"Relax class"

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Postby tiva » February 22nd, 2010, 9:58 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I am doing the down between my legs just because I feel that will give me more control over her. I'm going to have to figure out how to shape this behavior


You could use a target and fade the target, perhaps. Do you want her to dive headfirst between your legs and lie down, her head facing behind you? Or do you want her to back between your legs and lie down, her head facing the same direction your head is facing?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 22nd, 2010, 10:21 am

I want her head facing backwards, and she was diving down when I was luring. She knows how to target my hand but I've never tried extending that to a target pole or something. I have a dowel rod I could use. That's still luring, though, and I've been made to feel like a slacker (via clicker training books) for luring instead of shaping! lol

Ginger wants this to become an action our dogs put THEMSELVES into when they're stressed about something, and I'm willing to teach it, but I really don't see Inara ever purposefully doing so. From past experiences of trying to teach her not to look at what's bothering her, vs. seeing how well she does when she's allowed to glance at something, I really think she's going to prefer being able to see what's bothering her. I don't blame her - I'm the same way! But like I said, I'll train it and we'll work on it so it's an option for her.
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Postby tiva » February 22nd, 2010, 10:34 am

Does Inara know how to go out to a target? If so, I might consider trying it with a paper plate as the target. It's easy to fade the paper plate-just cut it smaller and smaller until it's gone.

Personally, I don't see targets as quite the same as lures, since they don't include a food bribe before the behavior. They aren't pure shaping either. I love using targets to train!
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 22nd, 2010, 10:36 am

If it were me...and now I want to try to teach this, to see if my idea is sound...

but I'd teach purely shape it, and stand somewhere the dog couldn't get around my legs (in a narrow hallway, with my legs to either side, or between boxes or something...until they got the idea. Unless the dog was really clicker savvy and knew posititioning things (like a freestyle dog)...then I might just click for positition without blocking the other ways through. Either way, I'd click for tiny increments of course...visualizing where the head should be...and having a goal of where the end positition would be (just her neck between your legs, her shoulders, her rib cage, etc...so you'd know where to end too) Then again, I love shaping...;)

I'd be wary of targeting, because if you want her going in so her head is behind you (that's how I'm reading it...) then you wouldn't be sure if she was doing a good job with the target unless you were cranking your head around each time. :| That's the only trouble I see with targeting the behavior. I'd also stay away from targets, because my guys DIVE at targets...and I'd have to slow them down...so I'd probably find it easier to shape the entire thing, rather than target and have to slow them down and polish it up.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 22nd, 2010, 10:55 am

You teach it to your guys and video the whole thing! lol

I will try that. Do I shape her first for a down close to my legs or just shape her to get between my legs and then work on the down? Or does it not matter which comes first, the down or the position?
"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 TheRedQueen » February 22nd, 2010, 11:07 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:You teach it to your guys and video the whole thing! lol

I will try that. Do I shape her first for a down close to my legs or just shape her to get between my legs and then work on the down? Or does it not matter which comes first, the down or the position?


Oh...okay, I didn't see the down part. I'd work on position first, then get the down...because I can tell them to down if need be, but I want them to be in the right spot first. I'm guessing they might not like it at first, because they can't see my face. This will be interesting!

I might try this with Score...or maybe Inara...we can have dueling Inaras...:giggle:

I think others should try it too, and video tape their progress! Jenn and I (fenella jenn) have been talking about having a training challenge on the forum...this might be a tricky one for newbies...but for more clicker savvy dogs...what fun!
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Postby tiva » February 22nd, 2010, 11:22 am

Ok, the race to the down between the legs is on! Vanya and I just played with the target (starting with what he already knows: run to the target, then we added run to the target and down on it, then run between my legs, then run to the target that's between my legs and down, then fade the target. Fading the target was the hard part: I used a piece of paper and folded it smaller and smaller. When it got to be 2 inches square, Vanya decided to eat it and the game was over the for moment. )

As Erin suggested, I found it hard to crank my head around, so for now, I stand as if I'm playing tennis, one foot in front of the other and he runs and downs between my legs, perpendicular to me, instead of backwards--yes, that's hard to understand.

Alas, I didn't videotape this extravaganza, so the taping will have to wait until he's ready for another round.

Getting the behavior is probably the easy part--doing it a zillion times and proofing it with increasing distractions is harder. Because we have snow or slush on the ground 10 months of the year (slight exaggeration), I think for a backup behavior in the face of stressful dogs, I'd probably need something that didn't involve Vanya belly-down in the snow. Hmm.

For now, we're also working on getting "sniffing the ground" on cue to help Vanya calm down in scary situations. When Vanya's in a novel, crowded environment, he either wants to scan, which can get him super-tense, or else sniff like mad, which can really calm him down. Emma Parsons in CTC suggested using sniffing the ground as a useful cued behavior, and we're doing that now. I'd much rather have him get into his tracking zone rather than his freakout zone when we show up somewhere new, or when we have to made a sudden exit off the trail into the woods when unleashed dogs show up.
Last edited by tiva on February 22nd, 2010, 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tiva » February 22nd, 2010, 11:23 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I want her head facing backwards, and she was diving down when I was luring. She knows how to target my hand but I've never tried extending that to a target pole or something. I have a dowel rod I could use. That's still luring, though, and I've been made to feel like a slacker (via clicker training books) for luring instead of shaping! lol

Ginger wants this to become an action our dogs put THEMSELVES into when they're stressed about something, and I'm willing to teach it, but I really don't see Inara ever purposefully doing so. From past experiences of trying to teach her not to look at what's bothering her, vs. seeing how well she does when she's allowed to glance at something, I really think she's going to prefer being able to see what's bothering her. I don't blame her - I'm the same way! But like I said, I'll train it and we'll work on it so it's an option for her.


