Friday, August 21, 2009

Effect of the Poisoned Cue

I recently met with a young man to test his dog for the CGC. On previous email correspondence he said that his dog was ready to take the test. When we met I was not very impressed with the dogs behavior. Testing has to be done without a prong. Once he removed the prong collar he had no control of his dog. He lunged at me and my dog Raygen. The sit and down where painful to watch. When the owner asked the dog to sit, he winced and slowly, very slowly sat down. He did the same when asked to lie down. This leaves me to believe that the cues were poisoned. When I asked him how he trained the sit he told me that he commanded the dog to "sitz" and he then pulled up on the dogs leash, while wearing a prong collar, until the dog sat down. For the down he would command the dog to "platz" and pull the leash down.
Clearly this dog was anticipating the pain of the prong. Very sad.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Let's get it straight

I hear it over and over from trainers who don't understand training using +R.
"+R does not work since we ignore bad behavior" No we don't. Positive is not permissive. We don't let the dogs run in the house, we don't let them jump on the kitchen counters, we don't let them run away. (That is kind of funny to think we ignore the dog for running away. >bg< )
+R is used in training a behavior we want to see again. For example: sit. We don't reward a down, stand, roll over. We reward the sit. Lying down is not a bad behavior, just not something we are going to reward the dog at that time, since we are teaching the sit. If we don;t want the dog to jump on the counter we don't kick it, jerk it off the counter, yell at it or booby trap it.
First we manage it. No dog allowed in the kitchen. 100% supervision. No temptation, no food on left on the counter.
Second we train an incompatible behavior. Sit, or down, or four on the floor. We reward when the dog is no jumping on the counter. It really works.
Manage-Train vs Set-Up For Failure and Punish

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chain Leashes

On a recent discussion forum the topic was, using chain leashes for dogs that bite the leash when they become aroused by environmental changes (seeing another dog). How about teaching a dog not to bite the leash, PERIOD. Biting a chain leash will not keep a dog who is over threshold from biting a leash. Biting chain leashes cause broken teeth, that is a fact.
Train the dog to leave the leash using clicker training methods before exposing him to environmental changes that puts him over threshold. The rules of Tug of War and keeping the dog under threshold apply in the case of the exuberant Lab (as seen on the show: "It's me or the Dog".)
Rule # 1 Drop it and leave it must taught
Rule # 2 Only tug when I ask you to.
Rule # 3 Only tug on toys I want you to tug on.
Rule # 4 Dog needs to be kept under threshold and desensitizing to other dogs before going out for a real walk.
I was a bit disappointed that Victoria used a shortcut to teach the owners how to train their dog. But live goes on and dog dentist need to make a living, too.