Backward Chaining

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by Jen, May 14, 2016.

  1. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    I was reading the pages of Turrid Rugass's book "Barking The sound of a language" that are available to view on Amazon and found the Final Thoughts excerpt interesting and a bit confusing. She writes.

    "It is futile to reward a dog for being quiet right after having barked. There are two reasons for it.

    - Dogs learn well from backward chaining and will quickly learn to bark, then stop barking, then get a reward. Dogs learn lots of things exactly this way.

    - Dogs learn best when getting a reward for something physically they have done. Rewarding for absolutely nothing (i.e. not barking) will not lead to learning just frustration "

    I have often wondered about backward chaining, although I didn't know its technical name or even if it was a real problem or just me over thinking things. I'm now wondering how much backwards training I've managed to do when trying to change behaviour. I'm pretty sure it happened when I was trying to train scout not to jump up at the worktop when I'm getting their food. Jump, down sit, treat. Obviously I wanted to reward the down and sit but I think I was rewarding jump, down sit. :rolleyes: How can you make sure your not backward chaining and so rewarding the behaviour your trying to stop ?

    Her point about rewarding for nothing not leading to learning also got me thinking. One method to encourage calm behaviour in your dog is to reward your dog for just being calm eg, lying down while your watching TV. Does this theory mean that doesn't actually work ? How do you know the dog knows the treat is for lying calmly and not thinking "What did I do ?" It occurred to me this morning on our walk. We met a couple on a narrow lane. S&S automatically dropped back slightly so walking at heel as we passed with no interest in the couple no cue needed. I rewarded with praise and treat. Do they know the reward was for walking calmly passed or was it just a random treat to them ? Of course I could be over thinking things and making it all more complicated than it needs to be.:rolleyes: Maybe when I read the whole book it will be explained.
     
  2. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Interesting Jen. As far as S&S dropping back with no interest in the couple, I would have treated for it too. I know when I walk past anyone, child, another dog anything Hattie gets a treat for being calm, no cues and she does know that's what she's getting it for because she always looks to me immediately we have passed by for the treat :D We do the same for Charlie. It makes sense to me not that's anything to go by :rolleyes: xx
     
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  3. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    That's a good point Helen. I do the same as you and I suppose if the dog looks for a reward after it has passed the possible trigger calmly it associates that behaviour with the reward. :)
     
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  4. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    I do the same , with Millie , she used to be a bit reactive with other dogs but will now ignore them if I treat her, but I truly don't know whether she remembers the behaviour she displayed before the attention switches to me and the treat .
     
  5. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I don't need to use it to avoid triggers with Hattie as she doesn't really have any but what it does do is stops her wanting to say "hello" to every person, child, dog etc. unless I decide to stop so it keeps her focused on walking nicely and on ME . There is a jumping Border Collie that we pass by who jumps up to look over the fence which used to drive Hattie crazy seeing it bobbing up and down, she used to pull me to see her, not now she just looks to me for a treat and walks by nicely :). For Charlie who does have triggers it has been invaluable with helping his calmness, not with everything like the Boxer and Doberman but I guess Rome wasn't built in a day!:rolleyes: x
     
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  6. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Good girl Millie :) I don't think it's about the dog remembering the previous behaviour but altering it towards something really positive and ignoring the trigger. x
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
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  7. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    Agree Helen , she now sees another dog coming and immediately runs to me wagging her tail , so I guess its altering attitude , so that another dog means something nice :)
     
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  8. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    Exactly it's changing association. You alter the association with the trigger from meaning bark, in Hattie's case say hello, to the trigger meaning treat now. :)
     
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  9. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Backwards chaining is more commonly thought of as a training technique - something you do deliberately to build up a series of behaviours. Karen Pryor is worth reading on this subject: http://www.clickertraining.com/node/111
     
  10. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    How strange life can be, I ordered the Turid Rugass book earlier this evening, together with some other training/behaviour books (I really need to get out more :)) so will look forward to reading it and keep all the comments in mind at the time.
     
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  11. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    Thanks Rachel. Very interesting article. Now I understand why Scout jumping up, getting down, then sitting and getting a treat is backward chaining. It's a sequence of behaviours that ends up with the wanted behaviour, sitting, but how do you get rid of the unwanted behaviour at the start of the chain. If your trying to train an alternative behaviour do you need to get the cue and new behaviour in before the dog does the unwanted behaviour incase it becomes a chain ? What happens if the unwanted behaviour can't be predicted ?
     
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  12. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    It takes lots of repeats for a dog to learn a new behaviour. So a couple of jumps etc before the 'sit' wouldn't matter - but if that is a repeated thing, it would (if you see what I mean)

    .
     
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  13. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    Unfortunately we aren't just talking a couple of jumps it's more on the scale of a small kangaroo twice a day.:rolleyes:

    I was also wondering how useful cue is regarding "rewarding for nothing". If you give a cue word when the dog is lying calmly, for example, will that help the dog understand what the reward is for.o_O

    I thought Karen Pryor explained the use of prop cues in the above article very well. Its never occurred to me that there can be numerous cues the dog follows to get to the end result that aren't actually connected to the person.
     
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  14. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    In that sort of situation I just use 'good girl' and she associates 'good girl' with a treat. Makes no difference whether she's laying quietly on the floor, or has come to walk beside me on a walk :)
     
  15. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    I do something similar. I use "Good" as a reward marker so like you if the dogs are doing something I like I say "good" and they know a treat is coming. In which case I'm not sure what Turid Rugass means exactly. :confused: If I just gave my dogs a treat I wouldn't expect them to know it was for something specific but if I use a reward marker I assume they know they're doing something good. Then again maybe they don't :eek: Let's hope the book explains things. If you work it out before me Rosemary let me know. ;)
     
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  16. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    The book is on its way and should be here tomorrow so I'll try and make a start on reading it tomorrow as her books are normally pretty short. It could be that as it's just final thoughts her point isn't as clear as in the content itself. I sort of understand what she says but can't explain it any better at the moment :confused::eek:o_O
     
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  17. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Registered Users

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    I'm looking forward to your reply as I also sort of understand but find it impossible to explain :wasntme:.
     
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  18. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I have "Good girl or good boy" too for anything positive and they know a treat is coming. Hope I'm doing the right thing but if not it works for us :D x
     
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  19. Newbie Lab Owner

    Newbie Lab Owner Registered Users

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    Following with interest as this book is on my wish list for when I fininsh the ones I have.
     
  20. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Thankfully Turid's books are very slim so I can slide it to the top, well at least when it arrives tomorrow with 4 other books to go with the 3 I've still got stockpiled :eek::oops::rolleyes::D
     
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