Thursday, January 27, 2011

Using Platforms for Training the Directed Retrieve

Michele Pouliot has done presentations at ClickerExpo about using platforms to teach behaviors. I haven’t yet been able to go to that presentation (or to watch her new DVD on the topic), but I have been utilizing platforms in my own ways!

We warmed up with go-outs to a platform. And then I added in sending my dog from a sit to the platform.

For retriever-y activities, my understanding is that he has to turn back in the direction indicated. Or more, that it’s desirable for some specific reason. Horray! Once he was doing this well, I placed a platform off to (my) right.

We continued to use the back platform, to be sure he would not be immediately drawn to the new one. The first few responses his turns were, strategically, away from the side platform. And then we tried back-turns towards the platform. All correct!

Unsurprisingly, it was difficult for him to actually go to the side platform. I helped him out and he did better.

We did a few other games with this, I might post later, and then we worked with a directed retrieve set up.

Previously, our work with the directed retrieve had progressed to something 10-20 feet directly to our left, same distance out front, same to my right. But when we tried to decrease the angles, we had more errors than I would like.

The platforms provided a way to break down the behavior (“Go where indicated.”) without the retrieve part. I didn’t want to risk damaging our retrieve with the incorrect responses we may get.

Surprisingly, he had 5/5 correct responses. I edited enough to take out our playing and set up. I was very surprised he was doing so well!

We’ll do more sessions like this and then substitute item/s for the platforms. Or possibly on the platforms (but would that damage our platform behavior (a foot touch, he doesn’t have to sit unless cued). And hopefully it goes as well as it should in theory!

No comments: