Monday, December 27, 2010

Training Two Dogs at Once, Part II

A continuation from earlier today, we've done a bit more with the bell ringing.

One factor I didn't mention, but definitely considered, is the social pressure in the behavior. It's harder for a dog to come right up to another to ring the bell than to ring it when held by a person. It's a bit invasive to be going that close to another dog in this context, and there's a bit of 'respecting' the 'resource' that the dog has.

Blaze has a much stronger target but was still reluctant to touch it when Griffin held the target/bell. This shows me that the behavior isn't quite as strong as I expected and that even as lacking in social skills as he is, Blaze was still hesitant about going that close to Griffin.

I pulled out my trusty Animal Training book to re-read the section on group training and see what Ken Ramirez had to say about it.

- Avoid group training when you can. Have one trainer per animal.
- Non working animals can be stationing/training with their handler.
- If one person is working multiples, those behaviors really should be fluent first before working in the group.
- Be careful about reinforcement. If you have a pushy animal, maybe reinforce him first and further away so that the others don't loose their reinforcement.

On my list for ages and that I've been working on, is a good stationing behavior so that when I'm training dogs in the house at home (necessary when it's COLD out!), the non working animals are not getting agitated or making noise. We've been at the early stages with probably only about ten sessions on it over the last year, but I can ask one dog to do a few behaviors while the other is working. It also makes me realize that I need to develop more markers (visual, tactile) and work on creating more secondary reinforcers.

A slight tangent, I came across the article "Pup Psych 101: Secondary Reinforcement in Agility" article by Dara Tarolli in Nov 2010 CleanRun. While the article talks about secondary appears that it's actually more about markers (which are a type of secondary reinforcer, but not all secondary reinforcers are markers!). Markers definitely are very helpful, but secondary reinforcers can be too. I went to Ken Ramirez's Learning Lab session on this at the last Expo and was helping out. But I want to know more! Anyone else read this article and want to comment?

No comments: