Toy Reward Training -Capping drive/normal obedience - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Toy Reward Training -Capping drive/normal obedience

I am trying to approach the difficulty with excitement my 19 month old has while on walks. My dog is a mix SL/WL and as she gets closer to 2 it seems she is leaning more to needing the type of training a working dog requires in regards to a toy reward.

She has incredible drive and intensity. If we're just in the house or yard - her focus is extreme with great eye contact. She's a screecher and will tremble or cry for that second the ball is released or that door is opened. She will sit and obey but it does nothing to "dampen the drive".

So I viewed a couple of Leerburg tapes and think the tug can help me with this, we're already halfway there and she will probably pick up this new form of the game very quickly.

Question. I understand this is primarily used just as a temporary interruption to momentarily stop an action and then reward and resume. If I carry the tug with me on our walks (my ultimate goal - to improve her over the top reactions to people and other dogs). to use as a reward for good heel and not reacting to distractions - will it work? I have seen it recommend but it seems to conflict.....

The tug and reward will incite her to a higher level of excitement. I'm trying to dampen her level of excitement.....???
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 03:01 PM
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Just guessing here...I think the tug gives the dog an acceptable outlet for the excitement.You are redirecting rather than rewarding?

Terri

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Well Dogma - Redirection and an acceptable outlet is always what I've used thought of it as, but;

If you look at the way the treat or tug is used with working dogs - I think it's a reward just as a food treat would be except some dogs are more oriented to toy instead of treat.

This is the thing I am coming to realize with my pup. If she has this drive, I think I better work with it and accommodate it. Redirect or treat training has it's limits - the tug carried and concealed seems to hold more promise because with a ball drive dog it seems to be like a shot of heroin to a junkie..... bad analogy maybe but their level is higher and I think they need that "hit".

It's like there is this overwhelming itch they have that can't be satisfied in any other way and it's hardwired into them and requires more "working with" than distracting temporarily.....

That said, I know awesome things can be done with a dog with high ball drive - but, unless it's managed properly in a pet home - wow - I can see how it has the potential to be a negative attribute. I really have no desire to stifle her drive for ball or prey but I know I need to manage it, but not necessarily trying to cram her into a box that she is just not wired for... hard to explain.

My concern in watching her develop between 1 & 1.5 years of age is leading me to believe I need to work with this in a different way and appeal to the "ball junkie" in her for more advanced training because we are stuck. The difference is like night and day - treat training 70% attention - praise training 60% - ball or tug 110%+ and instantaneous obedience lol - You might get the "S" sound (for sit) or "la" sound (for laydown) but they are doing it before you can finish the word... and all for the tug or ball and they are totally engaged and soooo happy!

My dog has all her basic manners down and it seems consistently,that our demon is her drive when it's there and we are not training. That's why the reference to "capping drive" attracted me to look further on the other post.

I don't know - a little confused but I think its something I need to have a clearer understanding about to work with this dog.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 06:54 PM
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Ok,I see what you mean now.

Terri

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 07:40 PM
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SV,
It is a matter of teaching the dog to contain itself or "cap." A drivey dog can easily be taught if you are extremely consistent. it is more than taking a toy out and rewarding. You need to be consistent in every aspect of the dog's life. Teach the dog focus and to wait for it's reward. Teach eye contact and reward, then extend the time for the reward. I have extremely high prey drive dogs, higher than most would be able to handle then I build that drive even higher. When I was training Boomer as a young dog for IPO, there were days when a training revolution was 10 minutes of focused attention. Sitting at my side in the heel or basic position, looking up at my face for 10 minutes straight. If eh looked away the clock was reset and we started over. Really boring for me, but I wanted that super focus for the entire 10 minute obedience routine. You can pour water on Boomer's head and he will not look away, not for a second. I have walked Boomer through crowds of thousands of people at nationally televised Football games and he will heel with complete focus.

That started with 1 -2 seconds then built into 10, 20 30 seconds then minutes. I am very consistent with all my dogs. Sit, stay and focus before going out the door. Sit, stay and Focus when I put the food bowl down. A few seconds to start then it builds into minutes. When a dog learns to cap for all different behaviors, then you start to get results.

This is teaching capping. But, it is not just for toys, it is for everything. The new dog I have is extremely driven, hard and pushy. On my scale of drive of 0 - 10, this dog is an 11. He is a handful and has springs for legs and will push for what he wants. He had a habit of barking for a toy and getting amped up the first day. Bouncing over my head 6 -7 feet in the air. I used the same principles, sit and wait before you come out of the kennel. Sit before you go into the car or out of the car. Sit and wait before we walk out of the gate. Barking gets the dog nothing, demanding gets the dog nothing. Sitting and waiting is paid and rewarded. The dog is super high drive and has learned to contain himself and cap. No corrections are involved, just a negative marker and patience. When the dog learns how to get his reward he will do it. If the kennel door won't open until the dog is calm, he will learn to sit and remain calm until the door opens. Then he must sit and wait while the kennel or house door is open. Again, no corrections, no force, just patience and teaching the dog how to work for his reward. It sets boundaries and easily lets the dog know, in a non confrontational way who is in charge.

