Posts filed under ‘Reads’
It’s that Clicker Expo time of year and I am not going. Sigh – I will miss Sarah Owings, Emily Larlham and Susan Friedman again! Even so, my brain seems to have kicked into WANT-TO-LEARN-NEW-THINGS mode! Thank goodness for Tawzer DVD sales.
DVDs on my Watch List this week:
1. Sue Sternberg – dog-dog body language – Watching this one for drawing reference.
2. Patient Like The Chipmunks – So glad this is on YouTube! Watched this historical gem a few nights ago. Warning: Different animals doing cute amazing things but I would rate this video a zero on the ‘warm and fuzzy’ scale. :) This is the cold, emotion-less face of Science, Enterprise and Efficiency in animal training… How it all began, starting with BF Skinner and pigeons shaped to guide missiles; critters in boxes performing 4-5 hour shifts…. The point is that the Brelands and Baileys are still so inspiring and deserve to be better known for being way ahead of their time in championing humane animal training methods. Quote Bob Bailey: “Patience and preparedness is better than brute force”.
3. Roger Abrantes – I have only watched Disc 1 of 3 so far and I am loving it. Quote: These DVDs are a “Review of the Principles of Behaviorism and Operant Conditioning spiced with the view of an Ethologist”. Roger Abrantes is fascinating to listen to and to observe and I think this might be the first dog training DVD I have ever watched where the presenter is actually interacting with and moving around with a dog (and their humans) rather than talking straight to camera the whole session. He also very clearly defines the words he uses. eg, Signal vs Cue vs Command; and I like that he says “Inhibitors” instead of “Punishers”.
4. Grisha Stewart - there is a full series of DVDs (with covers I illustrated!), and I am starting with the “Problem Prevention” instalment tomorrow :)
Will add thoughts later….
P.S. I have registered a domain name for Boogie’s blog! It is now http://www.boogiebt.com
January 16, 2015 at 9:12 am
Every time I bring out the ear medication bottle (even before I touch or look at the bottle), Boogie KNOWS what is going to happen. He can read me like a book. He makes himself very small, like a turtle, and creeps very low to the ground, slinking away under a chair or into his crate.
I have tried counter conditioning with treats. Things went well (the bottle ceased to be ‘scary’) up until the moment that he realized that liquid dripped inside his ear… and then he stopped wanting food and would back off as soon as he knew what would eventually happen. So I always ended up administering ear drops “by force”, while Boogie endured the ordeal. And then off he would go, escaping to shake off, before returning for the consolation treat.
I have started watching Lori Stevens’s Tellington TTouch For Dogs DVD, and yesterday I decided to try something new.
Of course,as always, Boogie predicted the worst so he pulled his ears back really tight as soon as I touched them. I didn’t pick up the ear meds. First I did some touches on his head and around the outside ear area with the back of my hand (Chimp TTouch). Then I used my whole hand on top of his head to move the base of his ears around, before doing direct ear strokes… and soon I could feel his ears and his whole body relaxing.
(By the way, I had already done these same TTouches the night before, and I knew Boogie enjoyed them, so it wasn’t like a completely foreign experience).
When he seemed sufficiently relaxed, I added the ear drops into his infected ear, massaged this in, and waited for him to escape.
Miraculously, Boogie did not move. He just stayed where he was and looked at me, so I continued doing slides on both his ears and massaging the base of his ears. When I removed my hands to see if he had had enough, he turned around to look at me again: “Why are you stopping?”
It was pretty cool.
I was ready to gloat but then things did not go so well this morning. I went through the same steps as yesterday. I did Noah’s March along his back and some Chimp TTouches around his face and ears… I stroked his ears until his head was resting on the couch and to me, he looked perfectly calm and relaxed. I stopped from time to time to make sure he was still fine… he was.
Then as soon as I unscrewed the ear drops bottle cap, Boogie jumped off the couch and ran away into the bedroom.
I went to get him and slowly he returned to the couch, with not his usual sad-faced ears-pinned-back look that was usually associated with ear medications. Boogie’s ears were up and his eyes were bright. He looked at me, looked at the ear drops bottle on the table, looked at me…
THIS DOG IS NO FOOL.
March 1, 2014 at 8:07 pm
The only Black Friday Sale I took advantage of last month was the one offered by Tawzer Dog. I got Lori Steven’s TTouch Walking In Balance DVD and last week I finished watching all 3 discs. Lori Stevens is fantastic and the seminar was so interesting and enlightening that now I wish I had ordered the first TTouch DVD too!
