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Good Morning crazy dog people!

Got AttentionThis is the second installment of Sunday Morning Canine Interaction the blogging series that's all about hooking up and spending quality time with our dogs.

Today we'll be expanding on last week's foundational training exercise, Unsolicited Eye Contact, and we'll talk a little bit about operant behavior and what the benefits are of working with an operant dog.

We'll also talk a little bit about training in general and tie it in to modern day politics - it is a political blog after all.

Hop on over the bump for more...

Summary of Last Week's Train
Last week we talked about unsolicited eye contact.

What we're going to do is to get a couple of yummy treats and go into a quiet, calm place ( kitchen or bathroom are ideal ). Really nice stuff something your dog would die for. Put one in each hand. Hold your hands at your side or at belt height slightly out to the side of your body.


Your dog will lick, bite, paw, sniff... he'll go back and forth from treat to treat. Just wait. Don't say anything, don't move your hands, do nothing until your dog looks into your eyes.

Wait for your dog to look into your eyes.

At the exact moment he makes eye contact (you'll feel it) say yes and give him the yummy treat.

It is very important that you don't move your hands. Every time you move your hands you're creating opportunity. We want the dog to realize that the sniffing, licking, biting, pawing... none of that crap is going to work. Biting doesn't work. Licking doesn't work.

"Jeez what works, Mom?"

Your dog will look up into your eyes, you'll say yes and give him a cookie.

The only behavior that works, the only behavior that offers opportunity is eye contact.

It seems as if several people here already have a history of eye contact with their dogs which is great; eye contact is a powerful bond between dog and handler. Unfortunately, not many people use eye contact to the fullest, and are only getting a taste of the power of hooking up with their dogs eye to eye.

Hey, great topic (none / 0)
I look forward to reading it.

My when working, dog's name, btw, is "watch" or "with me" not "Luna" (which as you say, is likely to get ignored after awhile).

Oh, and we recently got certified through the Delta Society as a pet partner team. For the last month or so we have been making weekly visits to a nursing home.  Luna, diva that she is, loves the attention.  
<right>keres @ Booman Tribune</right>

* Emphasis mine...

If you're calling for eye contact, you're essentially tugging on your dog's shirtsleeve like,"Mom... Mom...", and we all know how much Mom likes that..."WHAT!".

So asking for eye contact can be a drag from the dog's point of view - it's a hassle.

The other problem I saw with the implementation of eye contact from comments is that people are not using it to their advantage. They're getting it, but they're not capitalizing on it and using it to their advantage. It'd be like getting a sit down with your Senator and talking about baseball.

When we get our dog's attention we need to capitalize on it and use it to our advantage.

The Benefits of an Operant Dog

Ron & Leilani Jamming in Poland - Image by Magda M.Last year we conducted a series of 8 seminars across Europe. While in Poland, my friend, and God Father of Dog Frisbee in Poland, Darek, and I were talking about our style of dog training, and I compared it to American sociopolitical life - "You can have anything you want, this or that, and then I make sure that the decision is a no brainer. In one hand there's a hundred dollar bill. In the other a pile of crap. Take your pick. It's your choice."

So what we do is we give the dogs no brainer decisions, and we leave that decision entirely up to them. It's false dichotomy, not at all unlike the acceptable range of decisions we are 'allowed' to make politically and socially, as laid out by the Corporate Media.

"We can attack Iraq or do nothing."

"We can destroy our economy or save the environment."

We, in America, are operant dogs. That's why there's so much power in support of America and in support of stupid policy. "It's our choice."

Contrast this with Russia. Russia was compulsion training. The same kind of false dichotomies were set up, but it was a Do it or else kind of situation.

Real quick, before I bring it back to the dogs, the same thing is on display with the Conservative v Liberal ideologies: Do it the way I want, right now - "You cannot be a musician!" vs Do it your way and I'll support you - "Of course you can be a musician, but you have to work hard to succeed."

I, obviously, take the left path in working with my dogs.

I set up situations where the dog has easy decisions to make, no brainers that fit my needs, and I let them make those decisions then I reward them for it. This creates autonomy.

The dog starts to believe that they are in charge of situations, that they manipulate me, and then I prove that they're right.

The definition of an Operant Dog is a dog that understands that their behavior controls their consequences.

"Watch this, I'm going to make my mom give me a cookie," then the dog walks up, sits and looks into the handler's eyes, and BAM! they get a cookie.

