Logan & Monkey Training Journey

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

@jengosmonkey said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

Logan learned a hand command, and it wasn’t on purpose.

One other interpretation of this is that he understood the hand command but wasn't sure of the verbal command. Often we don't know what the dog is cuing off of, and sometimes it isn't what we think. Same goes for other animals, e.g. the horse that "anticipates" when you are going to ask for a canter strike off, but does it before you give the aid. It's often because we do things with our body we are not aware of that the animal picks up on and associates, prior to us "officially" issuing a command. If you want to be sure your dog understands your verbal command, a neat trick is to use either another person or a mirror, and give the verbal command from a position where your dog cannot see you.

@jengosmonkey Trouble with inventing signed commands is that if someone else wants him to sit and uses the normally accepted sign, your dog won't respond.

Much better to use standard signs to get your dog to sit, stay, down or whatever

@eeeefarm said in Logan & Monkey Training Journey:

One other interpretation of this is that he understood the hand command but wasn't sure of the verbal command. ... If you want to be sure your dog understands your verbal command, a neat trick is to use either another person or a mirror, and give the verbal command from a position where your dog cannot see you.

I really enjoy your feedback. 😁

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