Notes: Day 2 – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Notes: Day 2

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  • Sue Weinroth says:

    Hi Sarah – not sure if this has been asked but can you post a picture of the box you are referring to in this lesson? Thanks!

  • says:

    Hi Sarah. How can I do the recalls by myself? I am hoping to get a neighbor to help but I just moved and don’t know anyone.

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Hi Barbara! Here are some ideas: Cue your puppy to chase a cookie that you toss “get it!” then run in the other direction. Teach your puppy to stay on a mat, cot or in a crate, then you can recall from those. Teach your puppy to send around something then run in the opposite direction. Teach your puppy to touch a target on the ground or fence, send the puppy to touch then run away! Use a bowl or manners minder to send your puppy away from you to then recall them. I hope some of those ideas help!

  • Katie Bradish says:

    I am brand new to this. Is there, by chance, an index of definitions for terms like shaping session or classical conditioning? I don’t want to assume I know what something means

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Welcome Katie! Unfortunately there is not, but I am happy to answer any of those kind of questions for you! I would also read the comments because someone might have asked a similar question.

      When shaping a behavior, I begin by marking (with a click or yes) and rewarding the slightest approximation or smallest piece of the final behavior, then gradually build that into a more complex behavior. When I am having a shaping session, I try not to use any luring.

      Classical conditioning is when two things are (often emotionally) paired together and the learner has a passive role. Classical conditioning can be very strong and difficult to change. When using CC, the order of events is very important. The first event becomes the predictor of the second event. Hearing sirens = the stress of tickets. Seeing cake = the pleasure of eating cake. Hearing a car door slam = the excitement of company. Seeing the closet door opening = the fear of nail clipping. If company arrives at the front door, then my dog hears the car door slam, the door slam will not come to predict company. Company then predicts car door slams. That means if I want to teach my dog that the presence of a vacuum is a good thing, I must present the vacuum (at a level my dog is not very afraid), then give my dog a cookie. When I repeat this, over time my dog will come to see the vacuum as a predictor of cookies. If I bring out cookies, then present the vacuum, then give the cookies, my dog will learn that cookies predict the scary vacuum. My dog can actually become afraid of cookies this way! I need the “scary thing” to happen, then the good thing to happen (cookies/toys/etc).

      I use classical conditioning all the time to change my dog’s feelings about things. For example, if my dog is afraid of dogs barking behind fences when we go on walks, then I am going to click or say yes (more on marker cues next) when they hear a bark, then give them treats. If they learn that barking predicts cookies, then pretty soon they are no longer afraid of barking and I can just give them random cookies for hearing barking.

      Operant conditioning on the other hand involves learning that one’s behavior has consequences. Learning occurs when rewards and punishments are results of certain behaviors. Dogs and humans repeat behaviors that have been rewarded and decrease behaviors that have strong negative consequences. So in operant conditioning, my dog has to do something (dog sits, cookies happens then the behavior of sitting will increase). In classical conditioning things happen to my dog (thunder happens, my dog feels fear, soon thunder means fear).

  • Diane Zipp says:

    Is it possible for you to share what type of puppy kibble you use for training? Thank you.

  • says:

    Sarah, I noticed that you reference that all skeptics meals were used during training, no free food in a bowl. With Molly, I try and use her kibble (or whatever she will eat) training for part of her meal but she needs more than I can do in a couple sessions. Does the use of a sniffle mat or slow feed bowl help with the no free food? Unfortunately I don’t work from home or can I bring her with me to work, so training time is limited on work days. Hope this makes sense.

  • Collene says:

    I have a bunch of questions (sorry!):
    1) what is the “box” you made for Skeptic? It sounds like something different than the crate or a bed, so I am wondering what ultimate training purpose it has. Is it literally just a cardboard box to teach him to offer behaviors?
    2) You talk about several separate training sessions – about how long did these last vs. time for Skeptic to rest?
    3) I’m excited to introduce agility equipment so early! Is a regular tunnel too intimidating for a puppy? I am not sure what a “puppy tunnel” is – can I just make one?
    4) What is the travel bag you have?
    5) Could you talk a little more about outings in the real world? For example – how do you make sure these are positive and not scary? What do you do to make sure the puppy stays safe physically, mentally, and disease-wise?

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Hi Collene!
      1) There are some photos. It was a tv tray covered in a yoga mat. Just something low enough and large enough that it was easy for him to get on when he was very young.
      2) Training sessions last 2-10 minutes, depending on the puppy and what we are doing and how it is going. The time between sessions vary. Often it is hours as we would do a session then have something else to do. Sometimes it was just a quick break to recover enough to train more. How long of a break to take depends on the puppy and the circumstance.
      3) Just be careful when introducing any equipment, no jumping and stay away from anything high or unstable at first. We want our puppies to be safe and to have fun! When I say puppy tunnel I just mean a small one. We were using a cat tunnel.
      4&5 to come!