This is on display with the dog that grabs a sock and drums up a game of chase. How hard is it to stop that behavior? How about barking for attention?

These are behaviors that the dog has learned on their own. They are based on operant conditioning. I grab the sock, my handler chases me, WHAT FUN! I bark and my handler pays attention to me.

If we engage in these games and reward their behavior, the behavior get stronger. Sometimes they seem impossible to stop. They become default - It becomes what they do.

That's the benefit of an Operant Dog. They learn to manipulate their consequences based upon their behavior totally independent of the handler's cues, and those behaviors become habit.

It's like magic.

Creating Habits out of Games
If you've done eye contact as laid out above, you've set up a game. "I look at you, you give me cookies."

Well, that's all nice and good, but how do we use that to our advantage?

It's simple.

Leash your dog up and walk to the front door, and wait. When the dog looks at you,
mark yes! and give them a cookie.

In no time, the dog will be sitting and looking at you.

If we do this enough times, we have a habit of sitting and looking at the handler when we get to a door.

No more telling the dog to sit at the door.

No more fighting to back up at the front door.

The dog will get to a door situation and do what works, which is sitting and looking at the handler.

When we start to open the door, just open it a crack, block it and wait.

If the dog tries to get out, ignore it. When he realizes that cramming his body through that tiny crack won't work, he'll go back to what works, looking at you - yes!, give a cookie.


Dog looks at you, yes!, go outside as the reward.

This is probably not going to go all that swiftly on the first attempt, but just be patient. You should notice that your dog returns to eye contact quicker each time.

Once the dog realizes that sitting and looking at you works to get outside, they'll do it readily and willingly. It might take a few sessions to get it smooth, but once it's smooth, it's a done deal. Door problems solved.

Work 2-3 times per day, for 3 minutes max, up the ante by cracking the door a bit more and you should have a well minded dog at the door in 3 or 4 days, max.

Fighting the Classical Condition
If your dog sees a leash and goes ape and bounces off the walls, you are going to have a bit of a problem with this drill.

Your dog has become classically conditioned to the appearance of the leash: "Leash comes out = I take you for a drag".

The leash tells the dog that a fun, out of control walk is coming. It's exactly like Pavlov's dog's bell. Bell=food. Leash=fun of outside.

We may need to counter condition this.

To counter condition Leash=Take handler for a drag, grab the leash, put it on your dog and go do eye contact/attention in the Kitchen for 3 minutes.

Take the leash off, and hang out.

A few 2-3 minute sessions of this per day will change what a leash means. The leash will no longer mean 'take my handler out for a drag' the leash will mean 'sit still and pay attention to my handler'.

Doing this drill will change what the leash means. We'll take it from a tool that means 'restraint' to a tool that means 'work'.

We'll talk more about classical conditioning next week.

We'll flesh stuff out in comments.

Originally posted to k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 05:04 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We'll get some video up next week (28+ / 0-)

    HUGE computer problems this week.

    Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

    by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 05:07:24 AM PDT

  •  I added the teaching tag (4+ / 0-)

    so that this will show up in next week's Daily Kos University

    You should post a tip jar

  •  I'll shoot some video for next week. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    althea in il, fiddler crabby

    I had planned on video this week, but I've had some serious computer problems.

    Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

    by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 05:13:53 AM PDT

  •  Nicely done! (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you for not only the information but your way or writing it.  Grabbed and kept my attention nicely. Looking forward to more of your postings.

    "The force is really rather strong with you, Luke" - Eddie Izzard (I miss you, La 3/5/06)

    by Bexley Lane on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 05:15:37 AM PDT

  •  I wanted to do a video on attention for this (5+ / 0-)

    installment, but we've had some serious computer problems this week.

    I dug out a couple of old studio checks that feature some attention and positive training stuff.

    Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

    by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 05:24:50 AM PDT

    •  I have a problem with the stools... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby

      why use stools?  I don't get the point.

      •  Because it keeps them in one place. (4+ / 0-)

        With a behavior like sitting pretty, where a dog wants to stand and move around, they can't do it on the stool. It works wonders.

        Also it's a serious black and white situation - on or off, very clear.

        It's a great way to keep them in one place for getting distance on behaviors.

        It's also a great way to start teaching a stay.

        We believe it is the handler's responsibility for the dog's success. We need to set up situations that make failure highly improbable.

        Why don't you like the stool?

        Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

        by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:31:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this amazing diary k9... (11+ / 0-)

    I hope to see you guys in action one day.  I'll be watching for the video.  Well done my friend.

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 06:03:54 AM PDT

  •  another great lesson (7+ / 0-)

    I look forward to checking this out with my better half.
    I really enjoy your sense of humor - very readable!

  •  I have a drag the momma for a walk, dog. (6+ / 0-)

    This will work. I will let you know how it turns out after trying this. Thanks, enjoy your series.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 06:18:05 AM PDT

    •  Try Red Light Green Light... (3+ / 0-)

      When the leash gets tight, redlight.

      When the leash is loose, greenlight.

      If pulling never works it'll never happen.

      Also check out an EZ Walk Harness.

      I'd recommend getting it from a small pet supplier in your area.

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 06:24:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I already have a signal of wait. (5+ / 0-)

        That slows him down until the next time. But he always keeps trying it, so I have to watch the messages I am sending, right? And I do sometimes forget to use it consistently.

        "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

        by Owllwoman on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 06:29:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, the signal for wait is just like the (3+ / 0-)

          tugging on Momma's sleeve,"Mom... Mom...".

          your key to getting a great walk out of him is for him to make that decision on his own.

          The more you ask, the more of a pain in his ass you become. lol.

          You literally become a drag.

          Instead of telling him to wait, set up a situation where you can capture and reward his waiting.

          Go redlight and wait. When he eases up, capture it yes! and reward with a cookie or more walking.

          It really requires serious honesty.

          It's not immediate, either. You've got to prove that pulling doesn't work.

          It's a real pain, and I know some really great trainers who don't even bother training it and instead depend on management equipment like an EZ Walk harness.

          One more thing...

          This is impossible if you treat your walks like a destination activity.

          Until the dog is very good at this skill, all walks should be treated as a training exercise or an interaction exercise with success in mind.

          Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

          by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 06:36:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  EZ Walk Harness... (6+ / 0-)

      Is a very nice tool.

      What it essentially does is to reorient the dog to the handler.

      It attaches to the front of the dog so when the dog pulls the dog winds up being turned towards the handler.

      It's really beautiful.

      It works really well with eye contact too.

      Your dog pulls, the harness forces a reorientation to the handler, leaving you the opportunity to get unsolicited eye contact.

      Highly recommended tool for people with physical issues that limit the handling of a pulling dog.

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 06:30:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bu-bu-but ... (5+ / 0-)

    That's how you herd CATS.  Or how Cats herd you.  Obviously, the trick is to let them think that they're in control.

    Cat comes to Person at computer and meows softly, to get human to look at him.  Butts head against leg/chair leg (I love you, please do this for me --), gets eye contact; having Person's attention, Cat walks away.  Person of course follows.  Cat goes:

    1. To kitchen.  Sits in front of food bowl, looks at bowl, refrigerator, and human in repeated sequence.  Message: FOOD NOW, PLEASE.  Person opens refrigerator and provides food.
    1. To heating vent.  Stares at heating vent, at human, and back.  Message: It's cold.  When's the hot air coming back, PLEASE? Human MAY turn up thermostat or seek cheaper solutions (my Cat already HAS a permanent heating pad in the bedroom, he just likes the hot air vent).
    1. To the door.  Obvious.  The Cat doesn't need a leash because human society tolerates cats without leashes and not dogs, probably going back to the fact that cats without leashes do chase mice. As well as cardinals, bluejays, and anything else that moves and is small, but if you live in an area with slow, minimal traffic (lots of small children) cats can hunt safely and will ... as long as the weather is good.  If it's raining, snowing, or very very cold, Cat will sit at the door demanding YOU to do something about it, of course.  It works so well on other things ... (a wise Cat Person provides a Porch for their Cat.  It reduces the demands on the Door by at least 30%, since it allows the Cat to be both Inside and Outside at the same time).

    My friends keep telling me that I can't treat a Dog like a Cat, and therefore I know absolutely NOTHING about how to handle a Dog and will surely screw it up.  But I would never chase a dog around the house trying to retrieve a sock.  That's too much work.  And I know it doesn't work with small children, who also think it's fun.  Or with ferrets. Or with Cats, for that matter, who can always either outrun a lumbering Human or squeeze into a place where you can't get them.  Or turn Invisible.  I don't think Dogs turn Invisible, do they?  But they run a LOT faster than I do, so what good would it do to chase them?

    •  I've been training our cat. (4+ / 0-)

      Same stuff.

