Logan & Monkey Training Journey

So Logan is doing really well, in my opinion. But that’s suspect cause.... well, still not entirely sure what I’m doing. The easy leader showed up with the DVD. I was able to size it correctly, but he pretty much hates it. I’ve slowed down and have been feeding him treats to allow me to get his head Into it and I’m having him eat his meals in it per the DVD, but he doesn’t like walking in it while on a lead. Treats make no difference. He refuses treats when he’s walked in it. So, I’ve slowed down and am having him wear it, but am not asking him to walk in it anymore yet. Just want him to get comfortable it per the DVD.

Good news is he’s learned to sit! He won’t sit on the tile because he slides, but once I have him on the carpet... every single time. He wants his treat, but I’ve started to alternate with just lost and lots of praise. He’s doing it.

Also, I allow him to get to the end of the Flexi lead and then call him “Logan, come!” Then reward him when he comes all the way to me. He comes all the way back to me almost every time now. If it’s just he and I in a controlled low stimuli area it’s every time. I alternate between treat/praise and praise only. If we’re near squirrels or other trail smells it’s a little more hit and miss. More miss than hit.

My next goal is to start working on stay. I went through my dog stash and found a long training lead and will start him in the backyard first, then move to the park in front of our house. Once he has that down we’ll move to the trail.

I’ve never had a dog this eager work with me. I wish my Dad lived closer. He could train me. But, we’ll get there.

last edited by JENGOSMonkey

Training "Stay" should not be a big deal though you'll need to constantly reinforce it. Doing it 15 times won't work, and doing it 50 times until the command works and then forgetting about it won't work either.

No need for a lead. And it will likely work better with a clicker. Nothing magical about a clicker but you can more quickly and precisely reinforce the behavior, which gets more important as you move further away. Spend a day associating the click with the treat. This is pretty simple. Then have him sit and give the stay command. Move a bit away. Doesn't have to be far. Even a lean will work. When the stay is there click and then move back to give the treat. Best to keep focus, so if the look is away wait for it to come back.

Gradually move further and further away. At some point you may be 15-20 feet away when you click and then go back and give the treat. This is usually not a tough sell because, from a Basenji perspective, nothing beats getting treats for just sitting there. Should be a fairly quick train. It's one of the easier ones to teach.

Moving a Basenji to a trail is problematic. Their DNA says independent hunter. Huge difference with commands in an enclosed space and when they see a rabbit in an open area. Once they start after prey they lose their hearing. LOL

@donc
Thanks for the reminder and the tip about the clicker (thought I had one but may have to repurchase). During the pandemic, I've been fortunate enough to work at home so the pup and I are never far apart and we've not been practicing our training. This could be problematical if we ever get a handle of the virus and move back to more normal things. This will provide some good lunch time practice sessions (with the change in time, it is midnight by the time I get off so we will practice on lunch break) Thanks again!

@njdeb I get ya. I've been consistent on some things and sloppy or lazy on others. He comes now to either me or my wife whenever we call him now. We've been really consistent on that one. Jengo would never do it. Logan... almost every single time. Of course, he expects a reward. Sometimes a treat, and always praise. He sits pretty well when he wants to, but he won't sit on wet grass, cold sidewalks. tile floors, or on dirt of any kind... treat or no treat. He gets stubborn and no matter how much I try to push his but down... nope... ain't gonna do it. When I walk him on a short lead now he slows down and stays right with me, for the most part. He pulls now and again. Not like in the beginning. I keep doing the STOP thing and don't continue till he gives me back some slack. Morning walk is flexi lead short in the neighborhood, but long in the park and on the trail. I want him to have some freedom. I still won't unhook him, or take him to the dog park yet, so this is as good as it gets for him. Evening walks are short lead only. I've also been working on him walking on left side only.

I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the clicker training concept. I need to find some YouTube videos.

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:>

I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the clicker training concept. I need to find some YouTube videos.

Nothing magical about a clicker. It acts exactly like a reward. In fact that's the first part of the training -- you have the dog understand than a click means a reward is upcoming.

The clicker just makes it easier to work at a distance. For example, if you are trying to shape your dog's behavior so he/she goes into a crate, you stand by the crate with your clicker. As they get closer to the entrance you click and then treat. Then you click and treat when they start poking their head inside. Finally you click and treat when they get inside. Now of course you could skip the click part, but by the time you lean in with the treat the critical moment may have passed. So it may not be as clear to the dog what you are treating for.

You are doing great BTW. No point in pushing his butt down. Very difficult to get a Basenji to sit in water! On the leash try clicking/treating or just treating when he stops pulling and starts walking with you.

