Showing posts with label training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label training. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Delayed Reward Voice Dog Training

I use delayed reinforcement of a vocal reward as it works at any time whether you are training or simply on a walk or reinforcing social behaviors at home. Use a unique behavior cue for each desired action, and when the action occurs provide a unique short reward word "Haihai" "goodog" or equivalent. Think "Good Dog" whatever reward cue you use, dogs do read your mind. After several cue, action, "goodog" successes take a break and provide a favorite treat after cue and goodog without the action. Try different ones. Hesh will let you know quickly which treat is the right one. For Peter it is 1/6 of a 1/8" turkey (not beef) hot dog slice. He refuses commercial treats. Some trainers use a clicker, but his partner's voice is a better reward. Professional dogs like bomb sniffers etc. are active dogs and a retrieve is the reward. If you prefer treat reinforcement substitute treat for verbal reward.
The first exercise is hand attention training. When hesh is looking at you move your hand. When hesh follows it with herm head give a cue like "look" or "here" then say goodog. After several successes say goodog and provide a favorite treat. Then comes the "look" when hesh is not paying attention and goodog when he looks at your hand. Repeat ad lib until it becomes a game. Hand attention cue followed by another cue once the hand attention cue is reliable is the key to advanced training. 

Social training is next how to meet and greet visitors. I like the natural barking at intruders but once the doorbell rings or the door opens the "park" command is after training to retire to herm mat, stay, and be quiet. This has several good points. Hesh is removed immediately from over-friendly or frightened visitors until they are seated and non-threatening. Then hesh is released with a "greet" cue to smell the feet of the visitors. New over-friendly or frightened visitors are told to ignore this natural behavior until the dog gets acquainted. If the dog is social hesh will then approach an available hand in a friendly manner. If the dog is not so social hesh will normally assume a guard position between the guests and the door. A dog friendly approach is normally tolerated by any dog if the visitor is so inclined. Amusing note, Peter is rewarded at times long after a series of visitors have come and gone with three treats, one for "bark", one for "park" and one for "greet" as I am the trainer and may not be at home or busy away from the treats. He can count up to five visitors, and will expect three treats for each whether or not any cues or goodogs were needed. 

The usual behavior cues can also be trained similarly "freeze," "heel," "wait," and "leaveit" on walks or in the backyard, with the treats after the training session is over. My rule is one treat for each cue no matter how many goodogs happen in the session. Again, "cue," "goodog," then treat.

For meds e.g. eye meds, "Look" then "EyesUp" move your hand slightly up when hesh follows it with open eyes and stays fixated on it "goodog." After that becomes a game add the eye meds, with an immediate goodog and treat. He will start begging for eye meds. Similar with any meds, a cue to present the affected area following a hand movement and be still. 

A note on housebreaking puppies. I use the same procedure, and have either paper trained or outside trained several puppies in less than a day by the simple procedure of devoting as much of the day as necessary to moving the dog to the proper place each time hesh wakes, eats, drinks, or starts to sniff around, with a goodog for each elimination. Again the treat is delayed until the dog has moved back inside, then "goodog" and treat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Are Dogs Sexist?

I suspect distrust of men is genetic. Men are abusive trainers generally, and are much more inclined to abuse animals in general. Dogs are useful for women, protecting and amusing children, and are naturally protective and nurturing of the infirm.  The nurturing behavior is apparently inherited from wolves.  Big game hunting commonly results in disabling injury to a pack member who is nurtured back to functionality by the rest of the pack.  Jon Franklin thinks that it was the babysitting and nurturing of the ill that got the more docile follower wolves into the parlor.  By the women naturally, the men were too busy beating them into guard dogs for the domestic animals.  The men didn't care that sheep dogs hated everything including the shepherd as long as they protected the sheep.  Herding and hunting dogs needed to work with their handlers, but didn't have to like them.  Guard dogs are unreliable even for their handlers.  I was told by a Doberman breeder how you can tell that somebody breeds Dobermans:  He pointed at the scars on his face and said look for these.

I suspect this trait is why working dogs are generally considered hard to train without abusive methods.  I watched a dog show the other day and noticed that the working group had at least choke collars and one was shown with a prong collar.  These were dogs that were bred for conformation and acceptable docility for shows. 

