Yesterday during training we used the A Frame early on and were told he was missing the contacts. I didn't think he was on those reps...for the most part, he's been reliable and I make more errors than he does.
The first part of this video is of a session from last spring. I have a ton more like it. Great job. And then a miss. He has about 10% misses. But when I go back... while it wasn't meeting MY criteria, he DID hit the yellow.
The second part is from our training session yesterday. It was not pretty.
And now I have a lot of variables to work through. Why was he missing on one side more than the other? Why does it look bad even when he does hit it?
- Placement of reinforcer. Typically I toss food ahead. This keeps him looking and moving ahead rather than towards me like he did in this second session. When I did use a toy...the tosses were poor (high rather than flat and out).
- Placement of our clicker-helpers. On the L side, she was almost straight out. On the very last rep, she moved to the side and he did hit it (though high). He DOES need to be able to hit it with high value reinforcers ahead. But we have not yet trained for this. On the R side, our helper was beside to the camera (very far lateral).
- Placement of walls. I've noticed before that if he has a wide space ahead he will be more likely to miss or give a poor response. If there's something 20' ish out, he'll be more likely to collect and hit properly.
- Tired. This was at the end of a 1.5 hour session. While he was not working the whole time, during "breaks" we were doing tricks or reinforcing for settling. He did go to the car for 15 minutes RIGHT before this session.
- Lack of practice. Maybe we need more history of reinforcment?
- My position. I took advantage of helpers and instead of clicking like I usually do, I tried to be looking ahead and just running. This changes the picture for him.
- Timing of click and reinforcer. This is a hard behavior because the reinfrocer needs to be out before they get too close to the bottom... but I can't toss at all until after the click. And everything happens so fast and it's hard to predict if he will be hitting it or not.
Training is hard! There are so many variables!