rings, bring her in, tell her to get on the bed.  if she doesnt automatically go for the PB (and I'm sure she will, she loves it!), lead her to it.


3) ds waits a minute, then gets up and turns off the alarm (across the room on the dresser bc of EMFs) and gives her a treat.


4) repeat with half the amount of PB, but always reward with food after he turns off the alarm.  I want her to know the goal is for him to be standing up out of the bed, not just awake.  If he stays in bed, he will fall right back asleep.


5) keep it up every day until she is conditioned to jump on the bed and lick his face any time she hears the alarm clock beep, even when there is no PB on his face...bc he sure can't sleep that way!  haha


All opinions are welcome, I needs lots of help!  TIA  :)

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