The first newsletter in my new series Focus for Work was sent out today. For those of you that are working on the homework assignment I am using the blog as a place for your to comment.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the series and your assignments.
For those of you not on the newsletter, I have asked everyone to write down anytime their dog receives reinforcement from any source for a 24 hours period and write down the two events that preceded this reinforcement. The idea is to track what a dog does to prompt or Trigger Reinforcement in his everyday life.
Today I am grateful for John and John (B & H) putting up a big brand new white board WALL in my office . . . it is the little things in life:).
noticed that when my dog doesn’t get it, I sometimes try and help them get it. Instead, I am waiting longer and giving them a chance to figure it out! Also, this exercise has helped me see more clearly from my dogs point of view what I am “actually” rewarding.
Susan, thanks, I want to be a good dog handler and trainer. I want my dogs to experience success and joy as they work.
Wow an ‘AHA!’ moment after reading ‘who is moving FIRST’ when the dog ‘stalls’? ME! As soon as I realized that ( part of my counting back 2 work) I have become super-aware of stopping. Also I have had my eyes really opened as to what I am rewarding from this exercise; THANKS!!! Can’t wait to learn more~!
Here are my results from paying attention for the past few days:
At 5:00, my middle girl, Lizzy gets up and starts moving around the bedroom. This gets the other two dogs up, too. Nothing precipitates this since I’m sound asleep and no alarm is set. If I tell them to go back to sleep, they do this and no one stirs again until about 6:30. Lizzy adapts to daylight savings times in less than a week–either way. She is an amazingly reliable watch. Most of the time during the week I get up, let all outside, feed everyone at this time, and then go back to bed. After they’ve eaten, they all come back to the bedroom and sleep, too–until the 6:30 time. Lizzy again is the first one to signal it’s really, really time to get up. And she’s right.
Anytime I pick up keys or make a move toward the door leading to the garage, the youngest girl, Kate, and Lizzy run in front of me, waiting to go out. If I say, “no, you’re staying here” they stop by the door, but haven’t rushed out of the door without permission for over a year. The oldest, Clue, is usually lying down and needs to be coaxed to come if I want her to go out. If I am going to leave them, I turn on the Home Alone music, give them all a nickle-sized bisquet, tell them all “Be good girls, I’ll be back” and they wander to wherever it is they hang out while I’m gone during the day. I can come back for the item that I usually forget, and they don’t come to the door to greet me. They just look up from where they are all lying down.
When I get home, all three are waiting for me at the entrance. This used to be a real scrum with me yelling, “off, off”–however, I now ignore them while they dance around me, striving for attention. I walk through the house to the door leading to the yard, and open it, commanding, “go outside” and the two older dogs go through the door. Kate hangs back, sitting at my feet. I pet her, and then tell her to go outside. This is her manipulating me to give her extra attention that the other dogs are not getting.
I spend a lot of time at the computer since I work on-line. The dogs lie at my feet or within ten feet of my workstation most of the time, though they have the “dog couch” to go to that is just around the corner from my computer that they also lie on. If I am working for less than one hour, I can get up and move around, and no one moves. However, after about one hour of my working and ignoring them, one of the dogs usually tries to engage me in some type of interaction. If Clue is lying at my feet, she usually just lifts her head up and places her chin on my knee. I will pet her for a few seconds and then stop; she returns to lying down. Lizzy comes behind me, sits, and stares at me until I either get up or tell her to go lay down. (She’s not worried about my bad grammar.) Kate will bring me a toy, usually a ball, and come under my desk, placing her chin on my lap looking straight up at me between my hands on the keyboard. If there is a dog lying immediately below my feet, she will put the ball in my lap from the side. If I ignore her, she eventually will go away. However, I have enforced her enough with play that she will continue to try this.
When I interact with one, usually all want a piece of the action (except for the pets for Clue–those are quiet and subtle enough no one else catches on).
If I’ve told them to lie down or have ignored them for a long time, they will all sit around me, staring at me. After a short period of time, Kate will try the ball with me again. While I have successfully told them to lie down when they do this, I usually get up at this point and let them outside–if the weather permits, I will go out and toss some bumpers (they are all Goldens) or play with them in some other way.
Some of the chaining behaviors would be when we wake and the dogs move around it’s also a clue for feeding. I’ve also given them verbal clues since a pup for most items–do you want to go outside? it’s time to eat. do you want a treat? be good girls, I’ll be back. wait. sit. off. Since I live alone, there are no other people to instigate interaction.
However, my cat has learned that when I feed the girls, he can get a treat too. He’s #4 in the priority list for treats, but he doesn’t mind, and the dogs respect his place, not stealing the treat that he gets despite his slow eating.
@sharon- He litterally just stops and stands there. Doesnt move a muscle. I have in the past playfully moved him out of position. I have also done the collar. It works sometimes or I will get a slightly different behavior. But because of its re occurance I’m trying to work through it. Get beyond it because this is the one thing that will appear in a show. 🙁
Wondering what to do in training when I I do not want reinforce a behavior I’ve been fighting to dissolve. Training last night- I sent my dog to the tunnel. He went into “freeze” mode. instead of leaving or sniffing he tends to freeze (maybe its the pointer in him lol). There was some banging from the wind in the building that I can only GUESS could be why it happened. Ultimately, as you mentioned, its not about the why, but If I call him or cue another response- surely I’m helping him and reinforcing the freeze? I’m not sure what to do. Go into ignore mode? Playfully move him from the position? For whatever reason I can’t get past this pesky behavior any ideas?
good question. I have found that taking my dogs by the collar (gently and without any negative emotion) and then bringing them back to the original point of the start of the exercise is giving them a good strong message, without discouraging them. It means, let’s try again. However, I am not in agility as of yet, so maybe this isn’t the right thing to do. I am interested in this answer as well. What do you do when your dog freezes? hmmmm
Looking forward to your response Susan.
