Hurley Takes a Click and Keeps on Lickin'

These are Hurley's first clicks.  Patience friends.  You must work the first several behaviors s-l-o-w-l-y-!  If you rush this initial foundational stage, you invite stress (no good for meaningful learning) and potentially jeopardize the fun which is responsible for the interest.  Don't blow it...go slowly.  After you get you first half dozen behaviors under your belt, you'll be able to clip along at a good pace.

This video is punctuated by a few seconds of recall work.  I only point this out because perfect recall is life saving behavior...the most important, in fact, and we reward recall multiple times each day at first, and multiple times each week for life.  Once the recall cue is issued (Hurley, here!), the recall must be conditioned to be immediate and automatic in order for it to have its life saving effect.

What a good boy!



Hurley Gets His First Loop

Using any kind of clever that presents, our job as trainers is to get the initial behavior (or some measure of behavior in that direction) to occur so that we can do our most important task of marking said behavior with a click, and rewarding same (with a 'good dog' or a tasty treat, moment of play with a valued toy, or a chin scratch...there are lots of rewards).

Here you see that once Hurley has been repeatedly rewarded (10x) for his placement on the blue dot, then after released and encouraged to leave that spot, he quickly returns to the spot where the reinforcement was rich.  Why rewarded behavior repeats is a matter for God and B.F. Skinner, but you better believe we trainers are going to exploit that fact to the maximum.

Once your behavior is on a loop (reliably repeating), you can then begin to establish the cue by saying the cue as the repeating behavior is happening.  Not asking for the behavior (it is already happening on a loop), but merely labeling of behavior such that soon, the cue will cause the subject behavior to occur.  Then, of course, there are distractions to be introduced, and proofing to be done in order that behavior which is cued is offered reliably and quickly.  We will get to that.  The take-away here is that the cue is not introduced until the exact behavior you are looking for presents on a repeating loop.  It is a knack, to be sure, but here is an eight week old puppy well demonstrating the principles in question.



Hurley Doggy Doors and then Some

Of course, use of the doggy door is an important precursor to added freedoms for any canine lucky enough to be associated with such a lovely door indeed. 

Here, no effort was expended on the matter.  I knew fully well that motivation (which takes care of itself) when combined with getting to watch the other pups trail on in through the doggy door and poof, guess who's rocking the doggy door.

Also, Hurley is getting pretty fancy pants where blue and yellow dots are concerned.



Hurley Rings the Bell

Before the first scratch at the door I teach the doorbell.  This pup is 8 weeks old and rockin' the doorbell like a pro.  Any time he is left outside, once he gets board and wants to come back in, he rings the doorbell to cause it to magically open!

The use of the word 'No!' was not employed.  In fact, no mention of door scratching behavior was ever mentioned and yet, teaching what we wanted, ring the bell, and conditioning the ringing of the bell to cause the door to open amongst much fan fare, was enough to prevent the unwanted behavior before even happens one time!  That's how its done!



Hurley Chews

Chew happens.  Might as well control the situation by providing the most rewarding chewing contingency possible making shoes and what not far less appealing.



Young Hurley Progresses Nicely

Hurley continues offering behavior happily for his kibble.  Here's a reel of various snack times over the last several days.



Hurley Settles

Working on a lovely settle.



Hurley Pays a Visit

Here is a few minutes of un-edited footage from a quick training session with Hurley.  You can see right off how the target mat was helpful to get the initial behavior, which was then rewarded so as to encourage more criteria-meeting behavior.

I know I was working on stay but you can plainly see from Hurley's initial inclination to follow me right off the platform that Hurley did not.  I expected as much.  It is perfectly natural to want to follow the leader (especially if the leader has treats)!  We have to teach the behavior that we want and this is precisely how we do it.

I did not care that Hurley was following me at first.  I put him back on his platform without a reward.  If he stayed on his platform, rewards were copious.  It did not take long for Hurley to do the cosmic arithmetic and remain on the platform until released. 

Tomorrow, we will refine and proof the behavior to make it more reliable.



5 Minutes with Hurley

Hurley behaving very well even with distractions, here.  Before the guests arrived, we had a little exercise session in the yard.  This made the training we did just a few minutes later go much much smoother.
Hurley can be a handful, but working with him and getting him on board is crucial.



Remote Training with Multiple Dogs

Here we have several animals responding to cues delivered remotely through the internet.  I can ask for the behavior I want and treat accordingly.  Or, just schedule up some vittles!

The End


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