      LaVerne targets, recalls, heels, does eye contact gets on and off.

      It's definitely more challenging, as it's harder to find solid motivation, but it's the same stuff.

      Don't listen to them, Cynn... You're right on.

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 06:38:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NIP (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fiddler crabby

        Since I allow the Cat to train ME to do what he needs done, I seldom need extra motivation.  But when he associated a sudden panic attack with being in my bed, the thing that got him thoroughly over it was the catnip sock hung on the foot of the bedframe.  He couldn't keep associating the bed with Terrible Evil when the Nip was hanging RIGHT where he could bat and chew it, any time he wanted it.  After spending a month lurking under the bed chasing the Nip, he got over his fear of the top of the bed and came back to sleeping with me.  (This whole issue was especially difficult for him because the Bed used to belong to the Other Cat, the Siamese who died last spring.  The Siamese didn't like Ninja Kitty to get on HIS bed, and then when he died, Ninja Kitty was afraid of his ghost because he knew Something Terrible had happened to him).  But Nip made everything all right again.  Nip is GOOD.

    •  must say something here (0+ / 0-)

      you wrote

      The Cat doesn't need a leash because human society tolerates cats without leashes

      not so in many cities - leash laws for all pets!

  •  THANKS! I LOVE THIS! (7+ / 0-)

    I was so happy to find this this morning.

    Sometimes it seems like behavior modification is my life right now:

    One of my dogwalking clients got a new puppy, so I've been doing basic obedience training.

    Another of my dogwalking clients has a dog who won't listen (won't come when called) and once gave me a heart attack by running into the street.

    I work at a stable and am trying to increase positive behaviors in my particular horse friend, Roosevelt (who is already practically perfect, but in this case it's more like training ME to be a good horseperson).

    I work with an autistic child, and we're always looking for great motivations for her to increase eye contact, use language, and attempt new skills.

    If I could just get my girlfriend to pick up her socks off the floor once in a while, our domestic happiness would increase...!

    So I'm going to try unsolicited eye contact with the puppy and the non-listener. I'll look for you next week for more great info!

    •  THanks... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catesby, fiddler crabby

      Just remember that it's not bribery - there is no quid pro quo.

      It's payment for a job well done. Don't tip your hat, randomness helps. Sometimes it's a low value reward, sometimes it's high.

      let them start to try to figure out why this one was better rewarded than the other.

      It's the lucky rabbit's foot, superstition - they'll start to try to reproduce the big money pay out  and they'll work harder.

      Sorry if that's kind of esoteric, or not very tangible, but...

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:53:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Any links for the EZWalk? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, fiddler crabby, Mary2002

    I've searched for this harness/collar, but what I'm seeing is a type of harness where the leash is attached to the front of the dog.  Is that the right one?

    Thanks, K9disc!

    •  Yup, that's it. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:20:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd rather not link, as I don't want to link to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jakbeau, parryander, fiddler crabby

      big giant organizations.

      I'd recommend checking out your local pet stores.

      someone'll have on.

      They are made by Premier.

      Hope you understand...

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would have pimped mine, but we no longer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        op, fiddler crabby

        run a retail operation.

        We were forced out of our storefront and it was demolished.

        I'm a bit bitter about it.

        Better your friend's shop than a big box or amazon.

        Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

        by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:33:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, op, I'll purchase there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catesby, fiddler crabby, BarbaraB

        Though Gretchen is between a small and a medium.  Do you know if these EZWalks can be adjusted?

        I'm  rapidly going broke on lead behavior, LOL!  First I purchased a 'husky' harness.  Nope.  That set up pulling behavior, though at 27.5 lbs. at least I could lift my 1.5 y.o. rescue  dog off her feet.

        Next came a 'modified choke' collar.  Following the Monks of New Skete, who wrote that "better one big correction than a thousand little ones", I nearly pulled Gretchen off her feet a couple of times.  But, I hated myself for doing it.

        Next came Cesar Millan's "Illusion Collar."  It's a double collar with the 'modified choke' set close to the dog's ears.  Gretchen behaves a bit better on that one, but she still tests me - particularly when she gets near her dog play dates with Handsome Bob.  Gawd, my left arm hurts sometimes as I constantly pull her back with the command "easy."

        Lesse, I've got at least $75 invested so far.  The EZ-Walker will make a cool $100.