Can’t print your first installment because it is too wide. Any suggestions. I am loving this Focus for Work !!!:}
I am very grateful for the experience to learn these lessons from you.
Last night we noticed that when my cody wanted Jerry to pet him he sat at his feet and barked at him. He didn’t jump, just bark. Of course Jerry reached out and loved on cody. We realized that now Cody knows how to push his buttons when he wants to be petted. Now, we just reward sitting quietly.
All my dogs like to be with me more than the other dogs. TOday my Bindi was in her yard and across the yard in another yard was a dog, Bindi started to go over there, I called her she immediately turned around and came and sat by my side. Good girl!
Bindi is my best trained dog, the one I have had the longest.
I am looking to see what else I have done.. that needs correcting. thanks so much Susan. can’t write now, will continue later. Sharon empson
Great thought proving newsletter! I did the homework and proud to say mostly I did good!
My almost 2 year old aussie had gotten in the habit of waking me up about 4:30am to go out. I took her out, she did her business immediately and came right back in. No matter what, she was doing this at exactly 4:30am. So I quit letting her out thinking it had become a habit. So now at 4:30am she scratches the side of the bed, I wake – pat the bed and say “it’s not time come lay down” she gets on the bed and goes right to sleep… gee has she trained me? I didn’t see this as “ME” reinforcing it – but boy ol’ boy am I!!
I think this is going to be hard to stop. Maybe it is time to put a crate back in the bedroom!
My 5 month old golden puppy has shaped me to feed her for getting her paws off the counter while I’m fixing dinner… Only problem is the paws are always up before they come down. Very cute… Paws up, smirking puppy face, all 4 paws so smartly planted on the floor. (Had a good laugh when I noticed her happy face. The puppy outsmarted me. 🙂
Thanks Susan for this great insight. Got the first newsletter by a friend because I subscribed after you blogged about it (got number two normally). Started recordkeeping this morning. Most of the time the events up to reinforcement are ok, but had a great laugh a couple of times when I realized I was being cued by my dog. Oh my and I realize now that his “naughtiest behaviour” (going say hi to others without permission) is the one I had a hard time changing and now I see the chain of reinforcement : being patted and acknowledged by a person, before that running up to them enthousiastically and pushing his head against their hand and hanging into their bodies, before that ignoring my stay command.
Great insight after only half a day of recordkeeping. Will continue for at least another 24 hours. This is FUN!
I have nearly completed the 24 hour assignment. In my perception my dogs seldom seem to initiate their reinforcement. I had one occasion of one sitting next to my chair & me stroking his head. Feeding times, going outside, playing, training etc is all initiated by me.
I took away all toys at the start of recallers (I hated doing that) However neither dog is stuck to me with glue in training so I guess I am not noticing something. Will continue observing & see what else crops up.
After training in agility for 2.5 years at my local dog club, working mainly on the obstacles in the classes and hearing vague references to handling systems, I hit a wall because my dogs had no foundations work. Therefore, I decided that I needed to go back to square one to train my dogs as they should have been trained from puppyhood.
This led me to deciding which “system” I would use as my own foundation—as I already had Crate Games and 2×2 Weaves, I decided I would learn Greg Derrett’s system, which in turn led me back to your site this past weekend.
This time I explored more than your store. OMGoodness! I’m already kicking myself for not being around for Puppy Peaks and the Recallers courses that you’ve held. However, I had never expected to get training from someone except at an in-person seminar, and though I myself teach on-line at a college, never thought I would find quality instruction for dog training in this environment. Over the past week, I’ve learned how wrong that idea was. From seeing the videos and training courses available on YouTube from your site and Greg’s site, I can see how an even more personalized training can result—most of the time in the seminars, people are sitting around and watching—with this course delivery system, the instructor can reach many more people, at less expense in time and material for all, yet deliver a better product than a couple day seminar can offer.
As an online instructor, my warning to you as you get more involved in on-line training is not to get stuck sitting at a computer, for that is not much fun at all.
Since I signed up for the newsletter in time to receive the second installment of your “Focus for Work” series but just too late to receive the first installment, is there any way to receive that first newsletter? Or will it be available in your “Contact Success” course or some future course?
Reading the comments I think my girls have trained me.
Both my girls are not food oriental and are very fussy with what they eat.
3am – Nikki wakes me up so she can go outside and hump her bear.
6am – Sarah Paws at me and Nikki Barks at me its time for them to go outside.
08:30 Decided today I will take them to the beach.
Off we go – on arriving at the beach Nikki is first in the water and swimming and jumping. Today Sarah does not want to go in the water.
Then let both girls off for a run on the sand hills – but then Sarah gets to rough – call her and she ignores me so the rest of the time at the beach she stays one lead.
11:00 Wash and Dry both girls this takes me 4 hours.
03:00pm they go to sleep.
05:00pm They want out.
08:00pm Time for their dinner.
10:00pm Sarah is hitting me with her paw she wants a head massage – if I do not do it she will keep annoying me.
Nikki is asleep.
