[nagdu] Blind clicker training methods /Shaman was good

Ann Edie annedie at nycap.rr.com
Thu Dec 10 05:57:08 UTC 2009

Hi, Mardi,

I sympathize with your problem of people and dog distractions with Shaman. 
It is hard to change this kind of behavior once it has begun to get 
established.  But it can be done, if you can set up some "training 
opportunities" under controlled conditions.

You need to set up a situation where there will be a series of mild 
distractions, but where the distractions remain far enough away so that 
Shaman can still focus on you.  Then when the mild distraction just comes 
within his awareness, you can ask him for an incompatible behavior, like 
perhaps turning toward you and sitting facing you, and when he does this, 
you can click and treat with a really high value treat, like smelly cheese 
or real liver bits.  When the alternate behavior is really strong at the 
initial distance from the distraction, then you can gradually begin having 
the distraction move closer little by little on successive trials or 
sessions.  But this process takes a series of sessions to accomplish over 
perhaps weeks or even months.  During the process, you never want to 
overwhelm the system by having Shaman react aggressively to the other dog. 
And during that period, if a highly distracting event occurs, such as an 
aggressive dog being in a confined space with Shaman, like on the bus, it 
might undo all the hard won progress you had made up to that time.

The above plan is difficult to carry out while actively using the dog as a 
guide, since you can't control what might occur out in public during your 
travels.  But if you do have one or two very strong "default behaviors", 
such as turning and sitting facing you, which are extremely highly 
reinforced at a high rate, then you have a better chance of not losing 
Shaman's attention when a distraction occurs in the real world.

Don't know if any of that makes sence or might be helpful to you.  But I 
wish you the best of luck, and I know that you are a very accomplished 
trainer who will figure out how to best help your dog succeed and deal with 
the challenges of life in the real world.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mardi Hadfield" <wolfsinger.lakota at gmail.com>
To: <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 4:08 PM
Subject: [nagdu] Blind clicker training methods /Shaman was good

> Hi every one, When I use clicker training for Shaman or the rescue dogs,I
> found using a halti on the dogs ,helped me to feel when the dogs head was
> turned towards me. I would then turn my head towards them . They would 
> then
> think I was making eye contact with them at the same time they were making
> eye contact with me.I find that with the halti, I can feel the head 
> turning
> and also in which direction it turns, because the leash is attached to the
> head and not the collar at the neck. I also used targeting at times. I 
> went
> to the bank on the 3rd of December and The bus I got had a ramp instead of 
> a
> lift. Shaman and I went up the ramp together and no one bothered the dog.
> Shaman did not get distracted because no one petted him. He did his work
> flawlessly. Some days I think he is never going to learn and the next day 
> he
> does it perfectly. I really enjoyed going out  and I got a lot 
> accomplished
> that day. Shaman was so good.I think if people would leave him alone all 
> the
> time, he would never need to be corrected, and he would do his job with 
> out
> any problems. When I have to correct him more than once, he starts to 
> ignore
> the corrections and things go from bad to worse. Even with the clicker, if
> some one has distracted him, he ignores the clicker and being he is not
> really food motivated, he will also ignore the treat. Once he is 
> distracted,
> it takes him some time to get over it. It is mostly people that do the
> distracting, but some times he gets distracted by other dogs. I had him
> pretty much over the dog distractions until the guy down the street 
> started
> walking his 2 Pit Bulls by my house and encouraged them to fight with my
> dogs through the fence. Now Shaman growls at large dogs. I have to hold 
> him
> tight and keep telling him to leave it. I hope I can correct this 
> behaviour
> as I never know when I might encounter another dog on the bus. So far I 
> have
> been lucky and there has not been any other dogs on the bus at the same 
> time
> as us. Any one have any ideas on this one? Nala always ignored people and
> other dogs. I almost never had to correct her for any thing. Have a great
> day,  Mardi and Shaman, and Nala,retired.
> -- 
> http://wolfsinger-lakota.blogspot.com/
> http://wolfsinger2-thegoldendragon.blogspot.com
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