teaching article indication - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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teaching article indication

I'm having some difficulty teaching articles on the track.

Some background:
My dog is 18 months old and has been tracking since 10 weeks (well, tracking meaning the usual tracking progression).

He's good with corners, serpentines, and the food rewards are done randomly now (sometimes every step, sometimes every 3 steps, 5 steps, sometimes in bunches, etc).

He's a little fast, but we are working on it.

Overall, he enjoys tracking and does not give up on the track or get too stressed - I put as little stress as possible on him and haven't had any problems with motivation so far.

As far as articles - We started by placing the article on a small Tupperware container with food in the container at the end of the track (key phrase I guess would be that we introduced articles on the track). I would have him platz by command and then open the container and let him have the food and end the tracking. Eventually he would platz by himself when reaching the end.

The problem is since I removed the container. He sees the article and I tell him "platz" and he lays down. Then I feed him from my hand by dropping the food on the article and on the ground where the article was after I pick it up. But he won't platz until I tell him. I'm afraid he's not making the association between the article and the command.

I was wondering what I can do and if I can have some advice on techniques to teach article indication. I read some people like to work articles away from the track and use more compulsion but I don't know how to do it and don't want to mess anything up with tracking.

Can someone give me some advice on how to teach article indication?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 11:27 AM
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Have you tried teaching the article off the track- I did it using a clicker-not sure if it helps to teach it off the track but it is something that you could try
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 11:43 AM
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Since he will auto down for a tupperware at the end of the track, you could try using that association to help him make the leap to understanding articles by initially using the same little tupperware as an article on the track itself, not just at the end. Couple tracks with little tupperwares of jackpots on the track so he learns that they don't only happen at the very end. Then put an article on top of the tupperware to associate those two together, then fade the tupperware.

Personally I've not found with my dogs that teaching articles on the track itself works. Not just the occasional article on a regular track any way like some people do. In big part that's because I don't track as much as I should so they just aren't getting enough repetition to make the association.

I know some people have good luck teaching articles completely separate from tracking. Often using markers/clickers and just randomly tossing out articles and having the dog indicate them and get rewarded for doing so. I tried that with one dog and didn't care for the results. I didn't find that it translated to articles on a track very well and also that it made him too aware of items near the track and for a long while was too willing to leave the track to check out, and possibly indicate, items off the track. Which seemed like a natural, but undesireable, by product of a dog learning to indicate things randomly tossed about on the ground. But I know other people who have great success with this method. Just isn't for me.

I've had the most success teaching articles using article tracks. It doesn't completely divorce articles from tracking like the off the track method does, but allows me to get in a lot more repetition than just teaching them on the track, without really disturbing or interfering with the rest of tracking training.

I'll lay a short, heavily laid, simple track with 10-15 articles on it, spaced 15-20 paces apart. Usually I put a couple pieces of food on top of each article to make sure the dog stops and gets the nose down there to the article. But it depends on the dog really. Then I help the dog to down at each article and praise and treat lavishly when they do. Doing it this way has worked well for me for multiple dogs. I'm able to get in lot more repetitions in a shorter period of time (compared to just doing them on the track) and that seems to really speed up the dog making the connection that the article is essentially a substitute for the down command. I don't use any compulsion for this, just halt the dog with the line so they can't ignore or move past the article. When doing article tracks I don't care about how the dog actually tracks in between articles and don't focus on that. I continue working regular tracking but keep them separate, not in the same session.

Then once the dog really understands articles on those article tracks, I go back to putting articles on the track and then it tends to take only one or two simple reminders for the dog to start indicating articles on real tracks as well as he did on the article tracks.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Wild View Post
Since he will auto down for a tupperware at the end of the track, you could try using that association to help him make the leap to understanding articles by initially using the same little tupperware as an article on the track itself, not just at the end. Couple tracks with little tupperwares of jackpots on the track so he learns that they don't only happen at the very end. Then put an article on top of the tupperware to associate those two together, then fade the tupperware.

Personally I've not found with my dogs that teaching articles on the track itself works well. In big part that's because I don't track as much as I should so they just aren't getting enough repetition to make the association.