Wow, great record keeping Lorraine! If those were my records my first goal would be to have an 8 hour nights sleep!
My dog likes to look out the glass front door. Sometimes she barks at something she sees. I want to stop the barking so I go and get her and put her in her crate. I don’t say anything, just grab the collar and put her in the crate. Now what happens is that as I enter the hall to get her, she leaves the window and comes to me, going to (but not into) the crate. What should be my reaction to this? Should I still crate her?
i could terminate the reinforcement that find karmen in her daily life:
1- i praise her to say good morning. previously 1: took a shower and dressed up – previously 2: i woke up
2- barking and playing with my old dog. i was preparing myself to go out for the morning walk. i went out from the bedroom.
3- i praise her. she pushes my hand. i was having my breakfast
4- running and playing with her toys. after finishing her breakfast. when i’m not leaving for work (week-ends)
5- barking at the front window. looking for dogs walking down the street.
6- barking at the back window. looking for cats walking in our terraza.
7- i praise her. asking with her nose. when i’m reading my mails on my computer
8- i praise her. asking with her nose. when i’m laying down on the sofa watching a film
9- going to agility. barking and bothering my old dog. preparing my bag.
Here are the reinforcements she found in her life. could you confirm me that i have to eliminate those in the way to make it in a different way?
Really appreciate the Newsletters and your comments on “Dogs deflecting punishment” rang true with me but can you you clarify what our response should be if the dog does stops offering responses? Wait them out until you get some response? Move to some other non-reinforcing (?) activity?
Ok, here is an example of my dog shaping me by doing exactly the opposite of what I thought I was reinforcing.
We are at a dog training session. Most of the people are there to practice obedience. Lucy and I are there to practice working in the presence of other dogs, and to stop making aggressive overtures. Lucy i anxious and has decided that offence is the best defence, an idea I am having some trouble putting out of her head. At the end of a really awsome training session doing one jump and recallers exercises, I did a circuit of “go see” as soon as I let her go see she lunged at the other dog (even a male who was lying flat on the floor and could in no way be construed as threatening. I would yell “no!” and pull har away. Then practice hand touches really close to the other dog, giving treats for succesful handtouches. On the way home I thought about your assignment, and realized: Lucy isn’t feeling threatened by the other dogs. She has discovered that her lunge is followed by a game of handtarget with yummy treats. Duh!!! How could I be so thick? So next time, a lunge should be “rewarded” with putting her away for a while?
I have the barking problem too. Both my dogs learned that if they barked and then stopped they got a treat for stopping. I am currently trying a different method (after reading Turid Rugaas’ book on barking). Since the barking originates in one dog’s fear of humans, I now just quietly stand between him and the window, facing the window, and then very quietly praise him for being quiet once the scary monster has passed. It seems to be helping, and if he doesn’t bark the other one doesn’t either. When I’m too busy to do this body blocking I close the curtains so they can’t see out, which helps a lot.
Hidden Reinforcement Triggers
Sharon Empson and my dogs, Bindi, Cody, and Terra.
8:00- dog up- outside to potty. Cody sleeps in, stays in crate.
(crate left open he comes out without any attention from
Me. I do not want to encourage him to stay in later than
the other dogs.)
8:00- dogs must sit on rug in dining room and not come into
kitchen until they are called individually. I do not tell them
to go to their spot on the rug, they know they should each
morning. If they move around or do not sit there,
breakfast stays on the counter.
8:10- breakfast (which was cooked) is served. Each dog is called out, with “their name, then come.” They are then asked to sit and when they do their food is put down before them. (Sometimes I switch other commands.)
8:30 time to go outside. This is where Cody tries to manipulate me. All dogs must sit and wait before the door can be opened. If it is opened and they move, the door is closed…I just stand there. Cody jumps and jumps and jumps straight up in the air, I turn my back on him.
(all the other dogs remain sitting) When he calms down and sits and waits the door opens again..they must wait until I say “Go!”
I say go and they change down the stairs into the yard.
Walking- noticed one way I have not been aware of the action before the action. Had trouble with Cody healing, then breaking the heal after being rewarded. It seems he has learned from me that healing is ended once the reward is given. He walks along, decides to place himself in the heal position, he is rewarded. I was thinking that he would learn the best place to be is next to me healing. What he has learned instead is that when he wants a cookie he heals, when he is done with the cookie, he doesn’t have to heal. So now working on him remaining in heel position. Not real sure where I made a mistake. Have decided to do short heels with the reward at the end for staying at my side. Stretching the time he is at my side at heel position longer and longer.
My biggest area of failure for my dogs is the barking problem. Cody is a very hyper dog. When he begins his day barking it can go on all day, Yikes! I have taught him the “enough” command which he obeys, for a while. He will stop barking, come to me and sit before me. As soon as he is rewarded, he begins to prance around the room and soon is barking again. (of course our neighbors dogs bark all day, so this sets him off, but would like that to not be a problem at all) Then we go through the whole situation again. I think I will lengthen the time he sits before me and is quiet before I reward. I have not figured out how to do this right yet. The triggers are the trash truck, cars going up and down our private driveway, our neighbors dogs barking and barking. I am working on the trash man, when his truck comes, I am going to reward Cody with a treat as fast as I can and keep him there until the truck passes. The problem is I have other dogs and it is hard to keep them quiet while I reward the others.
Help anyone? (I have rewarded all of them at the same time, but sometimes someone breaks the silence and this can trigger the rest.) This is on my mind today, because it is trash day.
