Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Training Video: Stop biting the leash!

This is a dog at the shelter where I volunteer. She's a 1-2 yo pitbull (mix?). And like many young dogs, she loves to grab on the leash and tug hard. This doesn't impact day to day quality of life for her, we have a few small play yards and a big one, so she doesn't have to be walked on leash. But volunteers can't walk her to other parts of the property, she can't go to events, and shy away potential adopters who don't rely on a yard for exercise.

This is from several months ago. I just looked it over and I could have done better training. But even with my errors, she learned very quickly. Every week I give her a review and it takes less time. Sometimes she doesn't bite at the leash.

A few points: When she was tugging I either tried to hold as still as possible. She was so strong I could not do that. Instead, I walked where she was pulling, aiming for NO tension on the leash. It's not as much fun if no one plays.

When I would see a looser grip or an open mouth, I would click and drop the treats.

Soon she had no interest in the leash. I took out pieces of the video where she was doing nothing. I left and came back to add in some more excitement.

What could have gone better?
- Higher value reinforcers. All I had was biscuits. Typically I'll have a few other treats with me... but that day all I found was some biscuits in the supply cabinet.
- I could have reinforced more often. All the times she looked and did not respond. When she comes up to me. When she sits. There were a lot of moments!
- Better prepared. There are a few times I had to stop to break up the biscuits.
- Better timing. I could have clicked much sooner on several of these moments.

But really, this is super easy, even the average pet owner can see changes very quickly.

1 comment:

Heather said...

That was a really cool video!