09 February 2010

Team Small Dog shows you Manners Minder, aka Robot, and the building of the robot army begins, just in case, Miss Manners, you could get us Roomba?

So I don't think you have every officially met our good pal, who lives in my car. Are you ready to meet Robot?

Robot has driven around with me for quite some time, and comes out for dog agility outings every so often. Robot's other name, Manners Minder, is dumb. Hence why we changed it's name. I have enough trouble spitting out, "GUSTAVO!" and "GO GET MANNERS MINDER!" just doesn't sail off the tongue.

You stick a bunch of little dog treats inside Robot, and you can set how loud Robot's beep is. You have to have a dog that loves beeping, and let me tell you, all my dogs, even Gustavo who has weird sound issues, LOVE Robot's beep.

Otterpop mostly uses Robot to practice distance work. I would say Otterpop is the dog least impressed by Robot's abilities. Not that Otterpop doesn't like Robot, but really, Frisbee is just as good a reward as Robot for her. But still. It's fun to stick it out at the end of some weirdo gamble I'm adding to her database and use the beep when she's done and have her go get a treat.

Here's the little thing you use to make Robot beep and shoot a treat out it's gob. It's not that blurry in real life.

Ruby is insane for Robot. When I bring Ruby and Robot out together, I feel a little bad for Robot because Ruby attacks poor Robot. But Robot is has proven very sturdy, and no amount of biting or tapping or kicking or dragging Robot around has killed it.

Ruby practices a little bit of what everyone else is practicing. She just loves agility and as long as she can see where she's going, and her legs don't hurt, I let her totally go for it. And who knows. Maybe that beep she loves so much will become useful once she can't see a thing. Go Ruby.

So Gustavo and Robot, a whole different relationship. We only let Robot out of the car sometimes, because I sort of worry Gustavo could get hooked. Although Robot helps him immensely, Gustavo's love of Robot is a little intense, and last thing I want is a Robot junkie.

I try to mix up everybody's rewards. Otterpop likes food a lot, but also loves her frisbee. Or a tree branch. Tennis ball. Or whatever. If it's a giant tree branch the size of your leg and you told her she can't have it, best toy ever. Ruby plays ball, will tug on stuff, but really wants to get a treat, when it all comes down to it. I have turned Gustavo into a total treat whore, mostly because he's been so challenging to me and you see these gray hairs? Those are from training Gustavo. Whatever works with him, works.

Jennifer Anniston has no gray hairs, and Gustavo adores Robot. Sometimes I stick Robot in a crate with him, and the joy of no monkey screaming crate attacking, so lovely. If he knows Robot is somewhere out there on the field, the focus and attention that I get, amazing. Relaxed, focused startlines? Thanks, Robot. Everything lightning fast, lovely execution? We have that on days with Robot. I am just paranoid that Robot's little beep is like the equivalent of meth for Gustavo and everybody knows where that road ends up. Strung out on a teeter totter somewhere, barking at a wall before running away into a tunnel and out of the ring. So his relationship to Robot, carefully monitored.

You thinking about getting a Robot? I love Robot, actually. We always have tons of fun when I let it out of the car. There are bunches of things you can do with it, from teaching agility stuff to getting the dogs to not bark at people knocking on the front door to just funny weird stuff when you're all, I wonder if I could get them to do this with Robot. If you don't want to kick out $100 or so, you can do the same thing with a clicker and a tupperware, but there's something about the fact that it's a Robot that makes it funner. I can't wait to get Roomba someday. If Robot and Roomba had kids, can you imagine the super fun dog training possibilities? Not to mention that I always wanted my own Robot army. The endless possibilities.


Teresa said...

I have found my Manners Minder very helpful for my insane barking dogs in class. (here in freezing cold Omaha where we are in a tiny, echoing building). What treats do you use? I usually use their regular kibble, but the bigger kibble jams it up.

team small dog said...

I don't know if you have Trader Joe's in Omaha but they have cheap little bags of treats that fit EXACTLY into Robot, Charlie Bears.

Debbie said...

The Corgis and BCs here love the MM, I call it Robbie. :) We feed Eagle Pack, and the kibble fits perfectly. The gang uses it as motivation for walking on the treadmill, and I use it in class to reward quiet in the crate. I use the Stay feature, and keep the remote with me. If barking starts, I can cancel the automatic feeding and go back to directly rewarding quiet. In the training ring, I've found it most helpful for rewarding independent weaves.

Have fun!
Debbie (in cold snowy WV)

Elayne said...

Here's a tip, do not lose the remote. The remote costs almost the same as a whole new gizmo and next thing you know you have 2 gizmos living at your house and who knows if they're capable of forming an allegiance and ganging up on you.

Elf said...

I have Treat'n'Train which near as I can figure is exactly the same thing but later changed its name to MM in a witness protection program. It's a good thing that it's well designed to avoid being ripped apart by large Tika-toothed dogs who really REALLY like food. And I'm dying to get a roomba, too.

Huh, I was actually going to make a point here, but I've completely forgotten what it was. Have a nice day.

team small dog said...

Robot army! Yes, I keep the remote gizmo on it's own leash because it looks exactly like the kind of thing that I will like to lose.

Sassie said...

I've got three Manners Minders' (OK one original Treat n Train and 2 MM) and a Roomba. We refer to the MM as 'the Idol' because all our dogs pray in front of it whenever it's out. Celine pretty much taught Fleet to breakdance with it. The MM so far have never had any sort of intimate relations with the Roomba or with each other. I let them all play together (will they have SMS - second machine syndrome - and become untrainable??) The Roomba, unlike the MM, has been a disappointment. Went like gangbusters for the first year then started to peter out. I guess four dogs, two cats and a parrot are just too much for a robot, no matter how cute it is. Also, the Roomba is much less entertaining, after the initial intro, the dogs just ignored it, what fun is that?


team small dog said...

But much fun if you let Robot ride on Roomba? Like then you have an army of them and super useful for teaching dogs things like the Thriller dance so they can all be zombies together?

Sassie said...

Ooh! I'll have to try that!! I am going to recharge the roomba now, will post video when I do it.

sassie said...

Video made and posted -