Love this exercise Susan. I am new to this type of training and want to learn all I can and be the best for the pups. Looking forward to each session. You have given me a lot to look into this week.
Sharon and my pups Bindi, Cody, Terra
This is eye opening. I am unintentionally reinforcing behaviors that we were trying to overcome.
At first, rewarding my dog for coming to me worked fine and resulted in a quick return. She still returns quickly, but now takes most off-lead opportunities to make a quick trip to visit the other dogs. Oh, I thought I was reinforcing her come, but going back that extra step explains why this behavior is getting worse instead of better.
I am at a loss as to how to proceed. When I call her back from one of her visits, how do I reward the come and not the unwanted running off?
But suddenly the flow of cookies stop to the dog so he withholds YOUR reinforcement (ie he is no longer offers you responses).
What do you do if the dog stays in a sit looking at you for over 30 minutes not offering anything but a yawn or blink now and again – then lays down and goes to sleep and you wait another 30 minutes and nothing!
Note: this happened while shaping a perch after 1 treat given for bouncing in the direction of the perch. Prior to shaping had everything ready, did a game of chase, dog was bounding over to set up area.
Clearly even though I thought it was planned perfectly it went WRONG. I waited until for an hour and he never offered anything so he won and I left the session!!! That was my first shaping attempt years ago when he was a puppy and I have been helping with motion ever since!!!
What should I have done in that set up to not “help” or to not let him win the stale mate? It haunts me to this day!!!
I can never hear about ‘being the value/cookie’ etc enough. I’ve been working on shaping a new behaviour with my older dog…and getting stuck just as described and doing what was described..so my dog was shaping ME. I’ll keep observing and, maybe, some day see this before it happens. Thanks, Susan! Keep working with me, I know I can get ‘shaped’ up some day.
Just wondering – I would LOVE to see a 24hr homework chart done for yourself and your dogs.
Wouldn’t we all! I’m sure it would be an eye opener for most of us.
Susan,thanks for the expertise that you so freely share. You have changed the world,literally the world,of dog training. And BTW, your answer to Cheryl on 3/11 about tugging in the house was the bomb! Best ever explanation of how to deal with DWDH outside of the house. Back on topic of reinforcement triggers, my 7 month old Vizsla grabs a flip flop, gives me the cute look and the keep away stance, I tell him “out”, he drops it, is majorly rewarded…so I know I’ve taught him to go grab another flip flop pretty soon! But you have to laugh; they are brilliant at “remembering” chains and subsequently shaping us. I’m so in your camp that rewarding “in the moment” is not always the answer. Thanks again.
Wow! Analyzing each reinforcement made me realize how many unfavorable behaviors I was reinforcing!
Going back one more helped me see that even when I was asking for an action prior to giving treats or playing that the whole process was really initiated by my dog!
This makes me wonder…..who is the one that is really getting what they want? I can’t wait for the next assignment!
my house consist of 4 dogs, 2 boxers 7 & 8, a 3 yr old am staff/catahoula rescue and a 4 yr old schnauzer that I inherited oh and my husband.
5am wake up and let the dogs out, dogs run back in am staff out of control, make him sit and wait for a cookie (everytime they come in they get a cookie)
6am breakfast, am staff gets overly aroused when it is time to eat, he is made to go to his mat and wait, after 3 yrs he still needs to be reminded to stay, he inches towards the bowls and I must wait him out until he gives me the behavior of mat and waiting.
7am dogs go out and then the am staff and schnauzer are given stuffed kongs in their crates.
10am dogs are let out by my mother, they come in and get cookies and the two mentioned before go back to crates.
12 husband comes home, lets them out they come in and get cookies
4I get home from work big greeting at the door, a bit out of control for a second then they calm down, I give them all attention and then I get dinner ready
4:30 dogs eat same routine as the morning with the same issues
5:30 am staff goes out to agility yard to play, he loves his frisbee so I play alot with that we work some exercises broken up with games of frisbee. I end the game before he is ready leaving him wanting more. then I work with the schnauzer who loves to work and play and I am almost always her cookie….
I will also bring all 4 dogs out to the yard and have some all together time. I try and mix it up sometimes taking a walk playing games learning new tricks.
My am staff is the one that I really want to be one with, he has the most issues enhanced Im sure by me. I so look forward to any and all infomation I get from you and others.
The biggest trigger that I noticed was the dogs barking when I left the house in the morning. Once I thought about the pre-actions I realized that they actually started pacing from the moment that I put my coat on. I think the barking is more of a disapproval that I’m leaving without them!!
Okay, Susan…here is my diary…
0730am – Snap licks my face; I get up to let her out to potty; I start my day.
0800 – Shape Snap to “Name That Toy” w/ tugging each toy she brings back.
0830 – Snap works Dog Puzzle Level 2
0845 – Snap eats meal
0900 – Take Snap to back door, wait for a sit, then let Snap outside to play w/ “Fat Dog” (hubby’s 15 yr husky mix)
1030 – Brush Snap; She knows good things come from brushing and gets excited;I prepare to go to park
11:00 – At park for Frisbee throws w/recaller games incorporated (sits/downs/stands/ durations/nose touches/ and tugging in between. Rest… then heel work/random sits and downs; treating w/ food; last session is Frisbee throws w/ durations on sits/downs..Snap rusty on responding to “sit” cue (she went into a down x 3).. (DWDH??)