        I would looove to train Gretchen to walk by my side without a leash, but as a rescue dog who was picked up as a stray in Philly at about 1.2 mos. old, I don't see it happening any time soon.  And, maybe I'm not such a great trainer.  Sigh ....

        But, I'm working with eye contact with the command "look", and with today's lesson about the leash.  She's a smart girl, my terrier mix, and yeah, I guess I'll become a walking cookie dispenser for awhile while we work up to Slot Machine.

        I love this Sunday canine series!

        •  Ooohhh.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fiddler crabby, Mary2002

          Choose to heel... That's a great technique... totally doable too...

          No leash, and the dog chooses to heel.

          It's fun!

          Lesson for later...

          Listen, don't put the 'look' on command, otherwise it just becomes another command.

          It's important that she do it on her own - that she tries to manipulate you with it.

          Of course you can have a look command, but unsolicited is different.

          Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

          by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 08:16:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I second Op's recommendation. (4+ / 0-)

        As an extra added bonus, the owners of Dogstuff are progressive Democrats and they support several rescue organizations.  

        •  Thirding Dogstuff (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k9disc, janefish, fiddler crabby

          Great people, great service, progressives who do lots of rescue and rescue support, and, apart from the practical stuff, a really ez site to find a gift for someone hard to buy for too.

          k9 - try not to be bitter about losing the storefront.  Retailing can be hard slog - I had a tack store with some dog things too for several years and then I realized that I would rather clean stalls than deal with some people.  g  

  •  A question: (4+ / 0-)

    How do you deal with dogs who've been through either neglect, abuse, or just a lack of socialization, and for whom eye contact is threatening?

    Terrier Abby was confident from puppyhood, and learned quickly that eye contact was a good thing, whether it meant paying attention to those odd sounds coming out of her person's mouth (she had a pretty good vocabulary) or reading body language. She even had "The Stares" on occasion.

    But Sheltie Meg (a breeder rescued as an adult from a mill) and Cairn Jake (another adult rescue) have been a little more difficult to work with. Jake's getting a little more sense of self -- stubbornness is genetic in Cairns -- but still isn't big on eye contact (though I'll admit I haven't been using food for reward, just gentle encouragement and touching).

    •  This is good for them as well, and because it is (3+ / 0-)

      offered and not demanded, it's non-threatening.

      It takes longer with the borderline 'phobic', but the payoffs are huge.

      Dogs that are fearful can be somewhat compared ot agorophabics - they are incapable of making decisions about what is safe or unsafe.

      So what we want to do is to give them lots of practice making small, simple decisions, to give them confidence.

      If those decisions impact their consequence, all the more empowering.

      Often what happens is that poorly socialized dogs wind up with a good solid leader for a handler and that leader drags the dog along through all kinds of harrowing ordeals through their solid leadership style.

      unfortunately, this doesn't help the dog as much as it should. The dog is still fearful.

      Going back to your terrier, putting this eye contact on her in a soft, positive manner will help her deal with that when it crops up. She'll even start to seek it out.

      This is very important for fear biters or aggressive dogs.

      Does that make sense?

      Don't challenge her with it, let her build the behavior.

      Please ask more if you need more, don't want to give you half the info.

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

        We think Meg (we lost her to a brain tumor a little over two years ago after having her in our lives for six years) had problems far beyond our capacity to cure. She had no concept of her own size, trying fit through small spaces, so we assumed her lack of socialization might have extended into developmental delays. We kept life simple for her, and after about a year she finally flicked her tail in a semi-wag. She never caught on about voices, or learned to ask for things.

        But she did find pleasure in life. Peanut butter would send her into sheltie spins, and she liked belly rubs, as long as she could remain standing up (yes, it did look really weird).

        Jake doesn't have quite the same issues, but we just haven't hit that moment where he's made the connection between our actions and his.

        I'll work more on the eye contact. Carrots are his downfall :)

        •  One more thing. (0+ / 0-)

          This is kind of weird, though.

          With Abby -- we had great rapport her entire life -- I always felt like we were communicating in some way that wasn't language based. I could feel something working in my brain when she was around.

          But with Meg, I'd look at her and it would just be silence. No sense that there was some kind of exchange going on between us. That's one reason it was difficult to figure her out. There was absolutely nothing to go on.

          At times Jake is the same way, but other times, when he seems to be more "into" his environment, there are little hints of it.

          I don't mean this metaphorically, but physically. It's as if there were a physical reaction going on, very similar to having a conversation with another person.