For Boru this is extremely important, because he will nail a person for his toy. He is very possessive and I do not want to get bit. Today, we worked on the toy issue and he showed total focus and no aggression. A big deal for me, because last week he lit up his leash when I pulled him away from his toy. One of my goals for the next two weeks is to teach this dog how to cap and how to focus on me. When you put a dog like him into drive and and stress him out, frustration can be a big issue. The focus and capping drills we are doing are paying off and designed to maintain him in a calm state during extreme chaos, which will occur in the future.

Remember, in dog training there is only black and white, there are no grey areas. When your dog learns what earns the reward, then those behaviors are given. The other behaviors, which do not get rewards are not repeated.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

Jim

Last edited by Slamdunc; 02-06-2016 at 07:43 PM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Jim-

That's explained as black and white as it is black and white. My largest problem has been lack of "helpers". I just found the two guys who have their dogs trained to a "tee" tonight. They will be her "helpers" so - that's something else I need to learn - how to tell her "friends" or "strangers" as they will play both parts. But, that is down the road.

I think I have an understanding and it's a matter for me of stop over analysing and do and do 100% of the time.... A response or B response.

Thank You. Will report on progress- going to be pretty interesting. Sometime- when we lock eyes - it's not intimidating to me - but intriguing and makes me think - you my pup are ready for the next level and I am sorry I didn't get you there before you had to announce it to me. They actually want it- they actually need it - they actually have to have it.....IMO
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 01:02 PM
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See if this makes sense Stone, the type of control Jim is explaining is going to be more useful then the tugging or toy focused capping exercises. Its more along the lines of allowing free movement after control. You heel, you get to explore when I say so. You sit in the kennel, you get to come out when I say so. Its a much calmer level of things then the anticipation of playing.

Its easier, I think to generalize those types of control to all different situations then just toys. You can go ahead and play around distractions and that's fine for a lot of things, but the basic control and manners you're looking for don't need to be dependent on toys. The freeing up can be enough.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 02:10 PM
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^ Impulse control should be a lifestyle thing. For me, it's just basic manners that apply no matter what the circumstances. The more the dog "gets" that certain behavior is what makes good things happen, the more generalized that kind of behavior becomes.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 02:51 PM
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SV,
Steve and Cassidy's Mom probably put it more succinctly and clearer than I did. They have hit the nail on the head. I do use a ball on a rope to train, or a kong on a rope to train. But, with dogs lacking "impulse control" (good way of putting it), I teach a behavior with food first. Whether it is coming to the basic position, sit by my left side, sit, down or to heel, I start with food. For high prey or ball drive dogs, I find food makes for a clearer head in the "teaching" phase of an exercise. Once the dog understands the exercise, then I will make it work for it's toy. There are advantages and disadvantages to working dogs with a toy, tug, ball, etc. One advantage is that it puts the dog into higher drive, but the disadvantage can be the loss of precision initially. Higher drive means the dog will work longer to get it's reward. Higher drive also gives the dog the means to handle corrections better. When in drive dogs are more resilient. But, too much drive and the dog can become frantic. It is a balancing act.

I prefer to teach an exercise in a lower drive state, train the exercise in drive and then proof the exercise. Just taking a high drive dog out and trying to teach a behavior with a toy is very frustrating. A dog that is wound up for it's toy will have a lot of problems "containing" itself enough to learn how to get the toy. The dog will get more excited, more frantic and you will wind up pulling your hair out. A dog that bounces, jumps and snaps for his toy is going to be hard to settle and train. Now, teach that same dog "impulse control" and there is a different dog altogether. A dog that comes out to train, totally focused on you, pushing you to work, ignoring everything else, because the world revolves around you. Giving the behaviors that you request, because the dog knows that the reward is coming.

When dogs have learned that the positive behaviors are reinforced and rewarded they repeat those behaviors. The toy is not the same as food, because the drive for the toy is so high with a dog like yours.

Start out slow and be patient. Break what ever exercise that you want to teach your dog into the most basic or fundamental components. Sit and stay, means teaching the sit then the stay. Heeling requires the dog to understand the position, the "finish" and how to walk next to you with his shoulder at your left knee. The finish is taught separately and heeling is taught literally, one step at a time. You can break the heeling down further into teaching body awareness and swinging it's butt to the left or right.

Remember dogs learn by repetition and it takes at least 30 reps to start to learn a behavior, probably more like a 100. It takes many more reps to actually become proficient in a behavior. I'm sure someone smarter than me can give us more accurate numbers. Starting with the everyday "capping" or impulse control is the beginning. Once you do that consistently, everything else seems to fall in place so much faster and easier.

Again, I would start with food, then go to the toys. Be consistent and very patient. Make the praise and reward very meaningful to your dog. There is nothing that I like more than seeing a dog happy in it's work. A happy dog, in drive doing correct OB is really a nice thing to see.

Good luck.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

Jim
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 04:47 PM
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This is my favorite impulse control game, and it's totally appropriate for even a young puppy:


I add eye contact as an additional criteria. It's basically a default "leave it", (uncued) where the dog learns that ignoring the food, or toy, or whatever else you want to generalize it to, is what earns them the food. I did this every day when Halo was a puppy, using part of her lunch kibble.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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