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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Hind leg work

So I've been trying to teach my dog how to put all four paws in a box or even to just get her two hind paws on a book with no luck. Front paws, no problem. I put done a book/box and she is on it right away. But just can't seem to get her to do the hind legs. Any suggestions?

Thanks
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 06:18 PM
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This genius method brought to you by my favorite trainer- SG. You're going to love the simplicity.

...Simply put out TWO books. The dog puts their front feet on one book (a behavior they already know [or should know prior to attempting this]) and then their back legs are free to find the back book.

Another option is to ask for the back end to not just find some object, but also go up the object by propping a board against the wall:


Willy
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Last edited by wildo; 05-29-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 06:35 PM
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I will note that my girl has a LOT of reinforcement for compression (all four legs on one small object). I mean a lot... I didn't realize that working extension is really just as important. So when I started working on training a handstand a week ago, I was also struggling with all four feet on the object that I only wanted the back feet on. I used the two book method to teach extension. It took one shaping session of about three mins. From there, we have moved to the handstand board I built... So it's VERY possible to get the behavior your looking for. Just grab your clicker and a second perch.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Wildo. I'll try using the two books. The goal is eventually going to be the hand stand. I spend a half hour everyday at lunch trying to teach her silly new tricks. Everything has been fairly easily until this point.

Just so I'm clear. Get her front feet on a perch, then place a second perch/book in the area that her back feet will hit while circling?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 12:15 PM
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Just so I'm clear. Get her front feet on a perch, then place a second perch/book in the area that her back feet will hit while circling?
Personally- I would not do it this way. This way has way too much human involvement for my tastes. The dog isn't particularly learning anything other than that there happens to be something in the way of their feet while circling the perch.

Instead, I would simply free shape it. You said that your dog has a lot of value for the perch. This should mean that your dog proactively will run to the perch and stand on it when the dog sees it. If this is the case, then the dog should already have a mindset of putting its feet on stuff. So put out two books at a proper distance apart so the dog can stand on them, and then just sit there with a clicker and treats. The dog should already start trying to perch with all four on the a book. Don't reward it. When the dog finds that this is not gaining reinforcement like it has in the past, they will likely start getting frustrated and will start moving its feet around trying to get on the single perch from multiple entry directions. I would click/treat for ANY rear foot movement that is close to the back book. And then just shape the feet to get closer and closer to the back book. If you have value for standing on things- this really shouldn't be too tough. The main thing is to know your criteria and be clear in your reinforcement. For me, the criteria would be ANY rear foot movement towards any of the two books. Remember the front book is there only to give the dog something to do with his front feet while focusing on the back feet. So you don't really care about the front feet as part of the criteria (as long as the front feet aren't also on the same perch as the rear feet).

Here's a training plan for the handstand that I wrote up for my advanced shaping class I am taking right now.
______________

Objective: Handstand
The handstand is a body awareness trick used to teach the dog weight transfer, rear foot awareness, build core strength and front end muscle development. This trick will not likely be fully trained at the end of the course, as it is too intense for just a single month of training. I want the foundations in place at the end of the month so that the behavior is at least half way there.

Handstand Criteria
For the course, I want Pimg to independently be seeking out objects to prop her back legs on. This may be a stack of books, a stool, or whatever. I do not intend to have her using a vertical wall as a prop for this course. Eventually we will work to that level, but it's not likely that Pimg will gain this skill that fast. Other criteria would be a proper nose touch while her rear legs are perched on the stacked object.

Splitting Behaviors
· Build value for perching with front legs only a block
· Build value for perch position by asking for hand touch while maintaining position
· Build value for perching with all legs on the block (working compression)
· Shape position where front legs are on a separate block as rear legs (working extension)
· Shape extension where rear legs are higher than front legs
· Build value for extension on blocks through requiring hand touch
· Continue to raise rear block to the point where a slight hop is required to get rear legs on block

Value Building- Front Leg Perch
Pimg already has massive value for the perch behavior, including hand touching while in perch

Value Building- Compression Perch
Pimg already has massive value for the perch behavior in compression.

Shaping- Extension Perch
I will start by placing a two large blocks very close to each other. I will ask Pimg for a perch and reward her for front paws on the front block and rear paws on the rear block. This should be simple shaping based on her value for the perch behavior. Foreseen problems may be that she will attempt to get all legs onto the front block. If this happens, I will use a much smaller front block with a much larger rear block. I will C/T for any independent movement of rear legs to rear block. I will reset by tossing a treat away from the blocks. I will not proceed to the next level until Pimg can perform an extension perch with equal size blocks that are not touching each other.

