[nagdu] follow was Grave problems with Pilot Dogs program

Julie J julielj at neb.rr.com
Sun Apr 17 13:08:23 UTC 2011

Update on teaching follow to a nonfollowing dog...

Yesterday did turn out to be a beautiful day!  No rain or snow and only a 
light breeze.  I enlisted the help of Kiddo, my teenage son, to help teach 
Monty follow.  He was wearing wind pants, you know the ones that make all 
sorts of noise when you walk?  We hadn't planned it, but it worked amazingly 

We started out in the front of the house with a planned route in advance. 
It was basically a square from sidewalk to driveway to porch and then back 
around to sidewalk.  I told Monty to follow and kept repeating follow, 
giving hand signals if he needed a little help.  He seemed like he was 
starting to get the concept.  He did remember to stop for elevation changes 
so that was really good.  that was something that Belle had difficulty with. 
If she was following, she wasn't doing anything else.

Then we headed over to the college parking lot.   I wanted Monty to really 
get the idea of follow without the hint of a specific pathway.  We practiced 
for 15-20 minutes.  I'd click and treat at varying intervals for following 
and tell Monty "no" if he went off in a different direction.  I also cut 
back on the number of times I told him to follow as well as the extra hand 
gestures to indicate the turns.  I may have gone a bit fast in the training 
pace, but Monty seems to have picked it up, so I think it was okay.

I'd say Monty was about 75% accurate with Kiddo in the parking lot,  which 
is good for a start.  So now I need to find other people to practice with 
and lots and lots of different places.  I need to get the accuracy up and 
get him to generalize that follow means follow for a waitress in a 
restaurant or the husband in a theater or the secretary in an office 
building.  It could be a while before we get this down pat. *smile*

I did notice a couple of interesting things though.  Monty prefers the 
person to be a bit to our left and ahead.  In the wide open area I let him 
follow wherever he wanted.  Most of the time Monty would place himself 
behind and to the right of Kiddo.

The other thing I noticed that Monty doesn't follow as much as he notices 
where the other person is going and plots a parallel course.  He truly does 
not like to follow, but that's okay as long as we stay with the other person 
and get where we are going.


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