The "Power Pose"

Discussion in 'Ringcraft and Showing' started by snowbunny, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    An interesting article on Puppy Culture about how using free stacking might help with building confidence. I might try it with Willow (my anxious dog) - anything that might help has to be worth a go, and it certainly won't hurt.

    https://www.puppyculture.com/power-pose.html
     
  2. lucky_dog

    lucky_dog Registered Users

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    This is interesting - it's like with humans, that if you smile you feel happier.

    I think I read something by Patricia McConnell about teaching a fearful dog to lift its tail up on cue helped its confidence. I guess teaching a play bow on cue could also help? Maybe a yawn or a shake too.
     
  3. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    That's an interesting article, thinking about the way a change of position may lead to a change in emotional state.
     
  4. heidrun

    heidrun Moderator

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    It works extremely well. I have clicker trained my very highly strung cocker Murffi to lay down with his chin resting on the ground and no movement, not even a little tail wag. The cue I use for this is 'sleepy'. It is very calming behaviour. :)
     
  5. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Interesting, I would have thought it would be stressful not to be allowed to move. x :)
     
  6. heidrun

    heidrun Moderator

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    It is not a matter of not being allowed to move, but being heavily reinforced for not moving and making that choice himself. It took a little while to get to that stage and I realised that not moving is very hard for Murffi so I would reward him if I thought he was trying very hard to control his tail but didn't always manage to do it. Now he has got it down to fine art. :)
     
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  7. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I couldn't stay completely still no matter what treat was on offer :D so well done Murffi, although I still don't get why :confused: but then it takes me a long time to get my head around stuff :oops: x
     
  8. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Exactly. Like any positive reinforcement training, you're making something less natural (let's say, relinquishing an object by giving it to you) more rewarding than the alternative, so the dog is more likely to do it. If that behaviour is then being in a position that naturally makes them feel more powerful, relaxed, playful, or whatever it is you're trying to achieve, then it means we can tweak their emotional state in a relatively simple way.

    You're not saying "get into this position and stay there, or else", you're working, over time, to have them learn that behaviour and how it makes them feel. In the case of the power pose, this would be more confident. In Murffi's case, it would be more relaxed. You're not fighting against them, you're gradually building the association. So, given time, they'll start feeling that way as soon as they assume the position.
     
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  9. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    A bit like how I start to nod off as soon as the Grand Prix starts - it's not that I'm necessarily tired or bored right then and there, but I've watched it enough times to know that, unless something interesting happens in the first ten minutes, chances are, I'm going to fall asleep anyway, so as soon as the engines start up, I start to doze. Or, more likely these days, get up and do something more entertaining :)
     
  10. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    @heidrun, did you do this because Murffi doesn't relax?

    @snowbunny what would you train Willow to do to help her?

    Sorry still not too sure how you know how the dog is feeling. So yes I am still :confused: x
     
  11. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I've already trained a play bow (to some level, I didn't take it very far) in the hope that doing that would relax her when she was scared. I didn't have much success because, once she's over threshold, there's no asking her to respond to any sort of cue, so it felt a bit pointless. However, she's since been put on the meds, and so I'll revisit. Not for when the fear hits her, because that tends to be too sudden to do anything about it, but to help with speeding up her recovery once she's ready.
    So, using the play bow is similar to dogs yawning. It simply releases tension in the muscles and helps to calm them.

    The free stack, though, is subtly different.
    Did you see the pictures of the white dog in the article, under the "Power is Spreading" header? You can see that in the first picture, the dog is pretty relaxed. In the second, she is focused and ready for action. She's not showing any signs of tension, she's just looking strong and ready. I've been working with Luna this week to try and get her from picture 1 to picture 2 a bit more. It's very subtle, but in her case is just a simple shift of weight forwards. This makes her front end really strong and her back end more engaged. It's a really solid position. She is loving it! Just this tiny tweak, and she gets all bouncy and silly when I reward her - she knows when she's got it and it feels good.
    When Willow is startled, she immediately tries to make herself as small as possible, to hide away. You see her arching her back, tucking her tail under and pulling all four of her feet underneath her. It's a passive position. If I can work on her learning that she feels more confident if she stretches out slightly, then that might aid her recovery. It's well worth a try.

