Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The way dogs learn (2o2o)

I've posted before about how interesting I find it that dogs learn differently.

 My two, for example, are night and day when it comes to training and learning.

 I remembered a perfect example yesterday.

 Lexi misses contacts for one reason, and one alone. She's excited and going too fast and either doesn't slow down, or doesn't slow down in time. When she misses in training, she gets a marker "what happened?" and she does the obstacle again. If she does it correctly, she gets a more positive marker "that's it!" but no treat. She does it a third time, and receives a reward if she does it correctly, and at this point, she always does. 

[Background: This entire blog was started to track Bentley's contact progress. I don't have the time (or the patience!) to list the things that we tried and the mistakes that we made, but we have finally settled on re-teaching the 2o2o and were in the early stages when Bentley had his surgery. We are just now getting back into training, and we have him on the down side of a dogwalk plank, and a low a-frame. He's still using targets for some of the time, but we're working on fading them.]

 That being said, yesterday we took Bentley out to work on the a-frame. He did well, and we put him back inside to work Lexi. We brought him back out and immediately put him on the a-frame with NO target. You can see in the video what happens, but I knew that as soon as my husband started to do it that it was a bad idea...Bentley missed his contact, though you can see that he stops himself and tries to figure out what he is supposed to be doing (he lays down!). My husband makes him do it again, and Bentley gets his 2o2o. I would have rewarded that, but my husband used Lexi's method, and just gave him a verbal marker, and then asked for it the 3rd time. The 3rd time Bentley jumped. As if he was saying "well, I didn't get it the first 2 times, I should try something else". So, lesson learned. At least until he is more comfortable with the position, he should get rewarded for the correct position, no matter how many attempts.

 Sorry about the bad camera work...I was holding Lexi and she was not happy!

 Here is a video where in the beginning Lexi comes off her contact. You can see how Jonathan marks it, she does it again, he marks it more positively, and then she does it a 3rd time for a treat.

 (Warning: turn your volume down...lots of barking in this one!) In this video I am holding Bentley and he is barking and growling, and an ice cream truck is parked right outside our house playing kids' songs and Christmas Carols!


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