I know some people have good luck teaching articles completely separate from tracking. Often using markers/clickers and just randomly tossing out articles and having the dog indicate them and get rewarded for doing so. I tried that with one dog and didn't care for the results. I didn't find that it translated to articles on a track very well and also that it made him too aware of items near the track and for a long while was too willing to leave the track to check out, and possibly indicate, items off the track. Which seemed like a natural, but undesireable, by product of a dog learning to indicate things randomly tossed about on the ground. But I know other people who have great success with this method. Just isn't for me.

I've had the most success teaching articles using article tracks. It doesn't completely divorce articles from tracking like the off the track method does, but allows me to get in a lot more repetition than just teaching them on the track, without really disturbing or interfering with the rest of tracking training.

I'll lay a short, heavily laid, simple track with 10-15 articles on it, spaced 15-20 paces apart. Usually I put a couple pieces of food on top of each article to make sure the dog stops and gets the nose down there to the article. But it depends on the dog really. Then I help the dog to down at each article and praise and treat lavishly when they do. Doing it this way has worked well for me for multiple dogs. I'm able to get in lot more repetitions in a shorter period of time (compared to just doing them on the track) and that seems to really speed up the dog making the connection that the article is essentially a substitute for the down command. I don't use any compulsion for this, just halt the dog with the line so they can't ignore or move past the article. When doing article tracks I don't care about how the dog actually tracks in between articles and don't focus on that. I continue working regular tracking but keep them separate, not in the same session.

Then once the dog really understands articles on those article tracks, I go back to putting articles on the track and then it tends to take only one or two simple reminders for the dog to start indicating articles on real tracks as well as he did on the article tracks.
That bolded section is exactly the association I'd like my dog to make... Chris, do you give a command to platz in the beginning or do you just stop the dog from advancing and hope that he gives you the behavior (downing at the article) himself?
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 01:17 PM
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I agree with Holland and teach the articles off the track and then reintroduce back to track.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayoitzrimz View Post
That bolded section is exactly the association I'd like my dog to make... Chris, do you give a command to platz in the beginning or do you just stop the dog from advancing and hope that he gives you the behavior (downing at the article) himself?
The dog can't know what I want if I don't tell him, so at first I always say platz as the dog's nose hits the article. Usually doesn't seem to take long before the dog starts platzing as soon as the nose hits the article, without the verbal command. Might still need a slight pop for a while as a reminder, but not for very long (dog is on a fursaver, not a pinch, so it's just a reminder not a correction). I'm always right up with my dog when doing article tracks, not way back on the line, so I can see the article and get my timing right for the command, and reward the dog right away.


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 02:33 PM
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I don't track currently as I'm focusing on air-scent (SAR), but I've been seeing a lot of dogs learn tracking ropes recently!

They have all learned the article independently of the track and it seems to be working very well for all of them.

I'm fairly inexperienced using the table for tracking and have only seen it used with some amount of compulsion, but it seems to me that it would be fairly easy to incorporate teaching the article on the table only using shaping/clicker.

An idea from someone who has only used the table for non-tracking related things....

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 03:07 PM
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I have never heard of a table in conjunction with tracking training...


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 03:21 PM
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A long table can be used to teach the articles (puts the dog at a better height for the handler), but I know it is used more to teach the such-platz.

I teach articles on the track. I have never had luck teaching them off of the track. I will lay a short track, put out 4-5 LARGE (4X4) articles with food on top of them. The food stops my dog, I help him into a down with light line pressure and my voice, then drop food on the articles while praising, show the dog the article, praise more food, pick up article, more food, then point to the ground and restart them. Eventually the dog will down on his own at which point I remove the food. Now, after saying this, I did remove the food much sooner for Deja and just helped her at each article. This made FAR more sense to her and she is now downing on articles on her own. I am now doing the same with Donovan. Of course they get the wonderful praise and treats dropped on the article, I pick up the article to show the "judge" they get more praise and food and then we restart.

Suffice it to say, you MUST know where your articles are located at all times.

Lisa Clark

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 03:36 PM
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Ah, the such-platz table thingy. Ok, now I know what you mean.


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