Sunday, January 10, 2010

More video progress to share, and a blooper too.

It's been a busy past few days. I intended to do more training sooner but sometimes the planets just don't align to give me the time. I went out and got not one but two mini tripods to help me with my video taping. One is a simple 6 inch tripod and the other is a neat flexible 7 inch job. Each for under 10 bucks too.

The first video is Jenny learning how to ring a bell. I probably should have decided if I wanted her to ring it with her nose or her paw before I began. I was thinking paw when I started but then she used her nose so I adapted to do either. I think I will go just to paw next time. Excuse the mumbling. I was trying to explain what I was doing but I didn't want to disturb her working and I was concentrating on her as well. I think I was saying something about raising criteria. (they are shown in the order that I took them earlier today)

None of the videos are perfect, but I think it's important to show that training is a process that doesn't always go as planned. The goal is to communicate clearly to your dog and have fun while teaching them skills. I think the videos do show that. Missy was in the next room with my son watching us through the baby gate. You might hear her in the background. I had him feed her treats so she wouldn't whine to join us, which is what she has started to do. It might be interesting to see what she would do given the opportunity but I'm not sure that is fair given her condition. (tho I guess I could try.)

The reason I think she was successful so quickly with getting a sound is because we have been doing paw work with the nail trimmers. She has been slapping her paw into my hand with the trimmers in them as well. If you were to work with a dog that doesn't offer any touching at first simply start with a look towards the item and work from there. You gradually increase the criteria after the dog "gets" the game. Make sure to keep your rate of reinforcement high in the beginning to keep the dog interested. (reinforce for every good thing) I do not have that problem with Jenny.

This next video is my first session with the metal dumbbell. This is actually a scent article used in obedience showing. It is longer than the other dumbbell I was using which seemed uncomfortable for her to hold for any length of time. I also have the leather ones but wanted her to learn to pick them up without mouthing them that she did in the last video so I chose the metal one. I wasn't sure she would want to pick it up at all with it being metal. I did buy some wood pieces and dowels to make a longer wooden dumbbell but didn't have time to assemble it. Since it was a different dumbbell I went back a few steps in training when I started today's session.

I thought it was funny that she went over to the camera. "What happens if I touch this." Of course I learned my lesson and put the camera up on a chair for the next try.

Like I said they aren't perfect. We are a work in progress. I welcome all constructive criticism. I've been thinking about coming up with a routine to entertain residents in the local nursing homes. I've never had the urge for therapy dog work, I would feel awkward, but this I think I could do. My hat goes off to anyone who can do therapy work. I think it is amazing stuff.

I also have a confession to make, I used a clicker with a client today. (and have found a lovely easy on the ears version that has a strap for my finger made by premier) The verbal marker just wasn't cutting it for one of her two dogs so for clarity I bought it out of "the box". It worked like a charm. She won't use it herself, so we paired it with the verbal marker. It was just enough to make it clearer for the dog though and that is the important bit.

**A big shout out to my grandmother (Nanny) who turned 87 today. She is one of the lights of my life and I seriously do not know where I would be today without her. She still makes me strawberry jam and quilts and mows her own lawn. I wish I had a quarter of her talents and hope to be half as active at her age. She makes quilts for aids babies, care kits for veterans AND works in our local food pantry. She just received a presidential volunteerism award as well as one from the state. I am super proud of her and just wanted to brag. (It's my blog so I can do that!) Happy Birthday Nanny!!**


Amy Carlson said...

For my dogs, the hold was the hardest part. They already would pick things up and put them all sorts of places. I had already rewarded a lot for releasing items, like for "put away your toys". It meant I had to undo that for the hold so when I started dumbbell work I tried to seperate it from the "put away your toys" work. I didn't have them pick it up at first. I had them take it from me and HOLD it because I knew the picking it up and bringing it to me would be easy because of the previous work.

MinPins are not natural retrievers, but they learned to love to go get things. The hold was the hardest thing for them, though. So, my only thing for you might be that I see you rewarding for releasing it a lot. With MY dogs that would have been fuel for their fire to NOT hold it since they had already been heavily reinforced for dropping items.

I had to clearly define HOLD with the dumbbell. The retrieve came easily because of earlier work. I also applied HOLD to other things, not just the dumbbell. I think that helped them generalize what HOLD meant. So, they had been well reinforced for dropping toys, then I taught them to HOLD toys.

Fun work! She'll get it quick enough! Scent article work is a BLAST! And very showy.

Marie said...

Thanks for the info. That is good for me to know. I definatly don't want to create a problem I can avoid.

It may not be clear since you can't hear the video well but my mark word is said with it still in her mouth. I may be teaching to much at once, take it, hold briefly and give it to me instead of dropping on floor. I will be adding the duration as we go. It certainly is food for thought. Thank you!