I trained a purebred German Shepherd using the immediate verbal reinforcement delayed reward method, to acceptable levels of control on and off leash, but he never learned to like men he did not have time to get acquainted with at his own speed.  I had to advise new male visitors how to avoid confrontation.  And I never even tried to introduce strange men "in the wild." Strict control, sit-stay at my side, and told the men to keep their distance.  It was generally not a problem. He was a 75 pound whole dog, and was not friendly looking even in a sit-stay.

Peter was apparently abused by men while he was a stray. We have taught him to tolerate men (even me) but he still trusts only women and children.  He bonded immediately with Sue at the Shelter, through the holding pen door in the not for adoption aisle.   "We will look at Peter."  Sean and I were considering more socialized dogs as a first pet.  It was only my long experience with training puppies and dogs that convinced the placement staff that we should be allowed to adopt the relatively fresh stray. 

It was not easy, even as the source of treats it took him years to trust me enough to proffer a sore paw that he couldn't shake the burr out of.  He still tries that first.  The first time I tried to help he snapped at me even though he couldn't put weight on the leg.  Nonetheless, no adversive training was used.  Always verbal reinforcement delayed treats.  I don't even carry treats on walks or training sessions.  The HSSV noted that hot dogs were a favorite treat, and I found that turkey dogs are the best of the best. Any real meat works, he spits out commercial treats.   

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Painless and Effective Dog Training.

The following procedures paper trained a 6 wk puppy in a couple of hours, an ex-stray, and several other dogs.

The philosophy behind the training, (post hoc) is that dogs are human symbiotes per Jon Franklin's The Wolf in the Parlor and are eager to learn to help. I learned it from a bird dog trainer who insisted that his dog was his partner and not his servant or toy.  For him dominance and control techniques were useless as they produced a dog that wouldn't hunt.  Note that his dogs were collar free while hunting and most other times.  He carried the tags. 

Any dog even a difficult dog will do something right in a training session, short at first.  The first command I train is WAIT. When the dog stops at any time after the command a unique and instant verbal reward is given.  I use "Gooddog" a friend uses Hai-Hai.  This will surprise the dog and in my experience even the first time the dog will look back and get another instant Gooddog.  As the dog continues to play the command and verbal reward are quickly associated in the dog's mind. 

After the training session is over a special self selected treat, in my dog's case a turkey hot dog bit is offered when the dog is called, asked to WAIT just before arriving, gets the Gooddog, looks up, another Gooddog, then the treat.  Note that the treat is offered after the training session.  After a session or two more, the dog will follow to where the treats are kept and look for the treat.  In my case I keep the treats at my desk upstairs away from his food and play areas.  Training treats are special.

I escalate the WAIT training until the dog stops in his tracks whatever he is doing even chasing the neighborhood cat.  The first escalation is a slack leash WAIT.  No training harness, choke collar or other negative reinforcement needed. 

HEEL, PARK, STAY, and other useful commands are taught the same way.  Tell the dog to HEEL in command voice, and sooner or later he will end up at your side get the Gooddog look up and get another Gooddog.  It doesn't take long before the later becomes now.  At that point I end the session, and finish the walk.  I was not surprised when we got home and he HEELed all the way to my desk for his special treat.  He also got one for WAIT which is reinforced every walk at curbs and other danger spots and the neighborhood cat.  Note that every walk is a training session and good behavior of any kind even ignoring the neighborhood cat gets a Gooddog and if he looks up another Gooddog. It is amusing that he seems to count things on a walk that get reinforced and remind me that he needs another treat if I forget one.  Usually ignoring the cat that I didn't notice. 

Like most dogs he will announce the fact that someone is on the property, and since we have frequent visitors, the PARK command is his signal to stop barking, and back away from the door.  He gets a Gooddog for barking, another for parking, and a third for being welcoming to a known visitor.  By now it is routine and he waits until the end of the day to remind me that he has been a Gooddog many times.

I use OK as the release command but if I were starting over I would choose a different word probably CLEAR as an unusual word that he does not hear every day.  It may be a moot point since he seems to respond to my mental state of clear at curbs.  I began to notice after reading Franklin that he was always a fraction of a second ahead of the OK.  I began to delay the verbal command and found that I was catching up to his reaction for most commands including WAIT.

This post like all on this blog is a work in progress, and comments are open.  Suggestions and stories are welcome.