Treat for position or "reset" the dog?

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Postby maberi » February 18th, 2010, 12:28 pm

tiva wrote:I'll try to think of a good behavior to shape and reward closer to the position I'm ultimately aiming for. Hardly a scientific experiment, but fun all the same.


Sorry I to double post but I missed this and thought I would offer you up a behavior to try :wink: A while back I was trying to work on some rear end awareness with Kayden and someone suggested I work on perch work. I basically had to teach him to put his front paws on an elevated surface (I used a large book) and to keep his hind legs on the floor. Once they understand that behavior you start clicking them for moving their hind legs so they are rotating around the book with their front legs still stationary. Working with Vanya on having her front paws on an object like that would be a good game to try for treating in position. When I shaped it all treats were put ON the book
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Postby katiek0417 » February 18th, 2010, 1:13 pm

tiva wrote:
katiek0417 wrote: The technical term for clicking when the chicken goes to the left side, then clicking when it goes to the middle is reinforcement of successive approximations, most people know it as shaping. With this method, you are allowing the organism to figure out what to do, but you are rewarding it for each step it takes closer to the goal (desired behavior).


Hi Katie,
Again, I'm not disagreeing with you on your terms, but we're talking about something a bit different--clicking when it goes to the left, and rewarding in the middle (for a click on the left).

When I earned my PhD in behavioral ecology, we focused less on learning theory and more on evolutionary theory, which shows when I try to remember the precise language for learning theory!



I definitely think it's a terminology thing...I have done a bit of research into evolutionary theory as it applies to learning, but my Ph.D. is in psychology with a concentration in learning theory and cognition (with a subspecialty in neuroscience), which is why I am a stickler for terminology :wink:

Now,that being said, I agree that you should mark a behavior when they are offered in successive approximations of what you are looking for...

However, I agree with what Matt is saying about using the placement of the reward to your advantage.

My dogs are trained for competition sport work. One skill that they have to know how to do is a call off. For those that don't know (you may know what it is), a call off is where you send your dog down the field for a bite, then call it back to you before it gets to bite.

When you're teaching the call off, you typically MARK the dog for not biting, but the reward doesn't come until it gets back to you. But as the dog comes back to you, it doesn't know it's getting a reward...at least with me, it doesn't (there are some people who WILL have a decoy standing right there, and as the dog comes back, they start fighting with the decoy to get the dog back). For me, the dog comes back and finishes in heel, and it either gets "released" and gets a tug (that I don't reach for until the dog finishes) or it gets "released" and sent in some direction for a bite.

So, I'm not luring it. But, instead, I'm doing exactly as you put it:

clicking when it goes to the left, and rewarding in the middle (for a click on the left).


I am marking for turning around, but rewarding when the dog gets back to me (for a mark that occurred when it turned around). But I didn't lure it towards me...

Okay, I see that you just posted and said this:

Oh right--I forgot--lures occur first. This afternoon, I'll try to think of a good behavior to shape and reward closer to the position I'm ultimately aiming for. Hardly a scientific experiment, but fun all the same.


Does Vanya do a formal retrieve? I taught Nisha how to retrieve using shaping and backwards chaining...
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Postby tiva » February 18th, 2010, 2:36 pm

Thanks for all your insights, Katrina--I really appreciate them. Vanya doesn't do anything formal, but I have meant to shape a retrieve with Shirley Chong's method: http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/retrieve.html

I can't seem to add an image, but here's a link to Vanya doing his jump today:http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/uA_aWwmwrwuY3b1qvzCtug?authkey=Gv1sRgCLTN4sDw7b_DKw&feat=directlink
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Postby tiva » February 18th, 2010, 2:38 pm

maberi wrote:iA while back I was trying to work on some rear end awareness with Kayden and someone suggested I work on perch work. I basically had to teach him to put his front paws on an elevated surface (I used a large book) and to keep his hind legs on the floor. Once they understand that behavior you start clicking them for moving their hind legs so they are rotating around the book with their front legs still stationary. Working with Vanya on having her front paws on an object like that would be a good game to try for treating in position. When I shaped it all treats were put ON the book


Sounds like fun! I'll try it.Thanks.
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Postby katiek0417 » February 18th, 2010, 3:00 pm

tiva wrote:Thanks for all your insights, Katrina--I really appreciate them. Vanya doesn't do anything formal, but I have meant to shape a retrieve with Shirley Chong's method: http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/retrieve.html

I can't seem to add an image, but here's a link to Vanya doing his jump today:http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/uA_aWwmwrwuY3b1qvzCtug?authkey=Gv1sRgCLTN4sDw7b_DKw&feat=directlink


Her method is very similar to the one I used with Nisha...but not exactly the same...

