Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Careful Cueing

Griffin is being taught to indicate a specific odor. And we're having a REALLY hard time teaching this.

It's like a dog that only knows verbal cues.... visual cues are hard because they think nothing else will provide any sort of signal. Griffin doesn't really understand that scent can be a cue.

I think this has been at the heart of his problems learning about obedience scent articles.

Method 1: We had a few cement blocks, a jar set in each one, only one jar with scent. Click when the dog is at the block, feed low over the block. Remove the dog and try again. Griffin stuck his head in the boxes, but there was VERY little difference in the scented one compared to the empty ones. He was offering a head-stick-in.

Method 2: What we were informally calling "the Steve White Way". Helper holds out the scented jar, dog nose touch, cue Sit!, click, feed at the jar. Move and repeat. Griffin was offering the nose touches and sitting when cued. And sitting when not cued, he would do a touch sit. But it was his go out type of touch sit. He was go-outing the jar and looked so proud of himself!

Method 3: A variation. I held the jar and clicked, a helper fed. Same sort of problem as before.

Method 4: We had our scent jar, but had 5 others with dog smells, treat smells, tea smells, etc. I would hold out a random jar. he would touch. Nothing. Hold out a random jar. he touched. Nothing. Hold out the Scent jar, he touched, I cue Sit, I click, he gets a treat. And we'd be randomly mixing how long a jar was held, which ones were held, and sometimes the Sit jar. But it looked very much like he was not thinking, but over 10+ reps he NEVER offered a sit, the cue was NOT transferring, he was treating it as a stimulus control exercise. We've done quite a bit of cue transfers and he typically gets it very fast.... In session two, he was offering sits at that jar, and out of about 15 reps, only one sit on another jar.

So we'll do a few more sessions in that format and then go back to using the jars in blocks.

He just has so many behaviors, he thought we were doing sticky touches, interacting with blocks, go outs, and even stands ( of the first reps with a helper holding the jar, he sat expectantly at me, I had him stand and he stayed while she presented...he turned away saying "look! I'm staying!" I released and sent him immediately).

It was interesting how his behaviors were fitting together and the cue systems that we have in place.

My next dog will definitely be introduced to scent games VERY early on!!

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