1:00pm – Home and Snap in back yard to ‘rest’. Immediately picked up a tug toy and initiated play with me. “Leave It” I responded, she dropped it and I went to do errands.
4:00pm – Back home and hubby back from out of town. Snap inside and joyed to see him and Dave gives Snap a treat for trick x 4. This is a twice daily ritual for them, usually in AM and PM.
4:30pm – Just got shipment in on Bully Sticks, Snap enjoying one on her bear rug.
5:00pm – Dave takes Snap out for potty break and play w/ “Fat Dog”. (She keeps Fat Dog happy :o}
6:00pm – Snap in on her bear rug eating some raw liver while we eat; then Finishing up her Bully Stick..
7:00pm – Reviewing hind leg stretches w/food treats; tugging on wobble board with circus work inbetween on board; some balancing on discs; with food treats in between.
8:00p – Snap goes to her crate
9:30p – Snap out of her crate and looks at Dave; Dave gets his treats and asks for 4 tricks (sit/bang your dead/Parrot & Shake). Afterward, Snap comes to me and I pet her, she lays down by me and I rub her tummy, watching TV.
10:30 – Wake Snap up for potty break; Snap then goes into her crate for the night (I give her a treat – ritual since puppy hood).
0800 – Snap licks my face/Take her to potty/ It’s Sunday, so I stay up and ready my day for church.
0830 – No morning meal today; I say “Want to play with Fat Dog?” She gets all excited, we go to back door, she sits; allowed to go outside and remains there until I get back from church, lunch & visits.
4:00pm – back home; Give Snap her meal
5:00 – Ask Snap if she wants to play some “Frisbee”, tell her to “get your frisbee”, she gets it and goes to front door and sits, waiting for me. I open the door and release her, then we play frisbee with recaller games in between.
1745 – Game ends with “rest”
7:00p – Dave gives Snap a message after she sits and looks at him (another daily ritual x 2 between them)and also does tricks for treats with Dave… brother.
7:30p -Came over to me and licked my hand with eyes/ears up wanting to do ‘something’. I said not right now (wasn’t feeling well) Snap goes to her crate.
9:30p – I feel bad not doing any games with Snap, so I call her and give her a Bully Stick to exercise her mouth.
10:30 – Take Snap for potty break for the night…..she goes into crate and I give her a treat. Good night…
Sorry if this is soo long, but wanted to journal for more than 24 hr. I also want to add that:
When I stop reinforcements and wait for Snap to give me the shape I want; she will give me every shape she remembers; then sometimes she’ll just look at me like she doesn’t undertand; I then will move a step and she usually will begin again. But there have been times when I would throw a treat to reposition her brain and that would break the “what do you want” moments. Good eye opener for me & hubby!
Thank you so much for this eye-opening (popping) article. I can give you an absolute, black and white example of how my kids have been training me.
Every day I make myself a protein smoothie. My little treat to Blyss and Trik are, they get a strawberry or piece of banana or apple. They have to work for it, give a sit or down or pretty or whatever.
Today, I made my smoothie and realized (a-ah) they were watching me intently… knowing they would get a treat. That was my step back.
In their eyes… they stare at me, sit and gee, she’s a pushover, I’ll get a treat!!
Well, today, that all changed!! I waited until they gave up and one went for some water and the other went to lie down. Only then did I surprise them with their treat.
Thank you for yet again the marvelous advise!!
Okay, we’re giving this one a try for the next two days and recording everything online – will reply with our “homework” in two days. Definitely expecting to be surprised by what I am reinforcing as I’ve mostly been thinking only about the reinforced behaviour until now. 🙂
Here’s the short summary from yesterday. Format: reinforcement, trigger, event prior
Daytime: dogs at daycare.
– upbeat voice reinforcement, enthusiastic door greeting w/ no barking, arrived home and opened door.
– “Good boy” verbal, trigger was returning to me, after rushing too far away while going to the car (yikes there’s one already!)
At this point during the day we went to rallyO drop in, which mostly went well since I had this exercise in my head, BUT, here was our big problem that this caught me onto.
– “Good boy!” verbal and next exercise, released the ball tug after an “out” request, but this followed mouthing it refusing to release for quite some time.
So it seems like we are stuck in a constant ask for out, he refuses to release, he finally does release and then I praise and do something fun loop.
– “Good boy!” verbal for coming to me, came away from playing puppies, before this broke a “go to your mat” request to play with puppies (and another one..)
– given evening meal, released from sitting nicely, before sitting he was lying on the mat
– released to go outside, reinforcing sitting at the door, before sitting he was bouncing like a rabbit around the house
– rethrow frisbee, reinforcing bringing the frisbee back, before this he was again mouthing the frisbee refusing to actually give it up on the first request.
– reinforced with kong toy, asked to go kennel, before this was playing with a toy
Thanks for this exercise! Definitely getting some ideas on when I’m creating problems I don’t want, and when I’m creating behaviours I do want. Refusing to give up the tug, and then getting rewarded for giving it up is one of our big problems for sure.
One behavior I have rewarded and shaped is the dogs in the kitchen when I fix their dinner. They used to be all around me around my feet etc. I have a small kitchen and I have to be careful not to step on them. I decided to shape their behavior and reward them when they sat at the edge of the kitchen on our dining room rug. So, every time one of them went to the rug and sat down, I made a huge deal about it! and gave them a cookie.