Last year I had tried to read Linda Tellington-Jones’s TTouch book after Boogie’s intro TTouch session with Cynde. To be honest, it was hard to take in and retain all this information from the book without having more tangible experiences. I am the sort of person who needs to see and feel how something is done (vs only reading about it) – and watching Lori Stevens’ DVD has rekindled my desire to learn more about TTouch. Also – the fact that TTouch was developed by Linda Tellington-Jones from Feldenkrais is something that I find really exciting. I have been obsessed with Feldenkrais all year and have been doing ATM lessons (ATM =”awareness through movement”) at home, a few times a week.
If anyone is interested, here is the Frank Wildman ATM lesson (45 minutes) you can check out – ‘Folding Your Body With Ease ‘ https://www.dropbox.com/s/52hs6ip3cdhotpq/Vol1_lesson_one.mp3
To quote Lori Stevens, TTouch and Feldenkrais are both “neuromuscular retraining programs”.
In using non-habitual movements and body work, we reduce tension patterns in our bodies, we gain awareness, we loosen our joints, experience improvement in posture and gait, which in turn, lead to emotional well being, greater confidence and better physical performance. All these things influence behavior, which is why TTouch is also categorized as a “dog training method” that is humane and force-free.
I totally get the emotional benefits of better posture and gait, and the force-free aspect of this sort of training, based on my own experiences with Feldenkrais. I still relish the ‘magical’ DIY results even though there is a scientific explanation as to why this all works. It’s amazing to me that I can eliminate pain from my own body and expand my range of movement just by attentively, doing a series of gentle movements on a yoga mat that do NOT in any way involve physical effort or discomfort. No stretching, no muscle manipulations, no “holding” of poses… I always feel amazing afterwards – taller, more stable, more flexible, more alert, pain-free etc. and I feel more motivated to work out and do physical things.
To quote Feldenkrais practitioners: We are learning to use our bodies more effectively to move effortlessly. We are training skill, not will. The skill is proprioception.
I keep all this in mind when I think of what I can do for Boogie with TTouch.
The focus of the Walking In Balance DVD is really ‘leash walking’ techniques and how to stay connected to your dog. In the first disc, there is an overview and intro including a Feldenkrais ATM lesson for humans to do (yes I did this! It was cool) so that we know how ‘improved proprioception’ feels. Then Lori demonstrated some important TTouches on fake and real dogs: Noah’s March, Zig Zag, Python Lifts, & Tail Work. I loved that she shared details on the amount of pressure to use, how slow the movements should be, where to pause, how to move to the next spot, how not to go over the same areas… etc.
As I was watching, I practiced on Boogie and took notes. Boogie LOVED the TTouches so much that he left his bed and snuggled up to me on the couch for more. Some rough sketches:
According to Lori, senior dogs tend to lose “back end proprioception”. *edit* Dogs naturally put 60% of their weight on their front end so that as they get older their back ends atrophy. When dogs pull on the leash, this is not only damaging to the thyroid and trachea, the dog can also develop unhealthy patterns of “leaning”, making things worse. And so in using TTouches and Wraps we can sensitize dogs to more “hind-end awareness” and in so doing, correct gait issues.
Likewise for dogs who do agility and reactive dogs. The DVD showed some footage of an agility dog whose jumping movements improved after experiencing a Wrap.
“We usually see a change in behavior when there are changes in the way a dog moves.”
Boogie had experienced a half-wrap last summer but I am not sure if it made any difference. Perhaps this is because he is usually always wearing some sort of harness so he is used to having “stuff” wrapped around his body so perhaps the Wrap didn’t feel “non-habitual” enough? Or perhaps it wasn’t helpful to be wearing a Wrap on such a hot day. Now that we are in winter, I will try this again. I have some bandages lying around somewhere.
Another TTouch method demo-ed on the DVD is the Balance Leash with 2 points of contact- which to me, looks quite complicated. I had to sketch it out to memorize what goes where.
The purpose of having 2 points of contact is for clearer communication or clearer leash cues. With 2 points, the dog can sense much earlier when we want to change direction than if we had one point of leash contact. In the DVD, Lori demo-ed this with humans on leash. With one point of contact, when we turn, the dog would feel more like he was being pulled. “It takes two to pull”. We pull, the dog pulls.
Quote Lori: In an ideal world, dogs would be wearing harnesses with front and back attachments, not collars.
