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Discussion Starter #1
I have been watching videos of a number of different trainers work and play with young dogs. This morning I decided to record myself training Ole to see the relationship from a different perspective.

Once, I got over the shock of seeing a chubby old guy with grey hair working with my dog..... I noticed a distinct difference in how Ole and I react toward food rewards and how (what I consider) good trainers work with food treats.

I and other newbies seem to use the treats as bribes to get the dog to do what we want. More experienced trainers give off a feeling so that the dog knows he is going to get a reward if he can figure out what the trainer wants them to do.

Any thoughts on how I can go from bribery to anticipation? Or is it just a matter of practice and confidence on both the part of the dog and me.
 

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Practice and repetition.

Luring to get the dog to do the behaviour you want, is akin to bribery.This is the early stage of learning something.
As the dog masters a behaviour, you demand more of the dog to earn the reward.

Example:teaching heel:

-At first the dog is literally following your hand with a treat in it. At this point the treat is literally leading the behaviour. (luring)

-Later, you move the hand to a position where the dog's head is where you want it. you reward as a response to the dog doing what you want. The intervals between treating get longer and the expectation on position becomes more precise.(shaping)

-Finally, you ween where the treating is not all of the time. Sometimes you treat, sometimes only praise, sometimes you use a toy. (Finishing)
 

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When teaching a puppy how to to position it's body to perform the command correctly luring(bribing)is a tried and true method.When you are 100% sure puppy knows the cue word and hand signal give the treat after completion.Keep the treats in your pocket or pouch,not in your hand.Fade the treats out little by little and replace with enthusiastic praise.
 

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Luring is useful, but it isn't what teaches/reinforces the dog's behavior. A reinforcer always follows and increases the behavior. Otherwise, it is not a reinforcer. With luring, you eventually want to fade it after the dog has sufficiently learned the behavior. This is where clicker/marker training is so important as well as timing, frequency of reinforcement, reinforcing the correct behavior, and making sure the potential reinforcer has high enough value to the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks,
I have seen the terms lure, shaping, and finishing before. I didn't internalize them.

I tried to be much more aware of where my hands were when working with Ole today. He is most responsive when I have a treat in my hand, slightly less responsive when I have my hand in my treat pocket, and significantly less responsive when my hands are empty out of my pockets. It looks like he has been training me instead of the other way around.
 

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Once, I got over the shock of seeing a chubby old guy with grey hair working with my dog
You are funny. Well, I like to think Rumo and I look like Game of Thrones (I like to pretend he's my big white direwolf). But then we walk by a store window and I'm like, hmm, average lady in fleece jacket with a mild-mannered sniffing pet on a leash...

Anyway, on bribe vs reward...

In first class we practiced simply saying "Yes!" and give a treat. Dog learns that "Yes!" means a treat is coming. I thought this was stupid and repetitive, my dog thought it was great!
Then, class 2... a Sit or Down or Come, then say "Yes!" and give treat.
Then, after that's learned, the command, but the treat is no longer visible (it's closed in your hand or in pocket). But you still say "Yes!" happily afterward and give the reward.
Then, after they are consistent with no visible treat, begin giving treat at random intervals (and intervals get further apart).
Things become habitual...behaviors that I used to actively teach/reward (like loose leash walk) become a habitual way of behaving. And Rumo has done a Sit in the line at a crowded Petsmart without any food in sight. I think there is a bit of shepherd nature that has an innate drive to obey / work for their humans...for them, it's not all about the food.
 

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Thanks,
I have seen the terms lure, shaping, and finishing before. I didn't internalize them.

I tried to be much more aware of where my hands were when working with Ole today. He is most responsive when I have a treat in my hand, slightly less responsive when I have my hand in my treat pocket, and significantly less responsive when my hands are empty out of my pockets. It looks like he has been training me instead of the other way around.

Really good observation! Now you know...dogs pay much more attention to body language than humans...

Good first step, now watch with that in mind...

The more you understand your dog, the better your communication with him will be. Good on ya!
 

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So glad you recorded yourself. We learn so better when we see ourselves from a different viewpoint. Seeing ourselves can be humbling. I now consider what I wear when I train my dogs and if the camera will be focusing on my rear end. ?
 

