Release cue or stay cue

by | Sep 28, 2018

Is “staying” is something you
ADD to a behaviour,
or
ASSUME in a behaviour?

Continue reading when you have time without disruptions. If this confuses us then it certainly makes it harder for the dogs. We owe them more clarity.

Release cue or Stay cue?

It comes down to which avenue you wish to travel and this choice needs to be made before you travel, rather than avenue-hopping part way along.

Many of us begin with teaching a sit or a down, and this commonly passes to our clients as their earliest experience of training with reinforcement. From this point forward we are setting a pattern for both people and dogs in their view of training and use 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?

A terminal behaviour

will mean that the behaviour maintains through the practice of marking, then reinforcing  IN  the position.
Why would the dog want to move? Food is breakfast in bed, if you leave the position, no more food.

A temporary behaviour

will mean the behaviour is marked and the dog is then free to move to where the food is placed or offered.

When reinforcement patterns are predictable and consistent it will affect the way the behaviours are carried out. The dog will begin to anticipate either resting for room service or chasing and collecting.

This is the significant difference between muscles that have relaxed in position and muscles that are poised for activity. This difference can shape the way the behaviour is performed and what it looks like. Both sit and down have a great variety of possibilities from relaxed, with an open spread of the limbs, to a tight, controlled spring.

From these two branches you can then make an additional step:

Terminal Sit + Breakfast in Bed

will require a release cue for the dog to get out of bed. And sometimes that may not be worthwhile. The learning bias is in responding to the cue and then resting. More reinforcement is delivered for resting rather than adopting. It becomes a two behaviour chain: sit AND rest, rest gets reinforced more than the action of sitting. Sitting only gets reinforced after resting.

Temporary Sit + Go Collect

will require an additional cue for holding position. “Stay” or “wait”, are the usual favourites. The learning bias is in the adopting of the position, the motor skills. There is no chain, the action of moving into the sit is reinforced. Staying in the position is trained as a separate exercise.

 

(A small aside here. When I first worked in aviation British Airways was a merge of two different airlines: BEA (European flights) and BOAC (Inter-continental). Pilots had loyalties to their familiar fleets and regarded the opposition with some contempt. The BEA pilots would often practise landing 2/3 times every shift and only fly short flights. The BOAC crew would land maybe 2/3 times a month and fly for long haul, often 12 hour flights.
Which were the “better” pilots?
Well neither, they just had different skill sets for different tasks. But there was a culture of clean, smooth landing being regarded as a mark of good technique. A fair amount of ribbing was common.)

 

We can see that each style of training is suited to specific outcomes. You can decide the value to you and your training program.

Terminal sit is an excellent protocol where control is a high priority. Ideal for managing dogs in arousing environments, as a cue to interact with people.

Temporary sit is ideal for the position as a short moment before moving onto another activity. Ideal for sports dogs that are frequently required to demonstrate fast movement and position adoption, but keep alert for the subsequence behaviour, such as setting off in heelwork.

As the trainer who makes the decision on which avenue to travel you need to look to the future and decide before you begin training as this can become seriously confusing for the dog.

Both of these avenues have their advantages and disadvantages, neither better, neither bad. A crucial element in making your choice will come if you enjoy shaping: the conditioned response to the position when it is adopted can prevent the dog offering behaviours.

If you lean to the Geek-Trainer interests this is followed in greater detail as a Project in Setters – welcome to join there are LOTS of questions to ask!

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Key Reading

Chasm opening up?

The more I see “sit, down, come, stay heel” as the essential basics the more I am moving further away from the general view of living with dogs.

Surprising Puppy

Surprising Puppy. With obnoxious moments. After introducing the obnoxious puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the Delightful Young Man he is turning into……

Normal is always changing

What was normal in training 20 or 40 years ago is not the same today. There are folk persistently maintaining the normal of 1976, but fortunately there are enough folk with a deeper understanding of the processes that have moved normal forwards.

Shaping by rewards

When I see a dog showing a behaviour that is heading towards potential conflict, my first question is “what rewards are available?”

What is a Trainer?

I know what I am, as a trainer. But does my view of “A Trainer” coincide with, or even overlap with yours?

A Cue or not a cue?

With thoughtful planning and a good understanding of the relevance of antecedent selection we can teach the dog the skills of sorting the wheat from the chaff, finding the bones of the exercise. This skill is critical to being able to distinguish between distractions, which are just cues for an alternative reward opportunity, and cues which signify a guarantee of success.

When we train a dog it grows

Most training starts from necessity. Management is a necessity but it usually benefits all parties by a reduction of conflict. Are they expanding their skills to benefit us or for their benefit?

Heartbeat of living with dogs

I like to regard a “teacher of dogs” as someone who meets dogs in their world and teaches them how to be their best whilst living alongside us in our world.

The choice 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.

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.

Top Training

Surprising Puppy

Surprising Puppy. With obnoxious moments. After introducing the obnoxious puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the Delightful Young Man he is turning into……

Obnoxious Puppy

The delight of your new puppy is probably going to last a few weeks, maybe four if you are lucky. When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.

Preparation

Preparing before you train and the final check list

More than words

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.

Not all lures contain food

“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.

Remote lures

Lures at a distance, separated from hands, pockets . Using reward stations, patterns, containers

Luring: Hand lures

Learning hand-lure skills, Collect the food, engage, follow, feed.

Duration: sustaining movement

Continuing and maintaining a specific movement

Cue Seeking

Being an active learner and seeking opportunities for more rewards

Going Shopping

This is a joint travelling adventure. It completely resets the learning and can easily extend the reinforcement process.

3 Comments

  1. Julie van Schie

    Even a “simple” sit is so multidimensional! Thanks Kay.

    Reply
  2. Julie van Schie

    Oh dear! My computer told me that these replies had timed out! Sorry for the duplication.

    Reply
    • K Laurence

      SUCH a long way for your comments to arrive!

      There are some slow responses, as with paying for anything, avoid hitting that “submit” button more than once!

      You can delete your comments if you want – just use the (Edit) button

      Reply

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