In TTouch, we “stroke the leash” to let our dog know when we want to slow down, turn around, or stop. Now I know where the “mime pulling” in BAT comes from! :)
Boogie has not worn a collar in years… he wears a Freedom harness and these days, only using the back attachment and a one-clip leash. I could in fact configure a Balance Leash using the back ring only, by having the leash go around his chest…
Note: A good harness should not restrict shoulder or front leg movements nor be too tight. On the DVD, Lori went through different types of harnesses and a few different two-ring configurations for harnesses, some including side rings. I will need to revisit the DVD to remember what these different kinds of harnesses are.
There was so much more information on the DVD (“Labyrinth”, Walking on different surfaces, how to work with reactive dogs etc) that I can’t summarize everything in this one blog post. I definitely need to go back and watch segments again and refer also to the DogRead Yahoo Group postings which had more detailed discussions and examples. (See postings from Dec 1-15, “Tellington TTouch Techniques: Walking in Balance With Your Dog” Lori Stevens)
A final memo: Before taking our dog out the door for a walk (when he is usually all hyped from being cooped up indoors all day), it is a good idea to have 5 minutes of Calm Connectedness. TTouch is a good way to stay connected and bond with your dog before venturing out.
Thank you, Lori!
DISCLAIMER: The sketches in this blog post are rough visual notes that I created after watching the DVD. I did these sketches for fun/for myself because I remember and process concepts better when I draw them. You are welcome to use and share them but please note that they are NOT official TTouch handouts. – Lili :)
December 24, 2013 at 9:25 pm
*This blog post was written a few months ago, following on from Part 1.
From “How To Live With a Neurotic Dog” (1960)
“Eli, No!” – a picture book (2011)
The pictures above are from two books that I bought only for the artwork. The first book is from the 60’s; and the second book is recent.
I think we live in exciting times because there is a cultural shift in thinking about dog training, dog behavior and human-dog relationships, and there is now more information available on the internet and in books on understanding why dogs do what they do and how they learn, and adjust our training methods to be smarter and kinder.
From “How To Live With A Neurotic Dog” (1960)
Traditional dog training, being based in punishment and behavior suppression put a lot of emphasis on the “No!’s”.
To (loosely) quote Sarah: “There are people who want their dogs to be seen and not heard and they believe that this is how the relationship should be between human and dog. And then there are those of us who want our dogs to be able to express themselves, communicate, initiate things, and feel empowered in a relationship”. The inspiring thing about Clicker Expo is that everyone is there to focus on the “Yes’s” – how to train in ways that encourage more behaviors, not less.
At the January Clicker Expo, I went to three Ken Ramirez seminars. Ken Ramirez is an expert trainer at Shedd Aquarium who has worked with many species of exotic animals and all his training stories (mistakes AND successes) were very insightful and heartwarming.
In his seminar on “What To Do When The Animal Makes Mistakes-“, “No!” is technically referred to as a No Reward Marker or Punisher.
Ken Ramirez said that he will not judge people who use punishment or negative reinforcement in their training methods, but he personally finds no need to say “No” to any student animal that he is training. He is able to accomplish any training goal with Positive Reinforcement.
“We are more creative trainers if we don’t have a way to say NO. You don’t want to say NO to an elephant.”
To Ken, trust is one of the most important aspect of any training plan, and what defines a good relationship between trainer and trainee is a strong positive reinforcement history.
One of the most common trainer mistakes is requesting a difficult behavior from an animal when he/she is not yet fluent in that behavior. This messes up the trust relationship. He shared several examples when trainers got too greedy and asked for too much too soon. Trainers might get too caught up in their egos, push the animal too far, the animal is unable to do the behavior he was trained to do (or doesn’t feel totally comfortable with it yet), has some sort of breakdown, stops doing that behavior… and then there is a lose-lose situation where it can take YEARS to re-train that behavior.
Ken Ramirez outlined the various ways that we have learned to deal with unwanted behavior. He cited the 8 methods in Karen Pryor’s classic book “Don’t Shoot The Dog” and agrees with Karen Pryor that “Changing the Motivation” is the most humane positive method. However, this is not always the most practical solution. There has to be a more immediate way to deal with unwanted behavior or mistakes.