I did have to leave making dinner over and over again, I have three dogs. Every time they were on the rug I rewarded them. Now all i have to say is “where ya supposed to be?” and they run to the rug. If they come off all I have to do is look at them and they run back to it.
They have to wait until I call each one off the rug to eat.
Now I can prepare their meals without worrying about stepping on them.
I didn’t do this next behavior well in teaching my dogs “enough” when barking. Everytime they barked and I wanted them quiet I said “enough” and put my finger to my lips. They got the message I was sending, only not the one I wanted to teach. They decided it was a game. If they would run to the door and bark and wait for the command “enough” then they would stop barking and run to me. They expected a reward. I didn’t realize I was teaching them to run to the door and bark and then be silent “enough” and they’d get a treat. Timing is so important. I am a new trainer and learning. Your tips in your newsletter will greatly help me. Thanks.
I was taught that you are reinforcing the very last behaviour but now you’ve got me thinking. For example, my 2 year old BC will run up to the tv, aroused, tail curled up when an animal is on the screen, especially if moving, same with team sports like soccer. I say ‘leave it’ and she will turn to me and i treat her for leaving the screen. Depending on the reaction time, it is either verbal praise or food. Now you are making me think I am reinforcing looking at the TV. I can see now I am certainly not ‘punishing’ the behaviour of looking at the screen in an aroused state so perhaps that is why she still does it. She gets to ‘chase’ animals on screen AND get a cookie. Exactly the same thing happens when there are birds in the garden, or sheep bleeting in a field. We are happily playing a game together and/or feeding cookies for good behaviour,shaping etc, then she sees bird fly past or hears a lorry go by and she is off to investigate/chase along the fence. Ultimately I want her to learn that running off without permission is not an option. You have opened my eyes, and got the cogs grinding just need a bit of guidence for the next steps now.
Ps. Puppy Peaks rocks. I don’t know of anything out in dog training World quite like it. It has been invaluable to me. Thanks Susan and team. Im not just saying that so you reply to my post, I truely mean it.
oh dear.. I know I’m gonna fail miserably at this homework – infact I have delayed doing it for a couple of days – so that I could pick a good day – when I have been good… just so that I can show you I am not as bad as I am… but I’m just gonna come clean
Majority of teh times its Poppie that initaitates play, or interacction – whether thats coming up to lie down next to me, or bringing me her toy. She also has toys out constantly.
I enjoy the fact that she wants me as I love when she seeks me out and engages with me.
But its unclear for me – what rules we have… so how can this be clear for her.
I have decided to help us by putting all her toys away, theerfore I will decide when she can have one, and I will put it away. I already know she wont; like this – and I may have a few addtional barks along the way. But I know your right and we don’t have that balance right at the moment.
Pops is in control of the playtime in this house… but I’m hoping I will rein things in a bit – and we will find that balance.. and once I see improvement in our training and her attention in me – I’m sure it will become easier to do.
wish us luck!!
I know this is off topic; however I am having a lot of difficulty with my dog marking on two particular places. I have certain ‘boundaries for my dog’. He does not go upstairs without my permission and he is not allowed in our music room. This morning he romped into the music room, all proud of himself, and when I told him ”out” he deliberately marked against the couch where he has before when going in that room. He knows he is not allowed in there and seems to be saying he does not like that idea! The second spot is against the stairs. If I go upstairs and have him stay downstairs he will sometimes pee against the stair. Again, he seems to be telling me that I’m not doing what he ‘wants’. I seemed to have tried everything that I agree with, yet can’t solve the problem. Do you have some suggestions for me? Thank you so much!! I have appreciated and enjoyed your blog so much and have gotten so many wonderful ideas!
I think there is a danger of over analysing our relationships with our dogs here.If we have to think twice before smiling at our dogs, surely the joy and spontaneity will be lost.
I have never seen a person smile, laugh or have more spontaneous joy in her relationship and every day life with her dogs than Susan. I think the message is to be aware of choices your dog is making and your response but I would still be doing it with a smile.
I have just received the article “Focus for Work”
I have 2 std Poodles (Saran born 31/08/08 and Nikki born 26/05/10)Because I get confused when I read things I need to clarify.
So for 24 hrs I will write down what they do and how they got there rewards is that right.Then I am confused.
My dogs are fed by myself and partner and partner feeds them even when I say not too as I want to work them.
Now Nikki loves chasing birds – if doing a recall off lead she will take off and it could be 3 hours before I get her so I am now training her on lead with extension. Sarah does not stay focused on me.
Will report back in 2 days time.
Guru Garrett, you have again wisely spoken about the mechanics of many households I am sure. Our house is no exception I can assure you.
You have made me focus on the things that I know, but have chosen to overlook, which I know see is of the utmost importance in regards to the training of these handsome little devils – my border collies.
How smart they are, how well they had me trained…..until now…..watch this space
Thank you again Guru Garrett for helping us to see what was infront of us the whole time.
I am not sure I agree with you that the penultimate behavior is the one that is being reinforced in your examples. I understand what you are getting at in examining stacked behaviors that occur before reinforcement, however if you’re using a marker, which I believe one should use prior to reinforcement (food, play,or pet), the marker is not going to be attached to the penultimate behavior.
Rather than focus this exercise on what one doesn’t want to do, how about revisiting proper marking and reinforcement criteria and how to maintain those mechanics.
I find it so much more useful to stay in the moment with my dogs to insure that I am reinforcing behaviors I want appropriately.
Just my humble opinion.
