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Fade In Protocol
Example: Darragh and the pile of interesting junk
first published August 2018
The Fade-In protocol is an elegant process that builds on success and teaches exquisite discrimination skills. Darragh is a 2 year old, male Gordon Setter featuring all the normal elements present in that package. Alison would like him to be able to put these typical urgencies aside for a 3 minute window during a freestyle routine. We want to teach him this would be worth while.
Base behaviour Default behaviour
Firstly success in the base behaviour
A base behaviour has two functions:
1. It is the starting point and the intermediate point on which we build other behaviours
2. It gives the “return to default” for the dog when it cannot work out what to do.This behaviour is our first building block, it attains a long and strong reinforcement history. When building new behaviours, we begin with clear communication what the base is and from that point develop new actions. A base behaviour can often be the simplest: a stand with engagement, a sit at your side. The base behaviour is often the default and triggered by environmental cues.
A freestyle routine is often performed in front of competing stimuli for a social dog: the audience and judges. We endeavour to use the situational cues as cues for our default, or base behaviour. If at any time the dog cannot remember a cue for a movement, we want them to return to the default behaviour. In these conditions the default and base behaviour are the same. After every movement we are training the dogs to seek that base behaviour again.
The dog will spin > base behaviour.
The dog will weave through the legs > base behaviour.For freestyle the base behaviour is:
Stand, seeking a cue
Engage and enquireFor Darragh, chasing cooked chicken lumps fried in a battered coating is a really high value activity. It includes two of his favourite pastimes: running and eating. It probably can only be bettered by one other activity which is not welcomed in these conditions. We begin with teaching him to chase chicken: “chaser”. After eating, his immediate re-connection with engagement and enquiry results in more Chasers. Gradually the surrounding environment is littered with junk of varying sorts. These would usually be of interest to the dog (which you can see at the end of the video), but with the dominant cue(s) of engagement from Alison, a box of chicken (which will be faded to pockets, and then to reward stations), the arriving junk is only of mild interest. After taking notice of the changes, he chooses to re-connect and gets reinforced. At no time is he cued to pay attention. Not only is this an excellent game, it shows us his great proprioception skills as he dodges around this increasing clutter only hitting it once. Which is astonishing for a 2 year old, male Gordon boy of simple needs.
Connect and Share
sounds like a biscuit …….