Value Building- Raising Rear Block
With value from the extended perch position in place, I will begin raising the rear block slowly up. I will C/T for proper rear foot placement. Foreseen issues here would be in her inability to step up with her back legs. Accounting for this would be simply to adjust the height in smaller increments.

Value Building- Maintaining Positional Criteria
Before adjusting the rear block up a notch, I will require proper hand touching while holding position. I will not raise the rear block until I have low (near the floor) hand touches, or nose targeting if that behavior is available.

Shaping- Rear Leg Hoping
Eventually the rear block will be high enough that Pimg will need to hope her rear legs up in order to get her feet up on the block. For this I will C/T for an behavior that represents attempts to hop up. At first, she will not likely be able to hop completely up. I will click for effort remembering to only click average or better attempts.

Willy
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Last edited by wildo; 05-30-2012 at 12:20 PM.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Great info thank you.

And of course when I tried to start at lunch today my clicker stopped working!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 02:31 PM
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I did some training at lunch to hopefully help you out. I'm not sure if it will help you or not. To be honest, I felt my criteria was a bit loose and therefore I wasn't getting the clarity in behavior I was looking for. It's all a learning process...

Also- I was going to start with showing some quick compression to start out, but found she was having an issue with compression. So I spent a whole session on that. Then at the end of my lunch break, I also did some work in extension.


One thing I noticed is that Pimg isn't really "searching" with her rear feet in extension like she is in compression. When I'm asking her to compress, you can see her moving all of her feet around trying to get them under herself. But in extension, she will put her back feet on an object and then move her front feet to the second object. This shows that she needs more awareness in her back end, so I'll make a note in my training journal about this and work more rear end stuff- like spinning on a perch, backing up, and the handstand board work. Anyway- hope this all helps... You just so happened to have a question about something I'm specifically focusing on right now.

Oh- lastly- my training sessions are WAY too long. I really want to keep them under five mins. Shame on me for not setting a time. Pimg easily frustrates in shaping, but she has great work ethic and pushes through frustration pretty well.

Willy
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Last edited by wildo; 05-30-2012 at 02:33 PM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 10:21 AM
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To teach compression (4 paws on one object), I found it was easier to start with a larger book/box. If it's big enough that they can more easily get all 4 on, then you can build value for the position (like you've already done with front 2 on). Then, use a smaller and smaller box. I tend to start a session with the bigger perch and do several reps of rewarding for the position I care about this time (ie. today we're doing 4 on). Then, once the dog has figured out and is consistently offering the goal behaviour, do a relationship building break (ie tugging) as a big reward, and simultaneously change the setup, removing the big perch and moving to a slightly smaller one.

This worked a lot better for me than just trying to shape all 4 on a small perch, because like you, my dog had a lot of value for front 2 on. I think the perch was small enough, and his hind end awareness still poor enough, that he didn't know how to offer a 3 or 4 on - so I managed the environment to set him up for success.

Willy - nice IYC work with the treats on the floor! Pimg is totally interested in them, but making good choices We're currently struggling with extension - Sprocket is showing a lot of the same behaviours as Pimg. The movement is almost all in his front end, and there's a lot of spinning involved. I'm considering doing our next session against a wall to limit the available directions he can go.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 10:29 AM
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Stellae- did you catch the Contacts Coaching call last night? Susan mentioned that a lot of longer dogs (she says "...like Shepherds, for example") display this behavior quite often where they have ok rear end awareness, but it is still driven from the front. She mentioned two things to try:
1) create a labyrinth on the floor for the dog to walk through
2) while the dog is standing on a travel plank, run a pencil down their back and down their legs, almost tickling them

I tried out the labyrinth last night and was shocked by just how much Pimg chose to use her rear to turn through it. Give it a shot!

Willy
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildo View Post
Stellae- did you catch the Contacts Coaching call last night? Susan mentioned that a lot of longer dogs (she says "...like Shepherds, for example") display this behavior quite often where they have ok rear end awareness, but it is still driven from the front. She mentioned two things to try:
1) create a labyrinth on the floor for the dog to walk through
2) while the dog is standing on a travel plank, run a pencil down their back and down their legs, almost tickling them

I tried out the labyrinth last night and was shocked by just how much Pimg chose to use her rear to turn through it. Give it a shot!
I haven't been able to get to the Coaching Call yet - I was sick over the long weekend, and have fallen behind with training (hard to do much of anything with ear infections that change your perception of where the ground is). So I've spent the last couple of days trying to catch up. Honestly, I forgot it had even until you mentioned it today! I'll have to go watch the recording. I like the idea of a labyrinth!
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