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 talents are far-reaching.

For the reason that finish of December 2021 once I acquired Lewis, I’ve spent most of my coaching time with him. That signifies that Clara, my stalwart, beautiful Clara, hasn’t been getting as a lot enjoyable coaching time with me. I’ve been exhausted from coaching and managing Lewis. And he or she loves to coach. As you may keep in mind, we have 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 each day 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 Worry of Lacking Out. So far as I can inform, he doesn’t have signs of separation nervousness 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 discovered an enormous palette of demand behaviors as properly.

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 typically get it open, dammit. Speak about nice reinforcement.

However he has discovered, over nearly 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 the whole lot for months.)

I’m not nice at precision coaching, however if you happen to want endurance and a sluggish, gradual development, I’m your particular person.

Coaching Two Canine

I wrote a weblog publish on coaching a number of canines just a few years in the past, and I nonetheless comply with that methodology. The precept of instructing one canine to attend whereas one other will get the lively coaching may be very easy. I discovered it from Sue Ailsby. If you end up coaching a canine to attend on a mat or different station when you work with one other canine, practice the ready canine. Don’t give attention to the lively canine and provides the ready canine a deal with from time to time, and even each time you deal with the lively one. Give the ready canine extra consideration, extra reinforcement. Whenever 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 strengthen each canines richly.

The excessive fee of reinforcement for the ready canine received’t be eternally. You possibly can unfold out your schedule later and decrease the worth of the treats as soon as they be taught that within the large image, they’ll get a flip. And attending to work can develop into the largest reinforcer of all.

I haven’t discovered the movies the place I began this with Lewis. However right here is one in every of my outdated movies starring Zani the place I take a methodical method to instructing this conduct. The video under exhibits my newest triumph: Lewis ready properly on a Klimb platform whereas I take Clara by way of some very lively coaching—getting on and in objects. This was a very long time coming.

Three issues about this film.

  • Sorry concerning the crappy digicam angle; I nearly reduce him off.
  • I feel 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 along with his entrance ft 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 regular. It doesn’t damage her to make use of her paw; I feel the bandage feels bizarre.

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

Zen/Go away It/Impulse Management with Two Canine

Leaving accessible stuff alone is a lifesaving ability for canines.

Folks have numerous affordable 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 will be that surroundings controls conduct. The “self” isn’t controlling conduct, however penalties and historical past of penalties are. However no matter we name the conduct, we will educate canines, with constructive reinforcement, to go away an accessible goodie alone for prolonged durations if we begin regularly and make it value their whereas.

Strategies for instructing canines to go away accessible meals alone have gotten increasingly more constructive reinforcement-based . Marge Rogers and I now not use approaches primarily based on extinction and unfavourable punishment. There are not any durations the place the animal tries and might’t get the meals as a part of the coaching plan. That creates pointless frustration. Canine don’t must attempt to get it and fail to be able to be taught to go away the meals alone.

As a substitute, I’ve discovered 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 educate the conduct, I inevitably make a few fumbles. So there could also be some unfavourable punishment concerned if I progress too quick, they go for the meals, and I forestall entry. That’s a mistake on my half; I’m not an ideal coach. However I’m getting higher at this low error method.

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 fundamental thought, I transitioned to instructing 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 selected conduct on there. I begin by putting meals on the ground, then work as much as dropping it and having it bounce round. Observe that the presence of Clara makes the stakes greater 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 rapidly for Lewis—too many kibbles coming straight at him too quick. When that occurs, I don’t even attempt to hold him from the meals. He will get strengthened for the fallacious conduct—leaping right down to seize the meals. However I’m not fearful; I can hold the matching legislation on my aspect.

I do have a verbal cue for depart it: “Pas,” the French phrase. I picked it years in the past as a result of I had taught Summer season “Go away It” with corrections and wanted an un-poisoned phrase. I typically really feel a little bit foolish utilizing it (and other people assume I’m saying “paw”). However I can say the quick phrase with the plosive consonant very quietly and the cue may be very recognizable. I feel I picked phrase, in spite of everything. (Thanks, Lynn Shrove, for suggesting it. I haven’t forgotten!)

I apply 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 way of my collection of Lewis movies, I’ll publish 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 together with your canine, too. Please know that I perceive how taxing it’s to must commit all kinds of time to the “laborious” canine whereas the affected person canine simply must be affected person. The excellent news is that that is often a fixable downside.

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

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