          I'm not sure what to make of it.

  •  Eye contact... (7+ / 0-)

    ...body language and tone of voice make such huge differences in dog training!  I will have to try your eye contact/reward in training my little Papillon/Chi in Obedience, as the scars from her (now healing) demodetic mange make using a leash uncomfortable for her.  Fortunately, her recall from a long distance is 100%. and we have learned "Sit" for the reward of affection.
     One of the difficulties I encounter is trying to find a calm, quiet place - with five dogs around, a closed door or gate is a challenge to be attacked!
     I have had some success with "leash anticipation" by using desensitization techniques.
     With an Australian Cattle Dog, a Golden mix, a Pointer mix, a Lab/Shep mix, and a Papillon/Chi mix - I have to vary my training techniques to fit the size and temperaments of the individual dogs.
     Learning to walk the dog properly on lead is a HUGE part of working well with your dogs!  Nothing I have ever done with dogs works so well to bolster training and bonding than walking the dog (at your side, on a loose lead) all over the neighborhood.  I recommend it highly!
    Thanks for this series, k9disc!

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by drchelo on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:17:02 AM PDT

  •  What do you do when your dog has (5+ / 0-)

    made his own schedule?

    Our Fergus has made his own schedule and if he doesn't get what he wants on his time schedule, he whines... LOUDLY... and doesn't stop until you give him what he wants.

    It's enough to drive you insane.

    At 6:00am he has to go out to pee and sniff his tree.

    At 10:30 he has to play frisbee.

    At noon he has play frisbee.

    At 12:30 he needs a bone in his kong.

    At 1:30 he has to play frisbee.

    At 5:30 he has to play frisbee.

    At exactly 3 minutes after we have dinner, he has to go out and bark at stuff. When he comes back in, he has to have another bone in his kong.

    This is basically how my days go... and when they don't go that way, Fergus throws a fit and will whine for hours if he has to, until he gets what he wants.

    The hubby and I would just like a little more flexibility in our lives and Fergus doesn't like flexible. He likes the schedule he's made for himself and all hell is going to break loose if we don't follow it.

    "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

    by MichiganGirl on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:24:51 AM PDT

    •  Lol... He's got you well trained. (5+ / 0-)

      Fergus is a master at Operant Conditioning.

      He's taught you that you can impact your consequence (get peace and quiet) by giving him what he wants (behavior).

      Your behavior is impacting your consequence.

      It's really funny.

      Where do you live?

      You need to flip it.

      Let me think about a response, OK...

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:36:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We live in Northwestern Michigan. (4+ / 0-)

        And I'm sure you're right.

        We know it's our fault, but we just don't know how to get it to stop.

        He whines really good, he even sticks his bottom lip out like a little kid. It's really pathetic and extremely loud.... Like I said, he's driving us nuts.

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:58:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh gawd, I've got a whiner too (4+ / 0-)

          Gretchen whines incessantly in the car.  It's loud, annoying, distracting and crazy-making - and  I'm driving from South Jersey to Louisville, KY at the end of May. I dread the trip.  

          My vet suggested tranquilizers, but I tried them once with my mini-schnauzer (who died in October at 13.5 y.o.), and it was pitiful.  An animal's instinct is to stay on their feet when they feel whoozy.  I nearly threw up out of self-disgust as I watched Beauregard collapse again and again.  I will NOT use tranqs on my dog just to stop the whining.

          But, I really wish I had a solution before I make this trip.

          Damn! I wish I had a solution!

          •  A steady stream of cookies into the floorboards (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jakbeau, fiddler crabby, MichiganGirl

            will work if she's riding outside of the crate.

            A little more about your driving situation, and i might be able to help...

            Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

            by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 08:19:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Driving sitution (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fiddler crabby, MichiganGirl

              I have a small compact car and no crate. I've been letting Gretchen ride in the passenger seat.  I loop her lead around the seat belt and clip it so she can't 'leave' the car - but she's got room to move around, something she did once at 70 mph by trying to climb onto my head!  I threw her back into the passenger seat with a mighty roar.  So far, no more of that, but I'm about to set up a 'back seat rule' which we'll work on until the late May Kentucky road trip.

              We've had short rides and long (say 1/2 an hour.)  Within 5 minutes inside the car, Gretchen is whining loudly, as if to say "I feel cramped in here.  I wanna get out!"

              I work on "Quiet" at home, but that doesn't hold water in the car.  

              Do you need to know more?

