Monday, January 21, 2008

Today's dog training

I did two sessions of mat training with Red and Blue today.

When I put down the training mats Blue ran to hers and slammed her body into a down and immediately started getting paid. I had to toss kibble far from the mat to get her to leave it. I don't use a clicker when I am working both dogs together.

Red slowly walked over to his training mat and targeted with first one foot, then two front feet and then very deliberately placed all four feet on the mat. I paid a couple of times for all four feet and waited. He sat. He backed up. He bowed. He spun. He turned his head. He nodded. It took him a while of watching Blue get fed before he decided to try laying down. I paid him about 20 pieces of kibble in a row placed right between his front paws and then tossed one behind him so he had to get up to get it. When he came back to the mat he started throwing behaviors again.

Once again it took a while of watching Blue get paid for Red to decide to lay down. We worked for about 15 minutes in a morning session and about 10 minutes in the instead of dinner session.

The down Red offered was his his regular down (fold over on left hip then lower chest and chin to the ground)not the fold back down that we just recently started working one. The regular down is the one I prefer for mat work.

I did not take notes. I have to get my friend Jane (who belongs to Finn in yesterday's photos) to teach me this record keeping business.

If I can find my tripod, I'll do a little mat training video.

1 comment:

Jane said...

A simple way to track progress:

1. Decide how you want to count the treats. I make piles of 15 treats. Other people use a cup to count, and put one treat in the cup for each treat they give to the dog.
2. Set the timer to 3 minutes.
3. Toss a treat for each click.
4. At the end of your 3-minute session, count how many treats you gave out.
5. Write it down, along with any comments about your session.
6. Divide the number by 3, and that’s your rate of reinforcement. If you want to do shorter sessions, that’s fine too. Just do the math.
7. Chart it out on a spreadsheet or piece of graph paper.

What’s interesting is that you can actually see whether you’re making progress or not. When I was doing this with one of Finn’s exercises, I thought we were making progress, but then I looked at my graph and could see that we weren’t. So then I had to change something. (I changed the session length and that seemed to work. In a duh moment, I realized he couldn’t sustain the behavior for 3 minutes!)

So that's simplified record keeping. For two dogs you'd need to be sure to figure out a counting system so that you can keep track of the treats given to each dog.