Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

Okay - this one is going to be where you teach your dog to discriminate between items based on what you call the item. So you might have a "BALL" and a "FRISBEE" and a "TOY" and a "DISH", etc. The number of items you want to teach is up to you (base it on your amount of time and the training level of your particular dog).

Now, because not all dogs retrieve, the dog can indicate the item in whatever manner you want to teach. He can bring it to you (if he retrieves), he can go to it and touch it with nose or paw, etc. Be consistent with whatever you choose.

THE END RESULT:

When you say the name of the item, the dog goes to that item and either retrieves it or indicates it. At least two other items should be available too so that the dog has to deliberately pick the right one. If you have a dog that is more advanced (or already knows the names of items) then make it more difficult by teaching several items, putting them all in a box where the dog has to actually pull out the correct item, or make the items less visible so the dog has to search for it a bit.

I'm going to try this with Khana, who is my Service Dog. She has been taught to retrieve but I want to add more words into the mix. I'd like her to seek out and bring me my keys and I think I'll do socks too .. *L* .. I can send her to my socks and she'll bring them, but she doesn't know the word for them. With this cold weather it's handy if your dog knows how to find your socks!

Good luck, and looking forward to the discussions! Please, anyone out there who wants to join in, do so! This is not just for dog trainers, it's to encourage everyone to do fun and even helpful training activities with their dogs.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 09:27 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

Sounds great!! I think we'll start working on it tonite after dinner.

~Jamie~
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 09:34 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination



How would I go about teaching this? My mind is spinning with all sorts of ideas, but I'm really not sure what the best way would be.

Right now we just say "Oh, you've got your lamb." or "Get the ball" as we're playing. I know that he doesn't know the difference because when I say "get the ball" sometimes he brings the lamb, or the sweet potato, or the . . . .

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 09:58 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

I am so going to start this today!!! Good pick!

Missing Alex
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 11:42 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

Good one, Melanie!

I have taught this for four items: Monkey (stuffed monkey), Jack (stuffed toy shaped like a jack from the game of "jacks"), Black Kong (his smaller black kong), and "Red Kong." Now that I think about it, he also knows the difference between "ball" (any small fetch ball) and "big ball" (any bigger ball like Jolly Balls).

Yesterday we worked on him picking up toys by name and depositing them in a wastebasket and he's catching on QUICK. He knows he has to get the toy in there or near there but he's still trying to get his "aim" down.... boy troubles. I also managed to break one of our drinking glasses in the process of rewarding him. Go me!

Awhile back I was making progress on getting Renji to pick up dropped laundry.... I have to start that back up.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 11:49 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

Oh, this is how I teach it for my dog with a great "fetch drive": I grab a toy, and then I show it to him and just start blabbering the name of the toy. "Renji, Red Kong! Red Kong!" Then I toss it after he's all excited about it. "Go get your Red Kong! Get your Red Kong!" Then he brings it to me all happy and stuff and when I praise I include the name of the toy as well. Then I add a second toy (less favorite) and put the two on the floor and point to the Red Kong, telling him to get his Red Kong while focusing on it. I "oops" him if he goes for the other one. It's not long before he realizes that the toy has an identification just like he himself has. Then I do the same procedure with the other toy.

The real test is putting them next to each other. He still likes to pick up his preferences but I encourage him to get what I specify and he soon complies, then we play games with the toy. To keep his brain sharp, we involve several toys at once, and when he gets me the proper toy, we play fetch with it as a reward. It's great to give him the request for a toy and see him think for a second, then dash off to hunt down his toy!

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 12:42 PM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

Ris is a bit like Renji. She knows the names of some of her toys but will generally pick up the one she wants at the moment. Not necessarily the one I requested.

I'm not 100% sure how we're going to go about training this. Seems every time I think and type out what I'm going to do ahead of time I end up needing to change it. Either what I thought of doesn't work or, in the process of working with Risa, I come up with something better.

I do like Diana's idea, though, of getting her all revved about the toy.

~Jamie~
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 01:28 PM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

I tried it with chocolate and peanut butter, but poor Kuno got all confused and wound up getting peanut butter on the chocolate. Turned out, it was a great accident... I thought we had invented a great new taste, until I realized it's been done.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 02:17 PM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

Diana,

That is a fantastic idea. I spend so much time picking up toys these days. Maybe as we work on this I can teach him to put his own toys away!

Thanks for the training tip too. We'll try to teach him the name of one toy this week. Probably the lamb since it is his all time favorite.

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 02:44 PM
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Re: Training Challenge #2 - Item Discrimination

But seriously, it's a good idea. Kuno already knows the name of several of his toys - and things that are not supposed to be his, but he thinks they are. Since he has several balls, I try to give each one a unique name based on some characterisic or something.

Another fun thing to do once they know the name of a toy is to hide it (or just allow them to forget where it is) and tell them to go find it.
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