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

he won't sit on wet grass, cold sidewalks. tile floors, or on dirt of any kind... treat or no treat. He gets stubborn

just so you know... I won't either. Why do you expect him to sit on icky things? Just focus on getting the "sit" command to be consistent. Try this:

  • hold a treat between your finger and thumb, show it to him, then very slowly raise the treat up above his head. As he follows the treat with his eyes, his head will arch upwards to look at the ceiling and his butt will go down to the floor. Tada! He is in a "sit" position. Give him the treat and lots of praise. Further along in the training and you should just be able to snap your fingers over his head to get a "sit".

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

I keep doing the STOP thing and don't continue till he gives me back some slack.

Try this:

  • instead of saying "stop" when he pulls on the lead. You stop and relax until he stops pulling. He will figure it out. Pulling just means he doesn't go anywhere.
  • when I stop (to cross a road, talk to someone, etc.) I use the word "wait". Now when I say "wait" doodle stops moving. Most of the time. 😉

Thanks for the input, both. Appreciated. I was being facetious about him not wanting to sit on those surfaces. 🙃 But, there are times though where he refuses to do what I ask him. Wait is good command. Think I'll try using that one.

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

I was being facetious

and I'm usually so good at detecting sarcasm!

I started a Great Courses subscription via Amazon Video a while back. I watched some really good courses too... The Silk Road, Eastern European History, The Founding Fathers, Radio Astronomy, Greece and Turkey Archeology, etc. Their courses are really well done and the instructors seem very well qualified. So I was perusing their catalog again about 2 weeks ago and stumbled on Dog Training 101. I've watched several episodes. The first few set some ground rules and introduce terminology. Then she gets into the actual training. So far I really like it and it seems to work on Logan... sometimes. He's learned sit and come really well. He stays much better, but doesn't like it. We keep working on it. I've been working on shake and that's another one that he does when he wants. It's ok. I just keep practicing everyday and does seem to be getting more willing to do it more often.

The one that he will not do, ever, is down. Won't do it. Can't lead him with a treat at all. I get him to sit easily, then use the treat straight down from his nose to the floor like they show in the course and bam... butt comes up and he dips his head to get the treat. I keep doing it hoping that he might drop by accident, but he never does. Any suggestions?

This is what should always be done, work their minds, not just their body... and keep in mind if you don't have time to share with your pup... consider waiting till you do before getting a pup of any breed, if you have children you need to makes sure that you carve out time for the dog... and if you don't think about waiting till you get a pup. They do not learn on their own, they need time with you and the family...

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

The one that he will not do, ever, is down. Won't do it. Can't lead him with a treat at all. I get him to sit easily, then use the treat straight down from his nose to the floor like they show in the course and bam... butt comes up and he dips his head to get the treat. I keep doing it hoping that he might drop by accident, but he never does. Any suggestions?

Clicker train it. Keep a clicker handy or use a marker word. Wait for him to lie down on his own (you may be aware of times he is more likely to do this), click and reward. This will be slow going at first but eventually the penny will drop and he should begin to offer it. Do not name the behaviour until he is doing it repeatedly to get the click and treat. Once he does it reliably you name the behaviour to put it on cue (say "down" as he begins to drop), then fade out the clicker and reward intermittently when you ask for down and get it.

@eeeefarm said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

Clicker train it. Keep a clicker handy or use a marker word. Wait for him to lie down on his own (you may be aware of times he is more likely to do this), click and reward.

Ok. @DonC has also been coaxing me to start clicker training for some time. Just ordered clickers that will be here tomorrow. What is a "marker word"? and how does that work? The rest I understood.

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

@eeeefarm said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

Clicker train it. Keep a clicker handy or use a marker word. Wait for him to lie down on his own (you may be aware of times he is more likely to do this), click and reward.

Ok. @DonC has also been coaxing me to start clicker training for some time. Just ordered clickers that will be here tomorrow. What is a "marker word"? and how does that work? The rest I understood.

A marker word is just a word you use to indicate to the animal that he has done something he will be rewarded for, just as a clicker marks the behaviour you will reward. So, something like "yes" said emphatically would work, or your word of choice. A clicker is "better" because there is no intonation to possibly confuse him. I used a marker word with my horses, as I often did not have a hand free for a clicker when I was riding, but a "yes" let them know that a reward would be coming and marked the behaviour that had earned it....

To add to my comment yesterday, if I was trying to teach "down" through "pure" clicker training (not using a lure or any other indication of what is wanted), I might go into a small room (a bathroom would be ideal), sit down and wait. The dog will probably walk around, want to go out the door, bug you for the treats he knows you have, etc, but eventually sit and with luck will lie down, giving you the opportunity to click and reward.

@eeeefarm That’s what I was looking for! I’ll try the bathroom idea. The training course talks about setting up a calm secure training area, but the bathroom never occurred to me. I ordered new training treats too. Hopefully he’ll respond to a new tasty bribe.