    • Sarah Baker says:

      4) The travel bag is just a little bag with a strap that dogs can ride in. There is video of it in Module 3, lesson 8.

    • Sarah Baker says:

      5) Outings in the real world. I make sure that these are positive by knowing and watching my puppy. Skeptic was a very confident puppy overall so I knew he could handle most environments. I was always ready to turn a scary situation into a better one though by having really high value food on hand. Hops we were more careful with as he was more fearful and reactive overall. I am always going to be closely watching my puppy though. If I see signs of stress (sniffing, panting, cannot focus, zoomies, whale eye, shark mouth, does not want food, avoidance behaviors, etc) I will be ready to intervene. If something is mildly scary I will mark (click or yes) when my puppy notices it then feed and praise. I will be ready to leave though if that is what is best for my puppy.
      I am always very careful about dog to dog greetings. I usually know the other dog or the dog is giving off good signals.
      Disease wise, I am careful where I take my puppy to start with. I take him to places I trust or places dogs do not usually go to socialize at first. I carry the puppy at the vet and pet stores to start with. After the 2nd set of shots I go to more places.

      • Collene says:

        ok thanks!

      • says:

        Hi Sarah!
        If you see signs of stress from your puppy, what do you do to intervene? Leave? Provide a toy?

        • Sarah Baker says:

          It depends. If the puppy will take food/toy, I will use classical conditioning to start with. If that does not work or they will not take food/toy then I will add distance until they can or leave if they are really afraid.

      • piperjan says:

        My vet INSISTS that it is unsafe to walk Beacon around the neighborhood and/or set him on the ground most places until 7-10 days his third set of shots.

        I fail to see the logic in this, especially since adult dogs walk every day, and they could be bringing disease home, or I could be bringing it in on my shoes. I also have outdoor cats who come inside to eat and glare at me for bringing home a puppy, and who knows what they’re into!

        When I asked my vet about this, he seriously suggested that I don’t wear shoes in the house and that I wipe my adult dogs’ paws after walking.

        What are you views on this? Seems like Skeptic was out and about after 2nd shots? 🙂

        • Sarah Baker says:

          We have always believed it is better to socialize the puppy and just be careful where you take them. Not letting them explore the world until after their main socializing period is over can be dangerous too. After their first set of shots we go places but very carefully. After the 2nd set I really open up where I take my puppies. Skeptic was taking walks and going on outings soon after he came home.

  • Francine Powel says:

    Sarah, if I haven’t trained Emma with a clicker, do you recommend that I start now? She’s 5 years old, and it seems we do not have all the basics down. She runs novice agility and can Q, but is spotty on her sit, stay, down.

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Dogs can learn the clicker at any age. I like it because I feel I can be more precise with it. Try it and see if you like it. Think of it as taking a photo of the behavior you like. Be sure to not startle her when you first click.

  • says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I was wondering what you did with the other dogs, especially Hops, while you were training Skeptic? It sounds like they were just wandering around and ignoring the training. My own 5 year old dog constantly wants to join in and I need to put her in a crate while training my puppy or she’ll push her way into the training session.

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Outside, when Skeptic was very small and I could outrun him, Hops was running free around the yard because I could catch the puppy. Hops does not interfere because he does not want anything to do with the puppy and he is content to run around with his toy. Once Skeptic was fast enough to outrun me, I did not do that set up again until Skeptic had a reliable recall. If I wanted Hops out as a distraction then Skeptic was on a leash or heavily managed with toys and cookies. After lots of work, Skeptic can now work with Hops running around, barking at his toy. Inside, Hops was in an Xpen or crate if Skeptic was out. That way I could have him near, but have little risk of a negative encounter. Gradually I worked them closer together, then put Skeptic on a tie down to work with Hops loose. All my dogs gets training to wait their turn calmly and quietly while others work. Some still need more training… ; ) Rice and Dillon have had years and years of experience waiting for their turn and now have no problem chilling while others train. At first they were highly rewarded for waiting. I can let them wonder or put them on stays somewhere. So you can start with your 5 year old in a crate nearby and reward for calm and quiet. When ready, graduate to an xpen, then a bed/cot and tie down, then no tie down, etc. Make sure you are rewarding the waiting dog often enough. When I do not have time to train, I manage (the waiting dog is given a stuffed kong, a manners minder, a raw bone, crated in the car, etc).

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Module 4, lesson 8 has video on this.

  • Deena Lavine says:

    Wish you had posted a picture of Skeptic’s box. A video of the box work would have been wonderful.

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