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quangle

puppy training questions

8 posts in this topic

quangle   

Hi, I am coming up with a few problems in training my 12 week old kelpie/collie mix.    I am using the positive reinforcement clicker method and she is picking up behaviours well I think.

 

My question is, What do you do when you have clicked and the behaviour changes before you treat.  Eg.  sometimes when I have just clicked a response (eg. a sit) she moves from that position while waiting for the treat.  So she may slide (tiled floor)  into a down, or stand up.  I have already clicked, so feel I am obligated to follow up with the treat, but do I lure back into the correct position first?  As I am also building duration into the sit, I may click her for remaining in the sit while I am across the room, but after the click she stands up before I can get back to her with the treat.  Even with luring her back where she was I feel like I am rewarding the wrong thing.  

 

Secondly, sometimes she just doesn't seem to get what I want.  Even when it is something she knows well like a sit or down which we have been practising for 3 weeks. She will wimper, look pathetic and lie down, or offer something like a high 5 or roll over.   I am just walking away and stopping the session when this happens in case she is bored or just not in the mood, after all I recognise that she is only a baby, but I am curious if this is normal behaviour and what I can change in my methods to help her.

 

Would love some advice. Thanks

Edited by quangle
Edited to add: having said all that this morning, I am just back from taking her in for 'news' at my daughters school and she behaved perfectly in front of 32 excited 9 year olds, performing a perfect 'sit, down, sit up, high 5 and roll over. :)

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Rebanne   

The click marks the behaviour so if you click when she sits yes pay her whether she gets up or not. The click also signals the end of the behaviour. I wouldn't be clicking from across the room at this stage. You need to build duration before moving away.

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Well done to both of you!

 

The click is the bridge between the reward and the behaviour, so reward her even if she's moved after you click. Just stay close to her to give yourself more opportunity to reward before she moves. Occasionally - not every time! - wait a few seconds longer with her holding position before you click and reward. Once she's comfortable with that, you can build in more duration, then go back to shorter duration as you build distance.

 

Don't fret if she breaks position or offers the wrong behaviour; just move around for a moment to relax her, then ask for the behaviour again. And remember, it's actually a good thing when she experiments by offering different behaviours, because it means that she's participating in the lesson. It will also make it easier for you to teach her new things.

 

Most importantly, pay attention to how she's feeling, and make training fun for her.

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Dogsfevr   

If it was my  dog I would be training for the tricks more and rewarding than the boring stuff especially with such a combo .

 

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quangle   

Thank you.  

I have been building duration. She will sit or lie down for easily up to a minute with me talking, singing and moving around in front of her before I say the release word. I haven't tried longer as I figure it is a bit boring at this age to ask her to maintain a position for too long.  This is why I moved on to adding distance instead.  

 

I will start focusing on some more fun tricks and just short practise on the more boring skills for now.  

 

 

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Dogsfevr   

Remember many tricks still require sit,drop so the dog isn’t missing out but often engages more because it’s fun,fast and works a busy brain well .

i have a breed where sitting is awkward as a baby so it’s not a comfy position and they will wriggle about due to size and growth hence I find working on tricks is more fun and still engages the dog to watch,listen and learn.

Not sure what sort of coat your pup has but don’t forget to add grooming to the training ,this includes che king feet for grass seeds,chechecking the teeth and feeling all over 

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KobiD   

It all depends what you wish to achieve with the dog I think. At 12 weeks she's still a baby, so based off that I wouldn't even bother with tricks, or cues too much at all. I'd be working on firstly creating a bond between you and the animal, and secondly working your clicker or marker word and simply reinforcing EVERYTHING that you like. It could be calm behaviour, good toilet choices, sitting, waiting. I wouldn't be working too much on duration. Just rewarding anything she offers that you like.

 

Given that she's already taken to learning so quickly and is offering behaviours willingly I think one thing will quickly lead to another. Make sure the rewards are always near by and try to reduce the gap between the mark and reward. This may mean extending duration until you are in a position to follow the mark quickly. 

 

As you start proofing your cues I've found it quite beneficial to also offer strange body movements with it. It causes the animal to think and listen rather than just read body language. For instance holding a hand above the dog and asking for a down will go against their natural instinct to sit or stand. Then reward from the other hand down nice and low. Little things to keep the brain engaged will ensure they don't get bored. Keep the sessions short and fast paced with a high rate of reward. 

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sheena   

It doesn't matter if she moves out of position after you click & before you deliver the treat.  If she understands the click, then she will know that it is the click that is marking the precise moment that earned the reward not the reward itself. Just make sure that you treat EVERY time you click so that the clicker retains its value.  

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