              •  Nope, that's great... (0+ / 0-)

                Feed her dinner in the car for a few days.

                If she doesn't eat, take it away and try again at the next mealtime.

                What we want to do is to change her physiological state and understanding of the car.

                The problem sounds like she's physiologically affected by the car in a negative way.

                Replace fear with food.

                Done deal.

                We've got some people over right now playing disc, disc dog drop-ins and all, so I've got to run.


                Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

                by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 10:44:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Well we're in Cedar Springs, and we do discdog (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fiddler crabby, MichiganGirl

          drop-ins on Sunday afternoons. (cedar is 15 miles N of GR...)

          They're $10 and I'm sure we could help you out a bit.

          It's real kicked back and mellow.

          Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

          by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 08:18:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We're not that far away then, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fiddler crabby

            about a 2 hour drive.

            Fergus has never been in a car for that long though, we'd probably have to work him up to it.

            His longest car ride to date is to his vet's, which is 30 miles away. He gets all excited and races back and forth between the windows in the back seat like a little maniac. Then he's all worn out by the time we get to the vet and takes a nap in the examining room.

            Is Cedar Springs in the 73rd State House District?

            If it is, I met your Democratic candidate a few weeks ago and he's a fantastic guy.

            "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

            by MichiganGirl on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 08:38:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  One of my dogs was always crazy in the car (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fiddler crabby, MichiganGirl

              Trucks especially.  She hated trucks with a passion.  Motorcyles as well.  Pacing and barking through every car trip she had ever been on.  So we were dreading our 5 day drive when we moved from Florida to Arizona with 3 dogs.

              But funnily enough, after the first couple of hundred miles she got bored with the whole thing, and slept almost the whole rest of the way.  After that, she is perfectly fine in the car, just goes to sleep until the engine stops.  Car trips are just not terribly exciting for her now.

              Our 2 day trip from Arizona to Oregon with 5 dogs was blissfully peaceful.  

    •  How does Fergus whine, does he get in (5+ / 0-)

      your face and whine?

      If so, as soon as he whines, get up and walk away.

      Attach his whining to the removal of opportunity.

      Also, if he's that regimented, proactively change the schedule...

      Get up at 5:45 and take him out, before he starts to whine.

      Get him up at 4:30.

      Put the bone in his Kong at 12:00.

      Take him out at 12:00 to play disc.

      At 1:30 put a bone in his Kong.

      Really mix it up.

      one of the real big problems that people is that BS idea that dogs need regiment and an ironclad schedule.

      They don't need that. We need that for potty training and to fit in with our schedule.

      My dogs don't eat anywhere near the same time on a daily basis. Nothing is predictable.

      here's something I talk about a lot.

      Think of behaviors as ruts - big fat wagon wheel ruts...

      Behaviors we want need to be deep and steep ruts.

      We condition them, placing high value on staying inside the behavioral rut. That way the dog falls into the behavioral rut very easily.

      Behaviors we don't want need to be flat prarie grass, devoid of ruts. There is not rut to fall into, no goto behavior. Anything is possible.

      Then we just condition a new rut, of our choosing to replace that flat ground.

      Does that make sense?

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 08:31:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We've tried putting bones in his kong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k9disc, fiddler crabby

        at different times, but he'll quickly eat that bone and start his usual whining, as if the first bone didn't count, because it wasn't fresh or something.

        He does the same thing with his walks or frisbee. He just looks at the other plays as if they were something extra and not a part of his scheduled plays. I don't know for the life of me how the dog learned how to tell time, but he clearly can, because it's ALWAYS at the same times.

        It never fails. It's like he has an inner alarm clock or something.

        When he whines he sits about 4 feet away from us and he'll follow you when you leave the room. If you try to put him outside and don't go out to play frisbee with him, he'll throw his frisbee at the backdoor until you go out to play with him.

        He's just really spoiled. We watch that show the dog whisperer and try some of the things from it, but it's like he's either smarter or more stubborn or something than most dogs, because the things that are supposed to work just don't seem to work on him.

        We've tried some of the things with my Mom's dog and it works fine on him... but not on Fergus.

        I think it is clearly something we're doing wrong with him, but we don't know what it is. Is your email in your profile? If it is, I'd like to contact you about trying to train us to train our dog.

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 08:50:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In the vid where Harper (4+ / 0-)

    is being trained to sit pretty, does the dog ever learn to associate the behavior with a verbal command?  Or do you have to be a walking cookie repository forever?  (Or are there no more commands?)  Sitting pretty is not exactly a useful behavior, just adorable.