    Just from their body language - what's happening to their eyes, mouth, ears, tail, muscles, rate of respiration etc. Do they look tense or relaxed? Raring to go, or ready to flee? In the case of using these protocols to calm your dog, you could look at if the breathing is slowing, if they're switching off a bit from everything that's going on around them, looking sleepy. There are hundreds of little signals which tell us how our dogs are feeling.
     
  12. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Yes I saw the pictures of the white dog, very subtle differences to my eye. It all sounds way and above what I would want to attempt with Charlie and not sure what I would do, although the play bow sounds fun. How did you get started with that one? So do you know about this due to the Showing world? :) x
     
  13. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Very interesting.

    Very similar to a slightly different approach that we have been trying to take at work, The Pig of Happiness

     
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  14. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I started in a similar way to the down, moving a treat downwards from nose to floor and clicking a slight bend in the elbows, then progressing from there. Bot W&S lay down front-first, so that made it easier to capture. They do both lay down sometimes when I ask for a bow; like I said, I never really got round to finishing it off. Maybe one to work on some more now it's getting hot hot hot during the daytime. It'll give us something to do inside.

    I know about Puppy Culture from when I wanted to learn about stacking. There is so little show stuff available online. The Puppy Culture videos include clicker training puppies to stack from a very young age; it's aimed at breeders, and they start around 4 weeks! I was looking at the site to get the name of one of the videos for another thread on here, when I came across this article and thought it interesting enough to share :)
     
  15. Peartree

    Peartree Registered Users

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    The funniest example of this was when I was walking with my youngest lab. He is quite frightened of strange dogs and a young lab setter cross caught up with us in a large field. The two dogs were very unsure and standing stiffly about 5 m apart just looking at one another for some time while we watched. I suggested to the other owner that we should go and rescue our dogs from the situation they had got themselves into, but she just laughed and told me to wait. She said that her friend and her labradoodle was about to join us and all would be ok. Sure enough, the doodle came galloping across the field, play bowed and bounced in front of these two worried dogs completely oblivious to the concern and stress they were exhibiting. The result was quite astounding, my lab and the lab cross both had a big shake and they all went tearing around together having the most fab game of 'chase me', all anxiety forgotten!!!

    The doodle was obviously channelling his happiness pig that day!
     
  16. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I've seen this, too. A few months ago, we met a young male GR, entire. Shadow immediately went stiff like normal, but the GR was completely oblivious to that, kept play bowing and running away, asking to be chased. Shadow looked confused for a second then joined in enthusiastically. Obviously the GR's happiness was leaky :)
     
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  17. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    When you move the treat downward to the floor, push it backwards too - between the paws. Coco picked this up really quickly after his trainer said to me "you can get your dog to bow you know. I bet you can't do it" RIGHT! The next week, Coco bowed beautifully in response to my bow. I love to be challenged.
     
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  18. heidrun

    heidrun Moderator

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    Murffi rarely relaxes when he is out and about, Helen. He is fine in the house but outside is a different matter. I have done a lot of work on impulse control but that doesn't really help him with his low frustration tolerance and there are occasions when he loses it and his brain leaves the building. So I try and do exercises that are calming and which keep him in a cognitive state rather than emotional state. He will always be a work in progress. :)
     
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  19. lucky_dog

    lucky_dog Registered Users

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    With the play bow, Lucky used to go into a down after the bow too, so I taught a bow then stand to get the reward. Worked pretty well and he doesn't go into a down from the bow anymore.
     
  20. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Hmmm…. yes I recognise all of this behaviour in Charlie :eek: So could this help Charlie and how would I get started please? :) x
     

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