Research into frequency of training

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by Joy, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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  2. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator

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    I've often heard people make the observation that their dogs can be better after a break in training. I haven't had the chance to read the article yet but I'm keen to. Very interesting to think about the mental/cognitive processes that underpin this effect.
     
  3. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Thank you Joy for researching some studies. Just about to go on our morning walk so will read later. :)
     
  4. Snowshoe

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  5. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    @Snowshoe Thanks - I thought this might be a better place for this discussion.
     
  6. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Very interesting reading. What I find interesting, and it's something that Jean Donaldson mentions in her book, The Culture Clash, and is shown in the study that doing lots of repetitions of somehow doesn't necessarily aid learning as the dog begins to offer a behaviour because that's what you've been asking for.

    Having read the studies I think I would interpret the findings perhaps as not training the same behaviour in multiple sessions per week, but perhaps train new behaviours on different days so training is always a mix. Have to say though that I feel less guilty for not expending hours per day/per week on training with Juno now :D
     
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  7. JulieT

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    I've looked at this a few times - Charlie is definitely better for 'sleeping on it'! :D I don't think it's an excuse not to train though, if you progressed at the 'optimum' pace for training, and only did those sessions (eg nothing else on the same schedule) you'd pretty much have a very mature dog without much training at all! And if you want to build on things you are currently training to get to a final result, it could take forever....plus, the article ignores the need to train in order to proof and actually have your training work in the real world!
     
  8. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    I guess that would also depend upon what you want to train, for what purpose, and to what standard.
     
  9. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Well, yes, for sure - I imagined anyone who was bothering to work out an optimum training schedule frequency for new behaviour would actually be training for something, a sport or a hobby etc. I mean, it seems a bit of an overkill for 'sit'! :D
     
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  10. FoxyLady

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    also the study only looks at training one task - me + puppy have a million and one tasks we are progressing with, so individually each task might well only be 'worked on'/'played with' once per week but lots of other tasks occupy us the rest of the week. I think variety is probably good with time to 'sleep on it' - I guess what the study is saying is that eg perhaps Susan Garrett doing 12 poles in 12 days might have been able to achieve 12 poles in eg 10 days providing the days were spread over 10 weeks.

    Does that mean I should do heelwork training only once a week, she says wistfully? that would be nice but unfortunately for a lot of things, all time is training time
    .really -
     
  11. JulieT

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    That's what I took from it. And, presumably, if the conditions of the experiment applied, after 10 weeks the dog could do 12 poles in Susan Garrett's kitchen....

    Nevertheless, there is definitely something in it. The number of times I've been surprised that Charlie's performance seems to have 'jumped' forward at the start of a session compared to where I'd left things the previous session. It's remarkable, I really notice it.
     
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  12. FoxyLady

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    so in that case it would be more efficient training to do weave poles one day, contacts the next day, handling the next day, etc and then 7 days later do weave poles again. I guess I kindof do that although I usually go for about every 2/3 days so we would do weave poles perhaps 2/3 times a week - so perhaps I should do less of one particular thing in any given week, not necessarily less training overall
     
  13. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I thought that when I first read the article, yes.

    Although, the vast majority of my training time is spent in proofing. So I'm trailing round proofing stuff against distractions and in new locations. And really, there is just so much of that to do, I wouldn't get anywhere if I just proofed one thing once a week so I do it pretty much constantly.
     
  14. FoxyLady

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    and there may be a difference between learning a new skill (train once a week) and proofing skills already known (training frequency not specified) - Oh dear I think I may have to continue heelwork (which is mainly distraction proofing) more than once a week - rats!!
     
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  15. JulieT

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    Haha! I think so! Heelwork once a day and don't skimp now! :D:D:D
     
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  16. FoxyLady

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    for skimp I first read skip - haven't tried heelwork to skipping yet but it might be fun
     
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  17. Joy

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    This sounds a reasonable response. I can get quite intense about training one thing (especially if we're finding it difficult) so it might be better to do it less frequently.

    Of course the study was limited because of being carried out in a lab and the trainer having no relationship with the dogs. I wonder if anyone could conduct a qualitative study, interviewing people about how they trained their dogs. I suppose you'd need a huge number to allow for the errors/ differences in people's reporting what they did.

    I wonder too if there's a difference between training a simple action (e.g. go your bed - the dog walks to the bed and lies down and it's over) and something like walking to heel which is the same action repeated over and over again (the dog takes a step next to the handler, then another, then another etc.) And presumably with something like walking to heel you couldn't just practise it once a week if you were going to walk your dog on a lead on other days, as it would be getting mixed messages.

    Anecdotally, I don't remember training Molly to walk on a loose lead being a big problem. I 'cheated' and drove her to off lead areas and only practised lead walking for short periods a couple of days a week. Now I think perhaps this was a good idea!
     
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  18. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    It's a genius idea. If only more people would do that simple thing - don't walk your dog on a lead until you've trained it to walk on a lead....obviously understand some people have no choice, of course.
     
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  19. FoxyLady

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    Its the difference between learning something new then eg "go to bed"/ "walk at heel" etc and do those actions when there are distractions eg "go to bed" (past a food bowl or favourite toy - do not collect en route) "go to bed" even when there are other dogs playing around in the area etc sim. with heelwork

    so I think we're saying that the study shows that new learning is best with quite large time gaps between sessions but doesn't comment on distraction/generalisation type training
     
  20. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    It would be interesting to find out whether dogs who are used to frequent training sessions have a different response - I mean was it just because the dogs in the study were unused to learning new things that they needed the time for mental processing? In other words can dogs develop a 'growth mindset'?

    Does anyone know of any similar studies in other animals or humans? (I find it fascinating because it's so counter-intuitive.)
     
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