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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.

Duration or is it Breakfast in Bed?

Teaching duration has become a very muddied understanding or what it is and how to teach it. This is partly due to how we use words that are the same but have entirely different meanings.

Guidance is not dependence

Guidance can be the lightest change in contingencies, an extra antecedent. I can place a palette of different paints and brushes next to the chair. It doesn’t mean you need to paint the chair, you could sit on the chair and paint your own shoes, but just the presence of the tools would give you guidance.

Ethics in Dog Training

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.

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world of luring

A world of lure

Luring teaches trainers essential skills. We learn how to use suggestion and guidance to shape behaviours. We learn how to explain dynamic movement in the cues from our hands. In combination with reinforcement, luring has without doubt, been one of the skills I value most as a trainer.

duration or breakfast in bed?

Duration or is it Breakfast in Bed?

Teaching duration has become a very muddied understanding or what it is and how to teach it. This is partly due to how we use words that are the same but have entirely different meanings.

ethics in dog training

Ethics in Dog Training

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.

running

Guidance is not dependence

Guidance can be the lightest change in contingencies, an extra antecedent. I can place a palette of different paints and brushes next to the chair. It doesn’t mean you need to paint the chair, you could sit on the chair and paint your own shoes, but just the presence of the tools would give you guidance.

chin target

Nose Target. No thanks

Nose target is a popular behaviour taught to many dogs, and other animals. It seems easy to teach and have practical application, but it is often not such a pleasant experience for all dogs. There are many other options available that give the same practical benefit, without the unpleasant extremes.

clicker and food

Reasons to use a clicker

The concept of “being a clicker trainer” is always going to lead to argument and misunderstanding because it cannot exist alongside the science and technology. It is a “fakery” of our time. The clicker itself is a simple tool that when used in conjunction with technology provides clarity and understanding in teaching.

sit release cue or stay cue

Release cue or stay cue

Many of us begin with teaching sit or down, and this is one of the earliest experiences of training with reinforcement. From this point forward we are setting a pattern of the delivery of reinforcement. It needs questions to be answered before we embark. Is the sit, or down, going to be a terminal behaviour, or a temporary position?

can we teach stop doing that

Stop doing that ….

Can we an effective Cease That Behaviour? Absolutely. We can teach that positively, without harm, and we should teach them the skills of stopping that and doing this instead.

using a cue to train a behaviour

Think carefully

We cannot presume a cue is a reinforcer unless we can shape a new behaviour using that cue as the marker. Read carefully. Think carefully. Consider multiple perspectives. Sometimes it seems easier to let someone else do the thinking for you and just copy, but we need to become thoughtful trainers.

platfrom target

What can’t you teach with a target?

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.

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.

What is important … ?

… 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.

Dogs can only behave like dogs

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.

Approval or attention seeking?

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.

A New Puppy. Oh Joy.

Impulse buying the wrong sofa can be rectified if you swallow the expense. Impulse buying a puppy can result in personal grief for you and your family and quite possibly result in a very unhappy future or end the life of that puppy. But, if a puppy is your life-goal then plan it well, consider the 15 year costs and benefits. Do the research.

Kay’s Blog

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.

Treats for life?

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.

One day you will love him again

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.

Construction or suppression

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.

How do you know what you don’t know?

The age of trusting the professionals is fading fast. I am not sure anymore what exactly is a professional and the difference between genuine, self-styled and fake? With so much information freely available and shared when we open the gate to “looking for a xyz” we are struggling to recognise authenticity from smart marketing.

Podcasts have arrived!

Must Read

Really good stuff that can significantly change the way you approach your training and understanding of dogs.

The Fade-in Protocol

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.

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TAKL Certificates

Congratulations – TAKL Geeks

TAKL is not about producing clones, but evidence of learning that builds a solid foundation based on understanding, knowledge and application of skills. Not just writing an essay on how it should be applied, but actually showing you can do it. Closing the massive gulf between understanding it and applying it is a road that only you can travel.

Learning in the virtual world

Learning in the virtual world

Technology is zooming ahead, changing the way we interact and influencing the way we learn. Or maybe not? I do not think we learn any differently but we certainly have easier access to what we want to learn in a format that is much, much more accessible.

dogs waiting to come through door

Impressed with 2017

Perfect curtains. Dogs beds reinvented. My shopping choices lean towards practicality, functionality and things that make my life easier. I have the experience now not to believe the marketing of what I “need” to make my life easier. The cupboard under the stairs can be full of those things!

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