Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"No Crazymomlady, That's Wrong. . .You have to Explain It To Me This Way!"

We are home from our 'training trip marathon' and now trying to assimilate everything we learned. I'm not sure who learned more-Maizey or me! But one thing is for sure when you give Maizey good information she is a hard worker who can and will figure out what you're asking her for. Now I just need to get good enough at giving her the right information at the right time.

It is absolutely amazing to me how in training its the littlest things that can make the biggest difference in getting the behavior you are asking for. For instance one of the new behaviors we worked on was L2 Stand. I have never taught this before so my friend was a great help in explaining it to me. During our second session I got two really good stands out of Maizey, but then on the next two she would stand and immediately sit down. Since 'stand' is a duration behavior that leads to L2 'stand-stay' the sit is something I certainly don't want to reinforce. Well I tried a few more times, but kept getting the immediate sit following the stand. So I asked my friend about it and she reminded me of one to the fundamentals of clicker training:

Treat while in position, and where you treat is key to reinforcing the behavior you want. Turns out the way I was positioning my cue was leading her head up to grab the treat which of course when her head goes up her hind end goes down producing the instant sit. Another example of this is when we walked up the canyon to take some photos of the pups. Of course I would position her to sit and and wait but of course in a new environment with lots of distractions it was hard for her so she kept breaking the wait very early. The solution? Again treat in the position you want. If I wanted her in a sit-wait I had to be fast to get back to her to c/t and reinforce the sit-wait while she was still sitting and waiting.

So for me it worked like this:
Put her in position, cue: "sit, wait!"C/T

 "Hmmm that treat was good!"

 Then walk straight backwards several steps.
Our furthest distance was about 10' back.

Then walk back to her and while she is still in position waiting C/T and have a party!

Eventually with enough practice and the help of a good friend with a nice camera you can get a really pretty "sit-wait" photo-op!

 Maizey loved all of this training because of course she get really good training treats! We used everthing from 'chicken liver cheerios' to turkey hot dogs and of course we always use her breakfast and dinner kibble for the easy behaviors she already knows. I think we need to switch up her treats and one I have been wanting to try is the Zukes salmon flavored treats. I thought they would work easier for us since Meeka can't have the chicken or the turkey and it gets hard to keep the "Meeka treats" and "Maizey treats" separate. Salmon is something they could both have! Plus I've read you can use these to "marinate" with cheerios and get "salmon cheerios!"LOL


soggibottom said...

Amie Soto Blossom couldn't join in your walk. But I did.... 2 miles down and a few more to go.
Go for it Maisy and Meeka x x x
Amie has a thing about salmon, shame is she is even more fond of champagne !
She only licks the bubbles. :-)

Cynthia Blue said...

I recently had to learn that too... about treating a small dog. I was wondering why Jet wouldn't stand with just the verbal cue, but he was sitting right in front of me and looking up.... oooh yeah, he can't stand in that position! LOL. I'm so used to the bigger dogs. :)

Priscilla said...

What a clever girl!!!
I'm so glad both of you did some great training together!

katie said...

hey to the soggibottom girls:) Sorry Amie couldn't join the walking fun, but total props to you for getting in on the action! If you'd like me to add you to our list so you get the credit you deserve just let me know. We'll put Amie in as getting credit for giving you moral support!:))

katie said...

Cynthia, isn't it funny how training a large dog compared to a small one has its own challenges? I never trained little man to do anything except give hugs and kisses so this is my first small breed I've worked with and I gotta say, she is much better at it than I am!LOL

katie said...

Thx priscilla, looks like you guys are going to have tons of fun in Eva's puppy class too. Ahh. . .puppy class. . .so much fun:)

Marie said...

Maizey was doing really well on her "wait" while you took photos by the end of the walk! :-) She's going to be a professional model like the shelties before long. Now we just have to train you to carry the brush everywhere you go. LOL

Oh, I guess we need to have you add another 7 miles to our walking total for our crew so far this week.

katie said...

It is great how fast she makes progress, I was proud of her! and about the comb. . .with all the dirt and snow rolling I'm not sure a comb is going to do us much good-a fire hose to wash her off maybe but that might be a little cumbersome!LOL

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Lessons From and For 4 Legs has moved to a new address: http://www.lessonsfrom4legs.com. Where we will continue to learn life's lessons from my little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's, Maizey and Magnus. Don't miss Meeka's lessons too, by checking the archives of my big girl rescue Rottie. They all teach me so much!