It’s okay! Communication fog and it’s relation to cues in training


We rely heavily on our intuitive understanding of communication.  We think that somehow animals will understand what we are saying, in our verbal language. One of the pictures that I have in my head is a friend coming with a visit to my house. Majority of people want to make some interaction with my dogs. It usually starts with asking my dog to give high five or sit. The result is pretty much always the same. My dogs keep wagging their tails and having no clue what they were asked for. What do guests do?  The repeat the cue, they ask over and over again usually, they try to change intonation (at the end they ask me why my dogs are not “trained”). Like if there is some magical connection between human and a dog and that if we try really hard, they will understand what we are saying.  Our guest behavior is definitely strongly influenced by the history of reinforcement. At some point in their life this behavior was reinforced, usually by accident, when the dog sat after all the talking.

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TO WALK OR NOT TO WALK? That is the question!

For a long time I was a big advocate of daily walks with all dogs. I considered it a part of being a thoughtful, educated caregiver. There are multiple sources that advice daily walks, as a necessity for every dog. Myself I felt as I was not filling my duties as caregiver when I couldn’t take my dogs for a two hours walk at least. But is it always the best solution?
Gunia, my “aggressive princess” taught me the opposite. Right now she goes for a walk occasionally. Only when she chooses to. I had hard time accepting it, I had this vision in my head, that I should be taking her every day. That especially being a dog trainer, I should be giving an example of how people should care about dogs. And one of the deeply rooted belief in my head was daily walk.

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Marker cues – revisited


Marker: A marker is a stimulus which has become a secondary reinforcer by the process of both classical and operant conditioning.

What is the function of MARKERS?

First of all, their function is communication with the dog. If used correctly, they constitute a clear way of conveying information to our pet.

  1. They reassure the learner that what they are doing is right. In other words, they take the randomness and ambiguity out of the task the animal performs, thereby reinforcing the target behavior.
  2. They separate the behavior from the reinforcer.

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Antecedent Arrangements part 2


This is the second part of this article. Okay so we already know antecedent arrangement is something to look into when we talk about problem behaviors. But does it relate to sports training? Or any dog training at all?
To sum it up, I would say your success depends on how you setup the training session. And this means a lot of antecedent arrangement. I will cite some paragraphs from my article about shaping cues, but it will be best if you also read it as an addition to this article.

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Time-out from…!


When I have done a poll on my Facebook fan-page I received 79 responses. 30 people said they use time-out the rest said no. It was 38% yes, to 62% no. But the thing is, when those who said yes in the pool explained in the comments what they actually meant, it turned out to be a sports time-out.  A break,  a time off from training, a play, tossed treats. Which actually makes me really happy. But also is a great example that we often argue about two different things. One person says she uses time-out and the other says no, and they start an argument, but the problem is they have different definition of the procedure that they are taking about. That’s why I believe we should either relay on scientific meaning of a certain term. Or if not, we need to always explain what we mean when we say “time-out” or any other procedure.

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Hasło na kształtowanie


Kształtowanie to w możliwie największym skrócie, zróżnicowane wzmacnianie, kolejnych udanych przybliżeń do docelowego zachowania. Czym kształtowanie nie jest to przewodnik bez planu, czekający aż pies czy inne zwierzę oferuje różne zachowania, z których można wybierać te „właściwe”. Kształtowanie to bardzo szeroka tematyka, dlatego bardziej zainteresowanych zapraszam na kurs online, a tymczasem do meritum. Czy do kształtowania przyda nam się hasło?
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