Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday's Training Diary

Here's to hoping this will become a weekly feature around here!

Anyway I have to admit that there are times I get into a rut, in my dog training; Especially with the dogs that I have permanently or am raising for a year. When I worked with Wilderwood Service Dogs,I was bringing in a new dog monthly which kept me on my toes constantly. I was doing everything from re-teaching basic commands, potty training, loose leash walking to the "fun" commands, such as teaching them to close doors and etc..

However with the Guide Dog Foundation, we have a list of basic commands we teach them, and that's all. At 3 months Pompeii had 75% of those commands down, and now I knows all of them. So there is no "fun" per se in running through his commands, nothing to mix it up, or challenge him. Bubbles is confident with her "comes", "go potty", "lets eat", and "sit" commands and has no use for doing actual WORK for her food.Texas on the other hand lloooveeeeessssssss training. Except that his mom has run out of ideas..had run out of ideas. However having Zipper has cranked up my creative training juices and we're pulling out the ol" clicker and dusting it off.

Why Food or Clicker Train?
Why do I use a clicker you ask? Well all it does is MARK the BEHAVIOR (sit, down, stay, etc) we want the dog to do, lets him/her know it was GOOD and there is a reward coming. I use the clicker to teach the dog the behavior and then fade it out quickly once the dog knows the cue word.

I know many people want to shy away from clicker/food training due to the fact: "I don't want to have to carry treats around allll the time."Who said you did? Once the dog has the behavior down pat, we do what we call random rewards. You call the dog, they come. you pay them with a treat.
Next time, you call your dog, you pay them with praise, the next time with a toy, the next time with a treat. We all know this works extremely well for dogs, because once they get something good for a certain action, they will always TRY and see if it will work again. (Hence why pulling, garbage digging, counter surfing are such hard behaviors to break.)

Here's how I see. Raise your hand if you would continue to go to work, if your boss only paid you the first three weeks of your time, and then never paid you again. Yet this is what a lot of people are expecting out their dogs...

We introduced Zip to the clicker last week and she's loves it. Next we're working on default leave its. Here it is demonstrated by a favorite trainer of mine, and then we'll do our best to mimic it.

Our Turn! I think we got the jist of it...Please ignore the random commentary!

Next Up - Leave it On Cue...or the name game, cause she really doesn't know her name....

Erin and company


houndstooth said...

She looks like a very fast study! I love clicker training here at home. Out in class or in a group, I stick to positive reinforcement, but I find that they pick up what I want them to do really quickly with the clicker!

Zipper is just hopelessly cute, too!

JackDaddy said...

Unfortunately, training takes a lot of discipline...
on the part of the trainer! :)

I try, but I'm not very good at it!

Sandra said...

As I am the owner of three extreme food hounds I can definitely agree that if they think something will get them a treat they will keep doing it. Haha.