Capturing behavior with a clicker

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » January 25th, 2010, 12:26 pm

There are some thing Inara does that I would like to get on cue - shake offs, play bows, etc. When I am trying to capture those, do I need to capture one behavior at a time? Or can I click her for a shake off at one point, and then click a play bow later that same day?

Also, when it comes to getting calming behaviors on cue, would having her do a shake off in a stressful situation help her emotionally or would it just be doing another trick?
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Postby mnp13 » January 25th, 2010, 12:27 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote: When I am trying to capture those, do I need to capture one behavior at a time? Or can I click her for a shake off at one point, and then click a play bow later that same day?


You can do multiples, I don't think they conflict.
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 25th, 2010, 12:38 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:There are some thing Inara does that I would like to get on cue - shake offs, play bows, etc. When I am trying to capture those, do I need to capture one behavior at a time? Or can I click her for a shake off at one point, and then click a play bow later that same day?


I've found it sorta depends on how clicker savvy the dog is. Fig has been working with me in the bathroom for the past few days on "spin in a circle to the right"...he offered it to me this morning, on the couch, I said "Yes!" and gave him a treat (since this was the first time he offered the finished behavior anywhere other than the bathroom). Then he suddenly rolled over on his back (another behavior I've planned on capturing)...I started marking/treating that behavior...and he offered the spin a few more times, but then settled into the "roll on back" behavior reliably. He's very clicker savvy, so it worked for him. I've seen that backfire on dogs that don't "get it" yet. You'll know best what works with Inara. ;)

Also, when it comes to getting calming behaviors on cue, would having her do a shake off in a stressful situation help her emotionally or would it just be doing another trick?


I think it all helps...teaching calming signals on cue can definitely help. Same with teaching relaxing body posture, open mouth, etc. It's the same thing as trying to make yourself smile when you're in a bad mood...the emotion gets attached to the behavior, and it will change your mood. Same thing for the dogs...
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » January 25th, 2010, 12:43 pm

Thanks Michelle and Erin!
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby maberi » January 25th, 2010, 12:52 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Also, when it comes to getting calming behaviors on cue, would having her do a shake off in a stressful situation help her emotionally or would it just be doing another trick?


That's an interesting question, and I think you have to ask yourself if Inara is receiving an emotional response from the behavior right now. A stress related yawn is completely different than a "sleepy yawn". I think you have to be careful with what you are trying to reinforce.

I was never a big believer in "clicking to calm" but I've been playing around with it at home with Kayden and I am starting to see a difference. I've been clicking yawns, blinking, tired eyes, just being relaxed, etc... When starting to play around with it, I thought Kayden would catch on and just offer the physical behaviors not associating the emotional response I was really looking for. And that definitely was the case with some of the behaviors. One of the behaviors I was looking for was a relaxed posture in a down. When Kayden is relaxed in a down his legs are slightly off to the side as opposed to tucked tightly under him (he is in this position when he is amped and ready to spring up) and he usually has one of his front paws tucked under a bit. I started clicking this and soon saw him shifting back and forth and side to side trying to get more treats. The physical response was definitely there but the emotional response I was really looking for was not. From there I backed off a bit and only starting clicking when he was settled and actually calm and he gradually stopped fidgeting around trying to get more treats.
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 25th, 2010, 12:59 pm

maberi wrote:
pitbullmamaliz wrote:Also, when it comes to getting calming behaviors on cue, would having her do a shake off in a stressful situation help her emotionally or would it just be doing another trick?


That's an interesting question, and I think you have to ask yourself if Inara is receiving an emotional response from the behavior right now. A stress related yawn is completely different than a "sleepy yawn". I think you have to be careful with what you are trying to reinforce.



I think in the case of calming signals though...even if they don't calm her...they're not generally something that would rev her up...basically, it may not help, but it shouldn't hurt.

Also, they can help calm the other dogs...so if she's shaking in a class situation...even if she's not necessarily *calmed* by it, the other dogs *might* be. If not, no harm, no foul...
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"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » January 25th, 2010, 1:11 pm

Matt, I'm doing the same thing with Inara that you are with Kayden - rewarding the relaxed behavior. I started with rewarding the position (sprawled on her side, even though her legs were straight out and her tail was sticking up :giggle: ) but now that she understands the position, I'm actually beginning to hold her in it until I see a deep breath, or see the muscles relax or the tail go down, etc, and then I click and release her.

I don't even know if I would ask her to do a shake or a play bow if she was amped up in class, unless I was using it mainly as a trick to give her treats. Ginger wants me to work mainly on getting her in a relaxed prone position because she's so hyper-vigilant. I was asking about using it to calm her more as a hypothetical. And I think Erin's right - it may not calm her but it might help the other dogs relax, which may in turn help her relax more. Who knows? Either way, it would be fun to have some of that stuff on cue. :)
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby maberi » January 25th, 2010, 1:19 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:I think in the case of calming signals though...even if they don't calm her...they're not generally something that would rev her up...basically, it may not help, but it shouldn't hurt.

Also, they can help calm the other dogs...so if she's shaking in a class situation...even if she's not necessarily *calmed* by it, the other dogs *might* be. If not, no harm, no foul...


I agree, I definitely do not think that it would hurt. I do wonder if it would help her or another dog to relax if there is no emotional response to the behavior. Does a nervous dog that has learned the shake off as a trick actually help calm another dog?
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 26th, 2010, 11:29 am

maberi wrote: Does a nervous dog that has learned the shake off as a trick actually help calm another dog?


I would think so...because the other dog probably wouldn't be necessarily tuned into the emotions of the other dog anyway...but just reading the visual signals. That's my $0.02 anyway. ;)
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