Educating a Canine to Station Whereas One other Canine Works


A tan dog is lying on a green cot while a white dog with brown ears sits on a low platform next to her. Both dogs are looking at something to their left that we can't see.

Lewis and I’ve achieved two of my private holy grails of canine coaching. He can each wait quietly in one other room whereas I practice Clara, and he can station efficiently in the identical room whereas I practice her. Hallelujah!

The consequences of those skills are far-reaching.

For the reason that finish of December 2021 once I bought Lewis, I’ve spent most of my coaching time with him. That signifies that Clara, my stalwart, pretty Clara, hasn’t been getting as a lot enjoyable coaching time with me. I’ve been exhausted from coaching and managing Lewis. And she or he loves to coach. As you may bear in mind, we had been engaged on her trick titles, ahem. We haven’t stopped, although. We’ve been engaged on discovering misplaced objects and protecting her different trick behaviors alive. However we’re not working daily as we did earlier than.

A tan dog with black ears, tail, and muzzle is lying on the floor looking seriously at the camera
Think about these eyes gazing at you each time you go to coach the opposite canine

Lewis got here to me with an enormous Concern of Lacking Out. So far as I can inform, he doesn’t have signs of separation anxiousness or isolation misery. However he had been in a state of deprivation, dwelling in a vet clinic for essential months of his puppyhood. He suffered from that and realized an enormous palette of demand behaviors as effectively.

For months, I couldn’t do one thing as simple as leaving him within the den whereas I took Clara into one other room to trim her nails for 5 minutes. He would yell and rattle the gate. And generally get it open, dammit. Speak about nice reinforcement.

However he has realized, over virtually 5 months, that he’ll get a flip. He’ll get some. Not each time, however sufficient to make it worthwhile. (Clara would love me to remind you that he’s been getting extra of all the things for months.)

I’m not nice at precision coaching, however in the event you want persistence and a sluggish, gradual development, I’m your individual.

Coaching Two Canines

I wrote a weblog put up on coaching a number of canines a number of years in the past, and I nonetheless observe that technique. The precept of educating one canine to attend whereas one other will get the energetic coaching may be very easy. I realized it from Sue Ailsby. If you find yourself coaching a canine to attend on a mat or different station when you work with one other canine, practice the ready canine. Don’t concentrate on the energetic canine and provides the ready canine a deal with at times, and even each time you deal with the energetic one. Give the ready canine extra consideration, extra reinforcement. While you do one thing with the working canine, begin with little or no motion and instantly flip again to the ready canine and reinforce. As you progress, construct as much as extra motion and object interplay by the working canine and proceed to bolster each canines richly.

The excessive fee of reinforcement for the ready canine gained’t be perpetually. You’ll be able to unfold out your schedule later and decrease the worth of the treats as soon as they study that within the massive image, they’ll get a flip. And attending to work can turn out to be the most important reinforcer of all.

I haven’t discovered the movies the place I began this with Lewis. However right here is one in all my previous movies starring Zani the place I take a methodical strategy to educating this conduct. The video beneath reveals my newest triumph: Lewis ready properly on a Klimb platform whereas I take Clara by means of some very energetic coaching—getting on and in objects. This was a very long time coming.

Three issues about this film.

  • Sorry concerning the crappy digital camera angle; I virtually reduce him off.
  • I believe Lewis fusses as I cue him to lie down on the Klimb as a result of he doesn’t know the way to do this but together with his entrance toes stationary, and there’s not a lot room behind him. He figures it out.
  • Clara has a bandage on her left entrance paw due to a uncooked spot on the aspect of her foot and she or he is holding it up (superstitious conduct) much more than common. It doesn’t damage her to make use of her paw; I believe the bandage feels bizarre.

Subsequent, I’ll train Lewis to carry his place whereas I give Clara an object to carry, then lastly whereas I play tug together with her. This will probably be a problem. Lewis can hardly bear it when Clara has one thing; no matter she has, he needs.

Zen/Depart It/Impulse Management with Two Canines

Leaving out there stuff alone is a lifesaving talent for canines.

Folks have numerous cheap criticisms of the phrases impulse management and self management however I’m OK with them. They’ve exact definitions in conduct science. If I had a criticism, it could be that setting controls conduct. The “self” isn’t controlling conduct, however penalties and historical past of penalties are. However no matter we name the conduct, we are able to train canines, with optimistic reinforcement, to depart an out there goodie alone for prolonged intervals if we begin regularly and make it value their whereas.

Strategies for educating canines to depart out there meals alone have gotten increasingly optimistic reinforcement-based . Marge Rogers and I not use approaches based mostly on extinction and unfavorable punishment. There are not any intervals the place the animal tries and may’t get the meals as a part of the coaching plan. That creates pointless frustration. Canines don’t must attempt to get it and fail with the intention to study to depart the meals alone.

As a substitute, I’ve realized from Marge to show eye contact and fade in seen meals as a distraction. Then prolong “this meals is only a distraction” to different behaviors. The presence of meals lastly turns into a cue to reorient to me and do enjoyable stuff. To be sincere, once I train the conduct, I inevitably make a few fumbles. So there could also be some unfavorable punishment concerned if I progress too quick, they go for the meals, and I stop entry. That’s a mistake on my half; I’m not an ideal coach. However I’m getting higher at this low error strategy.

A white dog with brown ears is lying on the floor with his front end on a tan mat. He is offering eye contact to a human we can only partially see. Human has her hands visible and closed.
Lewis is providing eye contact within the presence of two closed handfuls of meals

I began with eye contact, then fading in meals in my fingers, then transferring the meals round. Then, as soon as Lewis had the essential thought, I transitioned to educating him to disregard meals on the ground (no eye contact required). He now pauses and appears at me even in actual life once I drop one thing accidentally. One other Hallelujah.

A woman in a red shirt and black pants leans over and drops a toy in front of a white dog with brown ears who is lying on a mat.
We work on leaving dropped toys alone, too

Within the video, we’re engaged on dropped meals. The canines are on platforms however I’m not requiring a specific conduct on there. I begin by putting meals on the ground, then work as much as dropping it and having it bounce round. Notice that the presence of Clara makes the stakes increased for Lewis. There’s one other canine who might get the meals!

You’ll additionally see an error on my half the place I progress too shortly for Lewis—too many kibbles coming straight at him too quick. When that occurs, I don’t even attempt to maintain him from the meals. He will get strengthened for the incorrect conduct—leaping right down to seize the meals. However I’m not fearful; I can maintain the matching regulation on my aspect.

I do have a verbal cue for go away it: “Pas,” the French phrase. I picked it years in the past as a result of I had taught Summer season “Depart It” with corrections and wanted an un-poisoned phrase. I generally really feel a bit of foolish utilizing it (and folks assume I’m saying “paw”). However I can say the brief phrase with the plosive consonant very quietly and the cue may be very recognizable. I believe I picked a great phrase, in any case. (Thanks, Lynn Shrove, for suggesting it. I haven’t forgotten!)

I follow dropping treats a lot, although, that staying away from them turns into a default conduct for all my canines. In most conditions, I don’t want the cue.

When I’ve time to dig by means of my collection of Lewis movies, I’ll put up extra of the steps we took for the behaviors within the movies above. However within the meantime, if I can do it, particularly with Lewis, I wager you are able to do it along with your canine, too. Please know that I perceive how taxing it’s to must dedicate all types of time to the “arduous” canine whereas the affected person canine simply needs to be affected person. The excellent news is that that is normally a fixable drawback.

It’s such a aid to incorporate Clara in most coaching classes once more.

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Copyright 2022 Eileen Anderson



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