Engineer’s Skills and Development

An engineer of learning develops their skills through studying, application and evaluation. Predominantly this is a lone process where our learners give the most valuable and honest feedback we can expect.

Many of these skills already exist and may need refining through thoughtfulness and attention.

Skills of the Engineer


To research, evaluate, integrate and learn
Critical thinking: analysis of outcomes, ethical considerations
Keep records, store video files, data of progress
Self-assessment and feedback


Viewing and assessing the environment and the potential  effect on the learning
Noting potential beginnings of the learning
Analysing the development and changes in the learning
Noting the body language, and signs of fatigue or uncertainty

Planning and preparation

A clear understanding of the behaviour, functions and potential rewards.
Planned pathway of development: of benefit to the individual, for the future tasks.
Choice of cues, signals, reward predicting stimulus, rehearsed and practiced.
A journal of progress: reviews, outlines of sessions
Preparation of the learning environment: sufficient rewards, equipment, targets, no phones, no interruptions, distractions.
Planning the learning that enables a clear view of the learning and the learner set up for success
Video set up, area in view checked. ON?

Learning Activities

Links to other locations for info

Application skills

Approach and Reward, Luring

Using hands, cup on a stick, to elicit approach and reward (follow).
Alter the pace and engagement to maintain following and avoid loss of focus.
Arranging the environment to shape the approach-learning
Using touch-prompting

Learning Activities and Resources

Links to other locations for info

Cues, Signals Reward Prediction Stimulus

Identify and reinforce cue seeking
Awareness of pre-cues, use of learning support as cues
Environment variation to reduce selection of irrelevant cues
Minimising cues and progression to performance cue
Signals as viewed by the dog, what movement opens the signal, how long will it be presented for
Adding a new cue to an exisiting behaviour
Building a default reponse

Learning Activities and Resources

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Choice and use of different rewards, and delivery, to compliment the learning
Placement of the reward reserves
Collection of reward without losing connection to the dog
Delivery skills: take from hand, tossing, pointing, placement
Adding rewards (value) and cues to natural existing behaviours

Learning Activities and Resources

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Facilitating self-learning for the dog

Evaluating when the learner needs support, and the timing of learning support.
Build repetition to add strength and fluency before progress.
Vary the environment to avoid non-relevant cues becoming attached.

Intergrating previous learning

Building a target: how is the behaviour, association or action learned.
Considering the future use and integration of the target
Using targets and prompts to enable new learning
Replacing and fading the target or prompt

Learning Activities

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Feedback to the learner

Anticipate the desired response and give feedback (mark).
Consistent response to the marker (cue): orientate for reward, wait in-place for release or self-reward.
Choice and variety of markers, visual, audible and actions
Open a learning session and finish a learning session

Unexpected responses

Feedback to the unexpected response from the dog
Evalution of the information available for the dog from the environment
Is the dog confident to offer the default when uncertain

Interactive Play and games

Using movement and actions: balls, discs, faux critters to elicit prey behaviours: searhc, stalk, grab, chase, bite.
Manage the level of engagement and arousal
Using activity and response to shape the games
Health and safety considerations in play
Risk assessment: injury, learning unwanted skills.
Adapting own interactions to build confidence, rewards and boundaries
Association of cues, sounds during activities

Learning Activities

Links to other locations for info

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