Articles on Training
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.
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.
Targets are, by essence, pro-active openers. They are not used to associate something to keep away from, but something to seek and respond to. Targets are gateways to rewards and are greeted with enthusiasm and confidence.
Targets are often a lifetime of language or they can be a temporary step to a future cue. What they should always be is thoughtful, pro-active and for the welfare of the learner.
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Learning About Dogs
The core of our education. How health impacts learning. How lifestyle impacts well-being. How our beliefs, traditions and culture affects the lives of our dogs.
The moment the alarm sounded, Dolce was nosing the blankets off me and, unless cued otherwise, would nose me until I got up in a fit of laughter. It was a wonderful way to start the day.
… 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.
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.
Jumping up is nearly always viewed, by both positive and negative trainers as A Major Sin. It rates near the top of the list of an undesirable behaviour. If we could empty our minds of the traditional view that This Is a Bad Thing, we may begin to see the behaviour as a sign or symptom of an underlying need that is being dismissed.
Thoughts and ideas that keep me awake at night, followed by a sudden urge to share. Sometimes forthright, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, but worth the time to read.
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 whole collective of rewards, or reinforcers, serves a purpose of ensuring that the tasks just completed keep getting completed. The task may tolerate a lapse of memory, but you will soon find that door smacked in your face if you stop acknowledging the courtesy offered to you by a stranger, friend or acquaintance.
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.
There are distinctive goals: Continual success, always travelling forwards ~ Each click to represent a moment of joy and not a moment of relief from the anxiety of not understanding. Looking at the way the behaviour is carried out is the most important element, and that is the product of all the considerations.
Really good stuff that can significantly change the way you approach your training and understanding of dogs.
Are we coasting or are we improving? Is time so precious that we cannot invest in doing better? Looking at “Leave it” protocols, which are just another way of saying “no”. If we focus our training around what we don’t want the dog will focus on what to avoid. Focus on what we do want.
Even though today we are surrounded by many available protocols for teaching with positive reinforcement, there is still a persistence that a dog should be set-up to make an error. An error is simply the difference between my expectation and the dog’s response. No more “distractions”, but faded-in environments.