Common ways of changing unwanted behavior that are aversive to the animal in some way:
PUNISHMENT – self explanatory. We add something aversive to make the behavior stop. The animal does not learn what is right. Punishing is addictive too to the trainer, and can get out of control. There is a high risk of fallout and loss of trust in the relationship. Dogs as a species may be more forgiving than killer whales but this is beside the point. Physical punishment works but is the least humane and most intrusive method.
NO REWARD MARKER (NRM) – basically a word like “No”, or “Wrong”, or “Oops!” or “Stop it”. Which to Ken, are essentially still punishers (Conditioned Punishers or Secondary Punishers). Even if we use “Oops!” as a warning (“Watch out, this is your last chance or else…”) if we lack self-control and use it too frequently, it could definitely become something aversive and will damage the relationship between human and animal. Even the kindest version of a “No” when overused will lead to frustration.
TIME OUT or Negative Punishment (eg, the trainer leaving the room with all the food, when the animal misbehaves) This is another response that causes frustration and anxiety, mainly because the animal does not have a clue which behavior he did was wrong and does not learn what is right. The information is not clear. Time Outs are also ONLY effective if the animal likes you in the first place or finds the training reinforcing. The animal may be relieved to be away from you.
KR gave a great example of a classic Time Out mistake: Dog does something ‘naughty’, person picks up dog, puts him in the crate and person leaves the room.
NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT = Training a behavior where the animal gets to avoid or escape something aversive. Ken Ramirez says that even though Negative Reinforcement always involves some sort of aversive, this doesn’t mean it is inherently evil. For example we use alarm clocks (aversive noise) to wake us up in the morning. We hate the noise but it makes us wake up. Another example is when we learn to turn off the car lights because every time we forget, there’s that loud beeping noise. The biggest issues with Negative Reinforcement are that overuse will lead to frustration and anxiety. The severity of the aversive can be hard to control and can become inhumane. It takes a lot of skill to use Negative Reinforcement effectively.
I am thinking of training protocols for reactivity/aggression like BAT , which include some element of Negative Reinforcement. To paraphrase what Grisha Stewart said at the BAT seminar – yes, there is the use of an aversive in BAT set ups (presenting the dog with a scary dog/person) but we can’t avoid this aversive in real life. “It’s not like we can sit on the couch with our dog and calmly chat with him about his fear of other dogs”. I see that the humane use of Negative Reinforcement involves working in a controlled environment, not adding any artificial aversives, and always letting the dog feel safe and in control.
I like these Susan Friedman quotes:
Control the environment not the animal.
Control is a primary reinforcer, to deprive an animal of control is akin to depriving them of water, food.
To the greatest extent possible all animals should be empowered to exercise personal control over significant environmental events.
In addition to whether or not a method is effective, we have to consider what is the least harmful or least intrusive technique for teaching or changing behavior, and Ken Ramirez referenced the “Heirarchy of Effective Procedures” chart by Dr. Susan Friedman.
Here is Dr. Susan Friedman’s original article which is a must-read.
Example: If your dog runs around in the yard all day and growls at people on the street, you could change his environment/antecedent arrangements (level 2) – bring him indoors, or put him in the backyard out of view of the street – this would be less intrusive than actively changing his behavior with reinforcers or punishers (levels 3-5).
Ken Ramirez’s favorite least intrusive method for dealing with mistakes is what he calls the LEAST REINFORCING STIMULUS (LRS).
The LRS method was developed and used in zoos but it is also useful with pets. Top priority:
1. not reinforcing unwanted behavior, and
2. not adding any stress or frustration to the relationship.
This is how I understand it.
1. First of all, there must be already a strong Positive Reinforcement history (ie, good relationship) and high rate of reinforcement.
2. When the animal makes a mistake or does the wrong behavior (not the one you asked for), be NEUTRAL for 3 seconds. Stay calm and DO NOTHING for three seconds. One thousand, two thousand, three thousand…
3. Immediately ask for another behavior that you know is easy, that the animal can do. Give reinforcement.
Assuming that 3 seconds is the right amount of time, the mistake/unwanted behavior won’t be reinforced, and it won’t be too long of NOTHING HAPPENING for the animal to develop frustration.
Emily Larlham (advocate of Progressive Reinforcement training) reiterates that the problem with “No!” and other conditoned punishers is that:
- it suppresses your dog’s behavior (overuse leads to a shut down dog)
- you create bad associations for your dog with yourself, your dog will do bad behaviors when you are not around.