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I have seen the terms lure, shaping, and finishing before. I didn't internalize them.
Shaping is where you mark and reward tiny incremental steps towards the final behavior you want. There is no verbal cue, you're not telling the dog what to do, you're simply waiting for him to do it. Good timing is important. You can either use a verbal marker or a clicker. An example of shaping a mat or "place" cue would be where you'd initially mark and reward the dog for any interaction with the mat at all, even just looking at it. Then, maybe taking a step towards it, then sniffing it or putting one foot on it, then two feet, then all four feet, then laying down on it (I often cue a down at first, then it becomes automatic). At each level, you no longer mark and reward for the previous step, and you don't add a verbal cue until the end.

I like this video showing a shaped retrieve of a novel object. It's a little over 3 minutes and you can watch how the dog figures it out. Ellie does have prior experience with clicker training and shaping, which helps. She already understands that some sort of interaction is expected but she doesn't know exactly what until she tries some things.


In first class we practiced simply saying "Yes!" and give a treat. Dog learns that "Yes!" means a treat is coming. I thought this was stupid and repetitive, my dog thought it was great!
This is called loading the marker. You're teaching the dog the relevance of the word (or the sound of the clicker, if you use one) - that it means a reward will follow. How much you need to do of this before using your marker in training depends on the dog. Once he's immediately looking to you for his treat when he hears the marker, you're a go.

This is how I first learned, many years ago, but with the last few dogs I didn't bother to load the marker first. Instead, I used it to capture behaviors I liked and wanted to encourage more of. Puppy looks at me - click/treat. Eventually puppy starts looking at me more and more, in anticipation of the reward. Then I can name the behavior ("watch"), and click/treat when puppy looks at me. Same with sit, or down, or a recall. He will do these things many times throughout the course of the day so why not use that as a training opportunity?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks,

We are constantly working on 'watch' I am using a clicking sound that I make with my mouth... That is how we got the cows' attention when I was a kid. It is a habit. Rewards and hugs fall from the sky when he breaks contact with a distraction and holds a long glance with me.

I think 'place' is the next thing we should start learning. I got a nice thick rubber mat like what cashiers stand to reduce stress on their legs.

So far, I have been using the phrase 'good boy' but it feels a bit cumbersome and I struggle with the timing. (50 years of trying to think before I speak make it a bit unnatural to say anything without a pause) I'll try a clicker.

Thanks
 

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As a verbal marker, "Yes!" works better than good boy. I use good boy/good girl all the time, but not as a marker. For precise timing, it should be a short sound.
 

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Yes, our teacher actually said that clickers are great, but she finds "Yes!" to be convenient because you will always have your "Yes!" with you when you go out and about.

However I think clickers can be more precise for marking the action, although I've never tried one.
(I have never tried to train my dog to a high level).
 

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I’ve trained a lot of Italian Greyhounds using a clicker, and it’s practically magical with those guys, lol. If I can capture a behavior, then I always go that route first. Sit and down are super easy to capture. I’ve never used a clicker with Scarlet, but I got one of my old clicker books out this week, and am going to start working with her. She’s super food motivated, so it should be fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I got a clicker from Tractor Supply this morning.

Maybe it is because many of us have grown up with video and phone games. But, clicking a button at a precise moment is much easier than making the same sound in the same way every time I see a specific action.
 

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The first clicker class that I took, the instructor would play games with us, without our dogs.

She threw this little stuffed toy up in the air, and just when it was about to come down we were supposed to click. Well everyone’s timing was terrible and you heard clicks all over the place. With a little practice though, everyone was clicking in unison.

Another game was picking one person to be the dog. The person picked to be it’s trainer told the others in the class (except the “dog” of course) what they were trying to train. Stuff like standing on one foot, touching your nose, etc. then the “dog” started offering behaviors and the trainer had to shape the behavior. Click and treat (skittles and m&ms work good for this). It’s hilarious, and gives the person being the dog some insight into what their dog is going through trying to figure out what you want.
 

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That actually sounds fun...great icebreaker game at a party! :)

Yes, Timing is everything! I have read that the bonus is that dogs trained in this way tend to show more initiative and are better at "problem-solving" than dogs trained via a force method (i.e. I say "Sit" and push you into a Sitting position).
 

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My Dobe absolutely loved the clicker. She would start throwing behaviors at me like crazy, trying to get me to click. It was so much fun training her.
 
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