    •  That is called stimulus control. (5+ / 0-)

      We put these behaviors under stimulus control once they are learned behaviors.

      We suggest that you not put a behavior on command until you can bet $100 that it'll happen right now.

      It's not 5, not 10, not $20, but $100.

      That is some serious confidence in the behavior before you put it on command, and rightly so.

      WHat happens when we put a behavior on command immediately, during the learning process, is that we teach a very specific, very precise application of the command.

      We also teach a 30-40% command.

      If we wait until the behavior is 100%, then 'sit' really means sit, 100% of the time.

      Also, dogs don't generalize well. By teaching that sit means sit (verbal), directly in front of the handler, in the living room with no distractions, we teach a very limited understanding of sit.

      So the dog will have to generalize the skill after the command, which will lead to a significant failure rate, which we don't want to have happen.

      When we put things on verbal they are pretty much done and nearly 100%.

      It's very clear what we're asking for, and it's very clear that the dog is capable of success.

      As far as the cookie dispenser, we have cookies on us most the time, but the rate of dispensation is nowhere near what's going on in a learning session like Harpyr is going through in the video, or when we have a serious distraction going on.

      We also have the ability to reward with toys, access to the environment, access to social situations - pretty much anything that motivates our dog is fair game.

      Also the dog becomes habituated to the sequence of events - antecedent (request) > behavior/positive marker > consequence . That kind of work, that sequence becomes inherently rewarding.

      For instance, with k9freestyle (dog dancing) with my dog Leilani, I started out with 1 reward for one trick. Now I get a hundred tricks in a 2 minute session for 1 reward.

      There are lots of ways to get away from being a cookie dispenser, the first is a variable reward schedule. In short we go from being a candy machine to a slot machine, where the dog puts their money in and loses and puts more in.

      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:46:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That makes a lot of sense, thanks. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakbeau, fiddler crabby, BarbaraB

        I also wondered about the spectator dog - so I take it that it's OK to completely ignore one pup while working with another.  I guess we either train them that they can expect our attention whenever they demand it, or not, lol.  Usually I equate a dog's psyche with a kid's, so I don't want to "show favoritism," and give a kid a complex.  That's wrong with dogs, huh?

  •  I just want to say ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... Thanks!  Keep it up.  These are great!

    Vote TORTURE. Vote DEATH. Vote REPUBLICAN: the party of torturers and war criminals.

    by Yellow Canary on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 07:31:04 AM PDT

  •  I got that book you recommended (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fiddler crabby

    Control Unleashed.

    It was pretty well dead-on in describing the behavior of Marlowe.  However, because it is oriented towards dogs in agility, and the distractions that come up there, like other dogs running etc., it is difficult to figure out how to apply many of the lessons there to our situation with herding.

    Marlowe and I easily got over his desire to chase other dogs, and his fear of horses, because I could slowly teach him that these were thing he did need to worry about.  And all of the off leash ring work we can do easily - as long as sheep aren't around!  

    Imagine having a dog that goes crazy at the sight of agility equipment!  Jumping over fences to get to it crazy.  It's a bit harder to teach the dog to not get quite as excited about it but still not ignore it, especially when just the sight puts him in overdrive.

    BUT there were really useful exercises in there about relaxation and massage techniques, which I have started him on, and I hum a little tune while I do it, so he can associate that song with relaxation in other situations.  I have also started taking him back out to the feeding pen every day (now he can't get through the troughs anymore), and I interrupt his incessant staring at the sheep with little requests here and there, reward with an ear rub, then let him go back to his watching.  He seems to be getting more relaxed around the sheep already.

    But on the great news front, I have been working with my BC puppy Byron (I LOVE puppy training), and luckily he is very food motivated, which Marlowe isn't, so it does make things a lot easier.  We have been working on lie and sit and the recall every day, and it's great watching his brain whirring trying to figure out how to get his treat.  And he's already figured out he just needs to come sit next to me at my desk and look at me to get a treat, even if I am holding it right next to his nose!

    My big problem with him is barking.  But this post is long enough, so I will save it for next week!

    •  The no food problem is classically conditioned. (0+ / 0-)

      keep track of this thread.

      I'll give you some thoughts after things settle down here.


      Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal.

      by k9disc on Sun Apr 06, 2008 at 10:46:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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