Molly's training log

Discussion in 'Your Training Logs' started by Joy, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    As Molly is three years old, it might seem a bit odd to start a training log now, but this evening I was wishing I had a record of when and how we'd achieved things so far.
    I'm training with a view to competitive obedience (at a very low level - I'll be delighted if we can win pre-beginners within the next year!)

    1. Working to improve heel position on turns.
    I'm doing this by using a placeboard and pivoting with Molly's front feet on the board. So far we've done pivot facing me and now working on pivot beside me. She's very good while I have food in my hand but much slower without a lure.

    2. Heelwork with distractions.
    In the training hall she's pretty good but having had the embarrassment of her nose on the ground in the show-ring recently, I need to proof it in different places. This evening I walked her around a town centre, just trying for a few steps of 'close' every few minutes. I felt a bit demoralised at first at what hard work it was, but then I remembered a time when she wouldn't have walked on a loose lead around a town centre and felt better. (When not 'close' she was still by my side, not pulling.)
    I think I just need to persevere and do a little in many different spots every day.
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I also struggle with a really reliable heel (as opposed to just loose lead). In some circumstances, e.g. when Charlie thinks there is a retrieve in it for him, he is perfect. Other times, not so. It's not reliable for more than a few minutes. I also find it a bit demoralising to work on! :D Since he is perfect when retrieving, it's obviously about motivation.
     
  3. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Yes come to think of it if I'm holding a toy, Molly gives me a much more jaunty, attentive heel than even with food. It was interesting at the show I attended, that people in the championship class almost all warmed up their dogs with a game of tug before going into the ring. I'll have to think about making better use of toys.
     
  4. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Toys work well with Charlie - but off lead. He doesn't find them very rewarding on lead, he like to throw himself around in a tug game, or jump for a ball. So he's not that thrilled with games on lead. :( Even used off lead, they are VERY time consuming though. If you are working in areas of high distraction, and have gone down to a few steps at heel, stopping to have a mad tug game, takes a LOT of time for you to get enough reps in to build duration.
     
  5. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    I'll have to mull this over as yes we can't really have a game of tug on the high street. But for us there might be other possibilities. Molly loves just being allowed to carry a plastic bottle so I might think about that as a reward.
     
  6. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I think that I have not been consistent enough about releasing him from 'close', and I haven't a long enough history of high value reinforcement.

    One of the reasons for this is that when I train in a group we are often retrieving, and so Charlie just 'clicks on' and his heel is perfect so I was kind of smug about it. But if I want him to do it for a while when he is not going to get a retrieve, it falls apart. :(

    At the summer camp in August we did 'walk up' with shot and spaniels and HPRs. He was ok without the shot and dummies, but once those were introduced, it was pretty horrific. :(
     
  7. Emily

    Emily Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Ooh this is really interesting. The agility group at training have mentioned using pivoting on boards to help with 360degree right and left turns. Can't wait to hear how you go.
     
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  8. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    So I tried rewarding Charlie's off lead heel with a Chuckit ball. It really has its disadvantages.

    First, he walks like a crab, craning his head up and round to see whether I'm making any move to get his ball (obvs was trying to click when this wasn't so bad). Second, he needs to keep the ball for quite a while. If I ask him to give it straight back, say just toss the ball and then expect him to give it right back to me, this is slightly punishing for him. In that the disappointment of not getting to hold the ball for a bit outweighs the reward. This means he starts being reluctant to hand over the ball. Plus, not being able to reward in position means duration is really hard to build!

    So I'm not getting this to work in order to build duration in an efficient way....
     
  9. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I wonder if you could use it as a jackpot at the end of a session, maybe using the ball dropper?
     
  10. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Why would that build duration in a heel? I'm trying to build duration up to 30 minutes plus....
     
  11. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Gosh that really is duration! I'm looking for 5 minutes.:p
     
  12. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I don't see why it wouldn't. If he knows he gets a ball at the end of heel, however long that may be, you'd just increase the duration in the normal way. Start off with a few paces, mark and drop the ball for a good run-around. End the session. Increase distance/duration over time.

    I wonder if Charlie would start looking up at every tree you passed, though. Maybe you'd have to drop it behind him without him seeing it and then release him to get it.
     
  13. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I think that takes too long, and is impractical (but ok in theory) particularly when distractions vary around you. It's what I've been trying so far, and it hasn't worked well at all. It doesn't allow you to vary a rate of reinforcement and keep the dog in position. I think you need to be able to reward in position, and right away do another drill.
     
  14. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    So are you only rewarding once per session? I've found, with heel work, it's easier to reward in position but without it being a release to finish. You can stretch (and vary) the time between reinforcements so it's a lot more organic than, for example, how I trained the sit-stay, which only has the treat at the end.
    I know some people argue that having the treat at the end like that encourages the dog to break their sit, although I'm not really inclined to agree with that if you have a good release cue.

    If you had an ongoing reward schedule within the heel session, then I think you still could have a jackpot at the end. In the same way as you reward a settle on a mat during human meal times, by starting with regular small rewards, increasing duration over time, but giving a jackpot at the end of the session.
     
  15. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Yes, I agree with you - you need to reward in position without it being a release for it to be efficient.

    Sure, a ball at the end would reward the last drill he did.
     
  16. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    And if that's one of the strongest reinforcers you have, you get to use it as part of a variable reward schedule without it being too cumbersome. I think it's worth a try anyway - it would work for Shadow. Maybe not so much for Willow. You know Charlie best.
     
  17. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I'm tempted to just agree with you for the sake of it not being at argument. But....no. :D

    You said:

    Then you said:

    All you are saying (really) is it's possible to use the ball once at the end. That's not going to help if you think:

     
  18. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Oops - sorry, Joy, we should take our got-nothing-better-to-do debate off your training log! :D:D:D
     
  19. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Sadly, I have lots better to do, but this is infinitely more interesting :D

    Yes, it's definitely just using the ball once at the end, but you can vary when that end is. Sometimes your session is 2 minutes, sometimes 15. The dog never knows when the ball is coming, but knows there is a chance it will come as long as he continues to walk at heel. Before the ball, though, you can use treats in position. So you're using a variety of rewards, treats throughout and the jackpot of the ball at the end, whenever that may be.

    Sorry, I'm (as usual) not being very clear. It makes perfect sense in my head, though!

    One thing I'm wondering, though, is what effect using a ball in this way might have on the effectiveness of treats. Would it be, "Yay, I'm getting treats, so I'm doing something right and that means my ball might be coming soon!", or would it be, "Meh, a treat. That sucks. Wish it was my ball."?
     
  20. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Do carry on! It's food for thought for me.
    If I was going to reward Molly with a plastic bottle(equivalent of ball), do you think she needs to know in advance? I mean should I carry it in my pocket or does that make it a bribe? Come to think of it she knows I've got treats in my pocket. I might try it later and se what happens.
     

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