@Amy respectfully let me say that my education and experience doesn’t seem to align with yours however, that doesn’t matter because if you are thrilled with the dog training results you are getting I say, keep on the road you are on!
For the rest of the people who have been reporting here that their findings do support what I am suggesting I strongly encourage you to become very away of the triggers to your dog’s reinforcement and work change your responses that are reinforcing inappropriate prompts from your dog.
Also, let me say that even though markers are an effective dog training tool (and yes the majority of the time I do use a word to mark that which I like) learning really does comes down to reinforcement not markers. I learned many years ago from Bob Bailey, there are times in training when “just chucking food” without a marker can actually be more effective depending upon what you are training. Dogs do what is reinforcing that is all, using a marker for one behaviour unfortunately does not wipe out the dog’s memory of what preceded that response. Dogs are absolutely brilliant at figuring out those patterns of reinforcement if we are going to development the best training relationship possible with our dogs we need to become of aware of these patterns as well.
“Staying in the moment” sounds wonderful and again, if it is getting you the results you want then I am happy for you and your dog! But more often than not I have found if you discount the events leading up to the moment of reinforcement you run the risk of carrying unwanted responses into behaviours you are training.
The focus of this exercise is to become aware of what you want to eliminate, but please remember this is only the first newsletter in this series! Many more suggestions and ideas will be coming, I promise!
Vary good exercise. It really got my thinking. I found I do reinforce good things a lot. Some things need to be changed. The one thing I’m not sure about is, when I go out to the barn for 15min or maybe one hour, I let three dogs (11 yrs 3yrs & 15 months) come along. We always sit to go out of the house and sit for the deck gate but when I release them off the deck it’s race around the yard, wrestle hard, play chase games, this lasts for about five minute’s. Then they calm down and explore checking in with me often. I know they are getting a lot of reinforcement that I’m not a part of, except the initial releasing off the deck to start it all. Is this ok to do?
@John that sounds a bit like my household:). I love watching my dogs enjoy ripping around with each other. However I know if I call any one of them to me in the midst of this they will break off and tear back. That would be my goal. But again I am not suggesting our dogs not have fun, it is that for many dogs that fun needs to be brought back to you .
I did not get a e-mail newsletter today (and I just checked my ISP’s spam location and it’s not there either). This is the SECOND newsletter in a row that I have not received. I had signed up for it a long time ago and received them for quite a while but now it seems I have been deleted from the mailing list. Is there a way to re-send it and also to verify that I am on the list to receive them?
Thanks in advance!
@Laurie, no one ever gets deleted from the newsletter list (unless of course they unsubscribe). My suggestion to you would be to try to sign up again, if you get a message that you are already a subscriber then it is likely your internet provider is filtering us out. Just contact them and ask them to allow emails from sayyesnews @ aweber .com (of course without the spaces). Another option would be to just sign up with another email address. gmail.com and yahoo.com are two I can suggest.
Thanks Susan – apparently I was subscribed with my “backup” Gmail account so found it online at Google Mail. Re-subscribed with my primary e-mail and got the confirmation but when I clicked on the link in the e-mail it took me to the Good Student PDF – is that what is supposed to happen? I’ve been training for nearly 40 yrs but have learned so much from your various blogs and courses and such over the last couple years that I don’t want to miss anything!
Perhaps I should put this here instead of under the other post.
Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 7:14pm
I am on puppy peaks (love it). Last week you had swagger doing head halter games to increase focus during distractions. I used some of these games this week in my warm up before our run. I first worked outside medium level distractions. Then moved inside ringside (Huge distractions ). Her focus this weekend was better than ever I had my dog and saw the D in my dog! We moved to stretching exercises my friend walked up ad started talking to me True never even looked up she maintained focus with all that was going on. Huge improvement! She has great D for work at home even achieving and maintaining focus with our biggest distraction. Unruly neighbor dogs who run the fence and bark non stop while we are in the yard training. No more does she leave to go chase she ignores and continues to work. I should video it they are so loud and obnoxious it is amazing True has been able to overcome this distraction! Puppy peaks and Recallers has been a huge part of our training ! For any doubters this stuff really works. REALLY!! Looking forward to learning more about the new course. Thank you Susan!!
Lyn and True
I think I have been creating a behavior chain of my dog barking to get me to fix his dinner. I usually feed dinner between 5 and 6 in the evening. At 5:15 he will start barking at me. I turn my back and ignore him until he quiets down, then ask for a behavior (sit, down, hand touch, spin) then go fix dinner. He remains sitting while I get dinner ready and until I release him to his bowl to eat. I have been thinking about doing a little bit of CG before he starts barking and have him in the crate while I prepare dinner sometimes feeding in the crate, sometimes releasing to the dish and sometimes recalling him past the dish and then releasing him to the dish. My idea is to mix things up so it’s not always the same pattern before he eats and always before the barking starts. Haven’t quite worked out what to do if he starts barking before we get into the crate games. Maybe leave the room for a couple of minutes or go feed the other dog?
Wow, Having some fun with this! Amazing how fast I began ‘backchaining’ my observations of my heathen horde of Min Pins. I am already spotting some ‘problem areas’ I need to address, but I have also noticed some very good choices from my dogs. Treats for me, while I continue down the Yellow Brick Road of Do-Land!
