Learn About Puppies
Training with Food
Living with Dogs
Teaching with Reinforcement
Standard protocols of extinction, impulse control, counterconditioning are quickly grabbed off the shelf as satisfactory solutions. These solutions are unlikely to help your collie, your sheepdog as the focus is heavily on suppression of who they are and why they live.
When we admit that the ideas we’re sharing are derived from the work of others, we demonstrate our own commitment to learning
When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.
Recipes for “training” dogs are so prevalent in how we live with and talk about them that their existence often goes unquestioned.
I bristle at the insistence that a dog will assent to any request we make if they understand what we’re asking and if the rewards we offer are of sufficient value
We can build tremendous learners when we get beyond the idea that “dogs are trained”.
A carefully planned learning pathway, paced to suit that particular learner for their life ahead.
Curiosity drives learning. Be curious
Thoughts that deserve time to digest, integrate and mature into changes.
Or just a way to browse and stretch the thinking muscles.
A selection of the best you can find.
Likely to expand your horizon, make you ask questions of yourself, your understanding and your expectations.
For browsers, for passers-by and of course for training geeks.
For learning, for pleasure, for exploring
What does familiarity look like? How does it develop?
We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.
We cannot teach something just for fun, it can never be just a trick, ride a bike for fun? – it is only a trick.
What to ask before when we make a plan to teach
Time is my ninth generation of collies. He lives for being a collie and all that collies have done for generations – work in partnership and assist in what their Person likes to do. This ranges from collecting sheep off the mountain to toddling round the main ring at Crufts.
The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement, and our mind focuses on the success of what is not happening. But reinforcement attaches itself to something happening, not an absence and cannot select for a multitude of different things that are being reinforced.
What is the purpose of this video? To sell a product, to instruct or to inspire? It should be clear from the first viewing. Often we are seeing an unhealthy blend of talking head, dripping treats into bored dog, convincing you of their innate expertise.
“the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour”
This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.
The pathway ahead, a road map for success. Details of what, why, when, how.
The classic training protocols are too often about supressing the annoying behaviours without realising that a sheepdog can no more stop being a sheepdog than you can stop being a human and become a hamster.
We are becoming surrounded by a culture of fast. We are being sold that immediate gratification is the only solution.
… when your dog is sick and fearful? If you have a dog who is sick and fearful you can feel lost and alone. The weight of opinion, expectation and information can be overwhelming. What is right? What is true? What is best? Throughout this journey I have allowed my ethics to guide me. The individual who is Merlin is at the heart of every choice I make.
Strange times often give birth to new insights and understanding.
Certainly a new aspect of empathy as we experience social situations that may not be of our choice.
Coming up to 20 years since I designed this game for my college students in computing – to improve communication!
Who knew it would become a future piece of technology for world of training and behaviour analysis?
… and cruises of course!
Just because it is our intent to reward does not make it always rewarding.
Whether you are an owner looking for help with your dog, a trainer taking your first steps towards helping others or an experienced trainer looking to improve – keep working, keep learning, stay curious.
We are naturally attracted to familiar ways of training or living with our dogs. We have often worked hard to learn those habits and there is a reluctance to make changes since this is hard work. It takes mentally energy to note what we are not doing well, recall what changes we need to make, find the prompts that can move us to the changes and then work on the skills those changes require.
We should not be trying to change dogs, but change the world in which they live. This extract from Every Dog Every Day brings light to the conflict that can sometimes occur between people’s expectations of dog behaviour and the reality – what dog’s actually do.