I do a lot of backwards chaining with behaviors that I want...jump sequences, retrieves, send aways, sends into blinds, and so on...i have found that it's much easier to start the dog from the last position I want it in, then work back from there.

Looks like she is definitely getting the whole jump thing! And she is pretty (but big)! :dance:
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Postby tiva » February 18th, 2010, 3:28 pm

katiek0417 wrote:Looks like she is definitely getting the whole jump thing! And she is pretty (but big)!


Yep, he (Vanya is a Russian boy's name --it means either "gracious gift of god" or "little Ivan the Terrible") is getting bigger. He came to us scrawny from off the streets (42lbs) and filled out over the next 2 years. All his ribs still show and he still has a tucked-in waist, but somehow he got to 61 lbs, which is too heavy, since I have to carry him down a set of loft stairs. He's on his way back down to 55 lbs, which the vet thinks is a good weight for him (our vet likes her dogs to stay skinny). Vanya really wants to be a 100 lb dog.
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Postby airwalk » February 18th, 2010, 6:01 pm

maberi wrote:Nerd


but a very nice nerd! :D
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Postby airwalk » February 18th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Interesting discussion. Erin I see what you're saying about fading the hand lure on service dogs...but have you considered there may be dogs who's owner may not be able to verbalize well but can offer a motion that would command?

I ask because Scooter's eyes are offset and his ear canal on the undeveloped growth plate side is smaller than a new born kittens which effects his hearing. He has been trained with both verbal and hand commands to accomodate those physical issues. While I understand about fading the lure...sometimes the hand lure is part of the command process.
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Postby katiek0417 » February 18th, 2010, 8:22 pm

airwalk wrote:
maberi wrote:Nerd


but a very nice nerd! :D


I'm assuming you're talking about me? So, thank you :mrgreen:

airwalk wrote:Interesting discussion. Erin I see what you're saying about fading the hand lure on service dogs...but have you considered there may be dogs who's owner may not be able to verbalize well but can offer a motion that would command?

I ask because Scooter's eyes are offset and his ear canal on the undeveloped growth plate side is smaller than a new born kittens which effects his hearing. He has been trained with both verbal and hand commands to accomodate those physical issues. While I understand about fading the lure...sometimes the hand lure is part of the command process.


Excellent point, Diana...I think even with a service dog, there may be instances where a hand command may be needed more than a verbal command. When I worked at the VA, I had patients who had suffered from strokes, and while they had some physical difficulties, their verbal problems were really bad. So, if the person with the dog has trouble with language, then I would think that hand signals would be better (and many hand signals, do stem from luring)...

I don't know...just a thought...
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby TheRedQueen » February 18th, 2010, 10:13 pm

airwalk wrote:Interesting discussion. Erin I see what you're saying about fading the hand lure on service dogs...but have you considered there may be dogs who's owner may not be able to verbalize well but can offer a motion that would command?

I ask because Scooter's eyes are offset and his ear canal on the undeveloped growth plate side is smaller than a new born kittens which effects his hearing. He has been trained with both verbal and hand commands to accomodate those physical issues. While I understand about fading the lure...sometimes the hand lure is part of the command process.


Excellent point, Diana...I think even with a service dog, there may be instances where a hand command may be needed more than a verbal command. When I worked at the VA, I had patients who had suffered from strokes, and while they had some physical difficulties, their verbal problems were really bad. So, if the person with the dog has trouble with language, then I would think that hand signals would be better (and many hand signals, do stem from luring)...



:doh: Okay, I guess I wasn't clear enough. ;) I'm not talking about hand signals or visual signals of any sort. We train all of our Asst. Dogs with both verbal and visual signals.