Great newsletter, which I speed read as I’m a roughly right person, and need to start work. Totally relevant, will definitely do the 24hour chain, I do know what is obviously evident! – my willing to work/play dog becomes obsessed with shadows, runs manically round the house, tears his bed to bits, (cleverly arranging his own parties!) when I’m doing other stuff that doesn’t involve him, like cooking tea, gardening etc, so what do I do……start training him. (who’s is training who???) The training involves maintaining a sit whilst I’m busy, – have to give lots of reinforcement thou. It seriously gets tiring.
Thanks for including me and Mariah, Poodle. The first newsletter is wonderful.
Do you have dates and cost on your upcoming contacts seminar? There are about four online and/or in person seminars/classes coming up and since my last name is not Trump I can’t take them all. They are all very “high value” positive classes and worth the cost but I do have limits. I need to make some decisions soon and arrange my finances accordingly to meet registration deadlines.
@Lori, more information on my Contact Course will be announced later this month and the course will start at the beginning of April. The truth is you are starting the course right now! I just had too much content to include in the course and realized the price would get a bit out of control so I decide to take the first module of the course and give it out to my newsletter subscribers for free . . . hence this series. I am still working on fitting all of the pieces together but as it sits right now it is a 12 week course jammed with all of the pertinent information to contribute to the vision I have of everyone walking away with amazing contacts.
I just can’t do it with a focus exclusively on “contacts” because I know that isn’t the reason my dogs have great contacts . . . there is sooo much more involved. So stuff like reinforcement, play, body awareness etc all contribute to having amazing contacts. BUT, I am empathetic to the fact not everyone can pay $$$$ (so in an effort to keep the price as reasonable as possible, you are reaping the benefits of this first chunk right now).
I know I haven’t exactly answered my question but I think you can get a good idea of what a 12 week course from me might cost and know, I pride myself on over delivering to all of my students so whatever the cost of the course will be, you can count on the fact you will get far, far more than you will ever expect.
I started doing the short tug sessions with my dog for reward and focus and we are absolutely loving it indoors. We are having so much fun and it really keeps him focused. However, he has no interest in tug outside. He loves the motivation of treats outside but ignors when I try to interest him in an energetic tug. Is there anything I can do to give him that drive for tug outdoors? Thank you!
@Cheryl. Grow your tug indoors and try to set up FAILURES indoors so he chooses not to (so you can let him know that is never an option). For example first build value for tugging in the kitchen, living room, den, bedroom, bathroom. Once you have success in every room. Take a handful of high value treats and put them on the kitchen chair and with your dog on leash, ask for a tug beside them. . . likely he will say “no don’t wanna, don’t hafta.” Next you leave the cookies there and to the the next room and see if he will tug . . . likely no. Keep moving to another room further and further from the cookies until he will tug with GREAT joy — no faking — no just mouthing. When you can get the same good tug you know he can give tell him “okay lets go get the cookies” — pull the tug out of his mouth and the two of you run to the kitchen to have a cookie. Then start the game all over again.
So many people make the mistake of allowing the dog to say “I will tug at home but no where else” the key isn’t to get longer tugs at home but to set up a scenario where he DOESN’T want to tug at home and you can make him change his mind about saying “no thanks” to you. Then play this game inside the back door and outside the back door etc.
love love that idea! I am going to try it. I have 3 rescues and I got them when they were about 1 year old. They have missed lots of foundational work, and one doesn’t like toys, the other is timid and learning tug is ok it is not bad, and the other likes to tug but needs refining. This game looks like a lot of fun. I try and play games with the dogs, I want them to have dog joy and to also perfect their skills. Thanks for this idea. sharon and her pups, Bindi, Cody, and Terra.
Okay I am at the very beginning of the relationship and reinforcement and need some help…
an 8wk old puppy who is doing great with shaping and tricks already BUT HATES the crate and puppy pen to the point of screaming,whining,barking incessantly etc etc. I have clicked for entry and covered with a blancket until quiet(doesn’t last long) if need be. I am working “it’s your bed” outside of the crate.
Do I need to concentrate on CG exclusively?
Do I need to let her carry on until she works it out? Or am I creating a phobia or fear of confinement in an 8wk old?
@Debbie, I would shape the bottom of the crate (as it on the Crate Games DVD) or this is something I did with one of the puppies I just brought back from the UK (this I would LOVE to add to the DVD if I could);
1. Put a blanket on the floor in front of the crate, any time the puppy gets 4 paws on the blanket tons of praise and a few cookies thrown on the blanket. I help her find the cookies like a big treasure hunt then tug and get her off the blanket.
2. Pull the tug out of her mouth and wait until she gets on the blanket again and repeat.
3. The third time I have someone fold the blanket in half while I am having my tug party off of the blanket
4. Fourth time blanket is halved again — and I keep halving it until it is small enough to fit into the crate.
5. Stick the blanket half in and half out of the crate and do the same game.
6. Put blanket in the crate and the puppy just charged in — thrown cookies — closed door. When she stopped eating I wait until I see a choice NOT TO CRy then I let her out & tug.
7. Stop tug and wait until she choose the crate and repeat above but this time wait a bit longer before I let her out.
8. By the end of this game I had the puppy quietly lying in the crate for 2 hours while we worked other dogs in front of her (of course we went back and rewarded her occasionally.
Thanks so much Susan that sounds like such a good breakdown of the game.
Don’t know why this is such an issue for an otherwise smart confent high drive puppy.
Great newsletter! It helped me realize how I am reinforcing my Sheltie when she barks in the house. Time to change.
Oh my goodness, just realized what I’ve
done….problem solved, sorry about that.