You need a ton of patience to be successful with clicker training but it works! I don't have meaningful use of my hands anymore but I've used clicker training quite successfully without using much of a lure - the dog eventually will offer behaviours that you can mark, and then slowly shape the behaviour into what you want. I don't use a marker word, I use a specific sounding mouth/tongue click. A mouth click is handy, it's always with you.
-Joanne

A long time ago, before clicker training went mainstream and possibly before it was invented, a friend of mine who was taking psychology trained her father's working Labrador retriever to bow on cue, simply by capturing the moment when the dog would stretch, using a marker word, and rewarding with praise or occasionally a treat. Classic clicker training does the same thing. You mark the behaviour when it occurs, and if you use positive reinforcement the dog will offer that behaviour again, more consistently as they figure out what is triggering the reinforcement. Then you name the behaviour (put it on cue) so that you can ask the dog to perform it when you wish.

Once the behaviour is reliably on cue, you no longer use a clicker in connection with it, and you reinforce intermittently when the dog responds appropriately to your command. The clicker is for teaching new behaviour, so there is no need for it once the dog associates the word with the action required. It's important to switch from rewarding every time to an intermittent reward, as it will be a stronger incentive for the dog to work harder to please you. This is the "casino" principle. Will I win this time?? 😉

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

Ok. @DonC has also been coaxing me to start clicker training for some time. Just ordered clickers that will be here tomorrow. What is a "marker word"? and how does that work? The rest I understood.

Just for the record, I don't use the clicker very often! LOL I don't dislike it, it just doesn't always work for what I'd like to do. For what you are working on it should be great.

Marker words will work The reason I'm not a fan is that we tend to chatter at our dogs a lot, and the marker word can get lost in the chatter. The clicker is more distinctive and less subject to noise.

FYI what you are trying to do with your dog is called "shaping". Basically you reinforce a behavior. So the dog gets to decide to "do or not do" and you get to "reward or not reward". Shaping works with humans, it's just not called that. A famous example is where the audience was told to smile at the presenter when he approached one edge of the stage. You can imagine what happened!

last edited by DonC

@donc said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

Marker words will work The reason I'm not a fan is that we tend to chatter at our dogs a lot, and the marker word can get lost in the chatter. The clicker is more distinctive and less subject to noise.

FYI what you are trying to do with your dog is called "shaping". Basically you reinforce a behavior. So the dog gets to decide to "do or not do" and you get to "reward or not reward". Shaping works with humans, it's just not called that. A famous example is where the audience was told to smile at the presenter when he approached one edge of the stage. You can imagine what happened!

More accurately, "shaping" is the reinforcement of successive approximation until you arrive at the behaviour you are aiming for. e.g. if you want the dog to pick up an object, you would start by rewarding approaching the object, then sniffing the object, touching it, mouthing it, opening mouth close to it, taking hold of it, and finally picking it up. You break the steps down as small as you need them to be, and go back a step if you are encountering confusion. In the case of teaching a dog to lie down, you would reward any step in that direction, like stretching or sitting, but gradually withholding until he gives you more. Alternatively you could just wait for him to lie down and reward that! Usually you don't start with your goal behaviour but in this case it is likely to be offered so you might just want to wait and "capture" it.

I find clicker training to be most useful in teaching behaviours that are not easily understood or that are tricky for the animal to understand. I used it to teach my horses to use a new automatic water bowl that operated differently than their previous one......you had to push the lever down instead of sideways as in the previous model, which I expected to be an easy transition, but seemed to puzzle them to the point where they were training me to push it for them! I switched to clicker training and had four horses using it properly in a day and a half of short sessions with each horse.

Marker words need to be said emphatically and in the same tone to be effective. Clickers are easier to be precise with, so IMO a better choice if you have a free hand. But you don't always have a clicker with you and a marker word may be useful at times.

last edited by eeeefarm

@eeeefarm said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

But you don't always have a clicker with you and a marker word may be useful at times.

Any training shouldn't rely too much on 'foreign objects'. They are fine as training aids, but try to graduate towards marker words and signs which are not reliant on anything but you to deliver them.

Logan learned a hand command, and it wasn’t on purpose. When I was trying to teach Logan sit I hadn’t watched any videos or read anything, so I was winging it. I’d say sit and hope he would. Sometimes he would, so then I’d reward him. He got better and better, but sometimes he didn’t want to. So, I’d touch his back just in front of his tail with my index finger. Id tap his back with a little bit of pressure. Not too much. He eventually would sit then get his reward. I didn’t have do it every time though.

Anyway, I gave him the command sit yesterday and he didn’t wanna do it. Gave him the command again. Nope. So I gave the command a third time while showing him my hand while taping downward with my index finger like I might if i were to touch his back like before... he sat. Interesting, I thought. Later when he ran to me I used just my hand with the index finder tap, but no verbal command and bam! His butt planted. Cool! Here’s your nib. I did again five more times. He sat every time.

I know it’s the wrong hand command for sit, but I wasn’t trying to teach him a hand command. Guess he’s smarter than I am. Still... pretty cool. Hand command dog!

last edited by JENGOSMonkey

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