I missed this--since Inara likes to glance at her triggers, why not have her back between your legs into the down so she can still offer her LAT glances at the trigger for her click, then look back up at you for her reward?
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Postby maberi » February 22nd, 2010, 11:28 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I want her head facing backwards, and she was diving down when I was luring. She knows how to target my hand but I've never tried extending that to a target pole or something. I have a dowel rod I could use. That's still luring, though, and I've been made to feel like a slacker (via clicker training books) for luring instead of shaping! lol


I hear this more and more and just don't get it. You really have to analyze the behavior and decide on the best way to train it. I honestly feel it is about training the behavior, not whether you used shaping, luring or used a combination.


Ginger wants this to become an action our dogs put THEMSELVES into when they're stressed about something, and I'm willing to teach it, but I really don't see Inara ever purposefully doing so. From past experiences of trying to teach her not to look at what's bothering her, vs. seeing how well she does when she's allowed to glance at something, I really think she's going to prefer being able to see what's bothering her. I don't blame her - I'm the same way! But like I said, I'll train it and we'll work on it so it's an option for her.


I have to agree with you on this one Liz. Being in a down position can feel very compromising for some dogs around others, especially if they are nervous or excited. I would also think Inara not being able to view her stimulus would increase her anxiety.

But like you said, it can't hurt to train and will be a fun lesson.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 22nd, 2010, 11:30 am

tiva wrote:
pitbullmamaliz wrote:I want her head facing backwards, and she was diving down when I was luring. She knows how to target my hand but I've never tried extending that to a target pole or something. I have a dowel rod I could use. That's still luring, though, and I've been made to feel like a slacker (via clicker training books) for luring instead of shaping! lol

Ginger wants this to become an action our dogs put THEMSELVES into when they're stressed about something, and I'm willing to teach it, but I really don't see Inara ever purposefully doing so. From past experiences of trying to teach her not to look at what's bothering her, vs. seeing how well she does when she's allowed to glance at something, I really think she's going to prefer being able to see what's bothering her. I don't blame her - I'm the same way! But like I said, I'll train it and we'll work on it so it's an option for her.


I missed this--since Inara likes to glance at her triggers, why not have her back between your legs into the down so she can still offer her LAT glances at the trigger for her click, then look back up at you for her reward?


Yup, that's what I'm wondering...why you'd want a reactive dog's face behind you... :|

I've got a reactive dog (another Inara, funny enough)...but she's HA not DA. But still, I wouldn't really want her head behind me...since I read her face as much as she reads mine.

But, I'll try this...it's a new behavior and if it doesn't work for Inara, at least we can make it a cute trick. ;)
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 22nd, 2010, 11:37 am

Hmmm...I think since I don't anticipate Inara ever doing this on her own anyway, I'll teach it as directed and just use it as a learning experience for shaping a behavior. Kind of a difficult one to make my first shaping experiment, but hey, keeps it interesting, right?
"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 Hundilein » February 24th, 2010, 8:18 pm

This sounds like fun, and after the last two days I had (more in another thread later), I'm inspired to do more shaping with Renee. Since I have more time on my hands now, perhaps I can get some videos of our attempt.

Like Erin, I think I would shape position first and then add the down. I like the idea of using a narrow hallway or other obstacles to help with it.

And just because I can't help but add my two cents' - I like shaping without lures because I feel like it becomes more automatic for the dog if he has to figure it out for himself in the first place. I think a lot of times if you start out with a lure, it doesn't occur to the dog to do it later without some sort of signal from you. This seems like something you'd want more as a default behavior that the dog does whenever he doesn't know what else to do.

Yay for fun new training challenges!
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 25th, 2010, 12:54 am

Hundilein wrote:And just because I can't help but add my two cents' - I like shaping without lures because I feel like it becomes more automatic for the dog if he has to figure it out for himself in the first place. I think a lot of times if you start out with a lure, it doesn't occur to the dog to do it later without some sort of signal from you. This seems like something you'd want more as a default behavior that the dog does whenever he doesn't know what else to do.


I heard someone describe it as following someone to a location, as opposed to figuring it out with directions...following directions, you have a better chance of finding that location again, rather than just following that lure in front of you...:) Not a perfect metaphor... :|
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Postby TinaMartin » February 25th, 2010, 10:05 am

Actually its a pretty good one.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 7th, 2010, 1:27 pm

Sadly, we had our last relax class yesterday. :( I'm going to miss it. Inara improved so much during it, and I learned so much about HER, too.

Yesterday we worked on u-turns, with all the dogs going at one time. We also worked on getting the dogs into "heel" position. We taught them a spin in place, and Ginger wants us to start doing it when they are beside us so they can spin and end up in heel position. She said it's a fun way for a dog to be rewarded and have them still end up in heel position. We worked on targeting, and at the end we played a bit with shaping. Within a few clicks, Inara was standing on a skateboard! I really need to take advantage of shaping more often because she really enjoys it and is beginning to understand the concept behind it.

Ginger told us that she is planning on doing an Advanced Relax class outside this summer. It will be for dogs who have already taken Relax but could benefit from more. She also said that if we see a class for "normal" dogs that we want to take, to contact her and if there are only a couple dogs signed up she'll let a Relax Class dog in. So that's awesome. :)

Then we got our certificates, a sample bag of dog food to use as treats, and each dog got to pick a treat from a big box. Inara chose a "porkscrew" - pork skin curled into a twist. Ick. But she liked it. :)
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