What I'm describing is not a simple hand signal for "Down"...I'm talking about EVERY person in the group extending their arms, bending over at the waist and putting their hands down near the ground while saying "Down". THAT is not a signal or visual, imho, but a lure...even if you don't have a treat in that hand...the dogs all put their noses down to the ground as they downed...so they were definitely following a lure...and expecting a treat. ;)

Now if the class caller had said "Down your dogs" and the people all extended their arms from their shoulders, or simply put their hands out from their sides, or whatever they wanted as a signal (they could have used their hand on their head for the "down" cue...but they were not using signals or cues, they were luring. :| If my Asst. Dog pups were taught ONLY with a hand luring to the ground, our clients wouldn't be able to get those dogs down easily... :rolleyes2:

As John just added..."if they're leading the dog's nose to the ground with their hand, it's not a signal." (thanks to John for making that more clear...lol)
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Postby katiek0417 » February 18th, 2010, 10:39 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:

:doh: Okay, I guess I wasn't clear enough. ;) I'm not talking about hand signals or visual signals of any sort. We train all of our Asst. Dogs with both verbal and visual signals.

What I'm describing is not a simple hand signal for "Down"...I'm talking about EVERY person in the group extending their arms, bending over at the waist and putting their hands down near the ground while saying "Down". THAT is not a signal or visual, imho, but a lure...even if you don't have a treat in that hand...the dogs all put their noses down to the ground as they downed...so they were definitely following a lure...and expecting a treat. ;)

Now if the class caller had said "Down your dogs" and the people all extended their arms from their shoulders, or simply put their hands out from their sides, or whatever they wanted as a signal (they could have used their hand on their head for the "down" cue...but they were not using signals or cues, they were luring. :| If my Asst. Dog pups were taught ONLY with a hand luring to the ground, our clients wouldn't be able to get those dogs down easily... :rolleyes2:

As John just added..."if they're leading the dog's nose to the ground with their hand, it's not a signal." (thanks to John for making that more clear...lol)


Oh, okay! I'm sorry! :oops: I just misunderstood!
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby TheRedQueen » February 18th, 2010, 11:01 pm

:D Yeah, I realized I wasn't being clear! ;)

Maybe I'll secretly videotape them all, so we can all laugh on PBT... :dance:
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Postby airwalk » February 19th, 2010, 2:30 pm

That makes sense Erin, I misunderstood. Although that must be a chuckle watching all those folks flap like birds.
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Postby tiva » February 19th, 2010, 5:17 pm

maberi wrote:A while back I was trying to work on some rear end awareness with Kayden and someone suggested I work on perch work. I basically had to teach him to put his front paws on an elevated surface (I used a large book) and to keep his hind legs on the floor. Once they understand that behavior you start clicking them for moving their hind legs so they are rotating around the book with their front legs still stationary. Working with Vanya on having her front paws on an object like that would be a good game to try for treating in position. When I shaped it all treats were put ON the book


Nerd alert: here are some youtube videos of Vanya and I working on shaping this. They're really boring unless you're into shaping.

First one: we try to get started. I had to use a pretty small book because Vanya instantly hopped, with all 4 feet, onto a larger book and wouldn't hop off. In this first clip, you can watch me getting set up while Vanya is already on the book, long before I'm ready. Then we start, but I can't figure out how to reach for the treats (soft cheese, which don't work well in my nerdy treat bag) without stepping back and forth, and so my motion becomes his cue for moving his legs. Oops. Vanya does pretty well trying to figure out what I'm aiming for, considering what a klutz I'm being:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrLy-hbx8P8&feature=youtube_gdata

Toward the end of the clip, when V gets a bit frustrated and lies down over the book, I target him off to reset and start over.

Second clip, a minute or two later: Vanya has correlated my clicks (which, in my mind, were marking his rear end movement) with his head dip (which he was also doing as he moved his rear end.) So he starts head-dipping like mad, hoping to get the clicks going. (This seems to happen a lot for me in shaping, and I have trouble keeping the rate of reinforcement high enough while also discriminating between two things the dog is doing at once, one that I'm marking for and the other that just happens to be happening at the same time.) Rather than reset him by treating him out of position, I reset him by moving my position but treating him in the same place:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrR15_UYTD4&feature=youtube_gdata

Third clip, a minute later, after some pawing at the book to see if that's what getting the clicks going, Vanya is turning nicely; I'm still being a klutz:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmWwl09xKoM&feature=youtube_gdata
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 19th, 2010, 5:40 pm

He seemed to be doing really well with that!
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Postby tiva » February 19th, 2010, 6:57 pm

yeah--if it doesn't involve a new dog or new environment, he's awesome.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » August 12th, 2010, 1:20 pm

:bump: Since it's being discussed in the thread about teaching a puppy to go to kennel. :)
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