Emily’s method of dealing with unwanted behavior is by using a Positive Interrupter - a sound (eg, kissy noise) and conditions this sound with a treat &/or petting, so that whenever the dog does an unwanted behavior, she uses the noise to redirect the dog away from doing the unwanted behavior, and then asking for a desired behavior that can be reinforced.
**IMPORTANT WARNING: Always give attention to your dog when he is doing good behavior and reinforce this good behavior. The Positive Interrupter is “attention” so if you use this ONLY when dog does unwanted behavior, then your dog will purposely repeat bad behavior just to get your attention.
Oh yes, I learned this the hard way :)
How Boogie learned that barking is awesome.
August 21, 2013 at 5:50 am
I can’t remember where I first heard about Dognition.com – I think it might have been via my Twitter feed. From what I can see, Dognition.com is a website that offers a series of structured games (or exercises) for dog owners to do with their dogs, and through these games, owners can gain new insights into their dog’s personality and cognitive style. I guess they are like doggie personality tests with no right or wrong answers, just an evaluation of how smart your dog is. The games are organized into these categories: Empathy, Cunning, Communication, Memory and Reasoning.
This week, I saw that Dognition were offering some games for FREE and I couldn’t resist. I signed Boogie up and had Nathan help out.These are short 10-minute games and I love that they are very clearly explained with video demos and step-by-step instructions; but you do need a human assistant to do them. One person has to follow the online instructions and log the scores while the other person interacts with the doggie. It’s hard to do everything at the same time with only one person, unless if your dog is well-trained to obey commands like sit and stay and um… Boogie isn’t very reliable. Well at least not right now, while he is suffering on Temaril-P (steroid meds) and might starve to death if he doesn’t grab the treat ASAP.
In the Dognition Empathy category, Boogie proved himself to be “bonded” to me.
Nathan: “He’s a boston terrier, after all!”
I did a series of yawns and Boogie yawned too. During the eye contact exercise, Boogie did not break eye contact at all even while he experimented with changing poses, from sitting to standing to lying down, to stepping back, to sitting down, to lying down again etc. Boogie . did. not. break .eye .contact. Except once or twice when he experimented with a quick head turn to see if these would earn him the treat. Yes, he has always been an eye contact champion. He can stare at me forever while I offer various behaviors trying to guess what he wants….
The Communication games revealed some fascinating results. I placed two treats on the floor in front of me at the same time, one on each side. I had to look at and point (first with my arm, later with my foot) towards one of these treats, alternating between left side and right side. This was a test to see if Boogie responded to where I was looking and pointing, or if he was more likely to make his own decisions.
Interestingly, almost every single time, Boogie moved towards the OPPOSITE treat – the one that I wasn’t pointing at.
The Dognition verdict?
*I forgot to add: Boogie is sort of nervous around hands or feet … (he will rarely take treat that is placed next to a foot) I wonder if this had anything to do with his decision?
And so we completed the freebie games. To continue, I would have to pay for membership… not something I can really afford to do right now.
I am curious – has anyone signed up for full membership and done all the games? Your thoughts?
July 22, 2013 at 9:05 am
There were some big lightbulb moments for me at the recent clicker expo, and these were related to the topic of Classical Conditioning.
Generally, the term “conditioning” can be a bit misleading because it tends to conjure up images (for me, anyway) from The Clockwork Orange or The Manchurian Candidate and suggests loss of free will, as if we are turning our dogs into robots. Technically speaking, the term “conditioning” simply means learning, and Classical and Operant Conditioning refer to the ways all living beings LEARN.
According to Dr. Susan Friedman, Classical & Operant Learning are always working together in real life. They always overlap. We artificially separate the concepts for teaching.
In Kathy Sdao‘s seminar on “Classical Counterconditioning for Agression” she draws out the differences between Operant and Classical Conditioning:
Operant Conditioning/Learning happens in the realm of observable behaviors that we can mark and reward. These behaviors are freely chosen by the animal in order to earn reinforcement or escape punishment. Clicker training is Operant Learning. Golden rule: Behavior is driven by Consequences.
I did this drawing after my last Clicker Expo
Classical Conditioning/Learning on the other hand, is in the realm of reflexive or respondent behaviors – all the hardwired emotional, subconscious stuff that an animal has no choice over. These reflexive behaviors (eg, Flight or Fight) are learned through repetitive association and tied up with survival in some way. You pair something neutral with something that elicits “excitement” often enough, and the neutral stimulus will trigger off excited feelings. You repeatedly pair something neutral with something scary and the neutral thing will trigger fearful emotions. Antecedents lead to Behavior.
“Classical Conditioning is a powerful foundation for Operant Conditioning. Classical Conditioning will not get new behavior. It will put existing behavior under different antecedents.” – Kathy Sdao.
At Clicker Expo, in different presentations, this memo came up several times: We can’t start clicker training an animal who is fearful or anxious.
Classical Counter Conditioning is the first thing that should happen in order to calm the limbic brain, before the animal is able to “behave”. In the case of triggers that elicit fear responses, we pair these with very good things. This memo came up in Julie Shaw’s and Debbie Martin’s “Behavior Modification Clinic” Lab and also in Sarah Owing’s presentation about helping “WallFlower Dogs”.
Note: This example is based on real life. Whenever Boogie hears a “ding!” bell, he runs to the window and barks. Even if the “ding” is coming from the kitchen, the TV or if I accidentally touch a glass with a spoon. Maybe in his previous home, this “ding!” sound was the doorbell.
Here’s a much more detailed illustration on Counter Conditioing that I did for the Ahimsa Dog Training Manual:
Kathy Sdao talked about the ways in which Counter Conditioning can be ineffective due to these common mistakes:
- Weak Unconditional Stimulus. (the toy or treat is not valuable enough; the love of this is not stronger than the fear of the trigger)
- Trainer’s hand is in the treat bag and the dog is too focused on this
- Rhythmic trials. The ” trigger + treat” event happens at regular intervals to become predictable.
- Inadvertant Avoidance Conditioning. eg, if we keep treating before the dog sees the trigger, we might accidentally condition the food to become a “warning signal”
- We present the treat without the trigger (eg, dog gets the high value treat anyway, when nothing happens) – treat loses value
- Contingency issue. If we forget to treat when trigger appears
- NOT following up with Operant Conditioning.
Classical Conditioning is also not considered practical in the real world or in the long term because it is too easy to not do it correctly 100% of the time for it to be effective. This is why we need to follow up with Operant Conditioning of replacement behaviors, which made me think instantly of BAT…
Another example of Classical Conditioning was in Ken Ramirez‘s Lab on creating value in “Non-Food Reinforcers”. He shared a story about a whale (or dolphin?) that wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t eat and they needed him to take his antibiotics. As they were unable to reward with food, they used “reinforcement substitutes” like belly-tickling, clapping hands, praise etc. and these were just as reinforcing to the whale because they had been previously paired with food over a long time.
Similarly, we can train any novel stimulus – a toy or a human action (eg, clapping hands, thumbs up, “Good Boy!” etc) to be reinforcing if we pair this often enough with Primary Reinforcers (food, social interaction, play) during training. This pairing has to be maintained so that the non-food reinforcer stays emotionally meaningful to the animal.
“Charging a clicker” . Click = treat (anticipation, joy)
Some Ken Ramirez quotes:
“Yes, this is exactly like charging a clicker”
“A toy is not intrinsically reinforcing. It is reinforcing because it is paired with the Primary Reinforcer of PLAY”.
He also talked about learning how exactly your dog likes to play with a toy. Every dog is different. Example with tennis balls: Some dogs prefer chasing and fetching; some like to chew, or roll the ball around; some dogs like to peel the skin off. (Boogie is all of the above) Similarly with “touch” as a reinforcer. Each individual animal likes to be touched a certain way and only by certain people that he/she already has a relationship with.
“Value disappears from a conditioned reinforcer if you don’t know how to maintain it”
Susan Friedman in her closing speech at Clicker Expo also brought up the classical conditioning aspect of clicker training. A clicker is also a conditioned reinforcer… we infuse it with emotional value and meaning because it gets paired with food. The click not only marks behavior, it also elicits respondent behavior/happy emotions (“woohoo! I got it right!”) Not only do we have to be precise with our clicking, we also have to ALWAYS back up every click with a treat to ensure that this powerful training technology is effective.
She showed video examples of trainers not using a clicker correctly… eg, trainers who click several times before giving a treat OR trainers with animals who are responding to other signals and are not getting what the click means and are focusing on the food instead… and as a result, the animals don’t perform as requested or they get frustrated and walk away, or get cranky.
Susan Friedman: “If you click, dammit, TREAT!”
If you were at Clicker Expo and if I have misinterpreted any of the information in this blog post, please feel free to let me know! :)
Next blog post: When animals make mistakes – dealing with these in the least intrusive way.
February 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm