Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 50

When Pigs Fly Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs By Jane Killion, photos by Louis B. Ruediger Last month, we learned what an operant dog is and how to use training games to make your dog more operant. By now, your dog should be offering behaviors at random, hoping to make the “magic” clicker go off, and that’s a start. Now that your dog has the skill of making you give him treats by offering a behavior, you are able to take that skill and use it to shape the behaviors that you want your dog to perform. Teaching your dog to offer random behaviors at least gets him on the same planet as you. Teaching him to figure out exactly what you want and keep trying until he gets it right takes it to the next level and gets him on the same page as you. That is what we will do this month. Piggy Pointer: You can help make your dog more operant by giving him interactive toys, such as the Buster Cube. These toys have treats hidden in them that the dog can access only by manipulating the toy in a certain way. The level of difficulty can be adjusted so that, eventually, your dog has to work and think hard to get those treats. That persistence will carry over to your training sessions. You can actually be advancing your training program when you are too busy to do anything with your dog. Just throw him in the backyard or his crate with an interactive toy when you are overwhelmed or are home late from work—everyone wins! Here are the steps for shaping a behavior: 1. Break the behavior down into small approximations. 2. Reinforce the first approximation until your dog is offering it again and again. 3. Once your dog clearly offers the first approximation and you have reinforced it several times, stop clicking it. 4. Watch carefully for the “improvement” that your dog will offer on that behavior, and click that. Just for an example, I am going to show you how to free shape a left-side weave pole entrance. We are going to spend more time on teaching weave poles in coming months, but I want you to have the basic concept of how to break down a behavior and time your reinforcements, and I think the weave poles are a good example of how to do this. Let’s examine each step. Step 1 Break the behavior down into small approximations Breaking down the behavior into the smallest possible increments is counterintuitive for many people. It seems that if you could get the dog to do the whole thing, why not just click the end behavior? For instance, if you are teaching a left-side weave pole entrance and your dog happens to go through the first gate (the space between pole #1 and #2) and start bending back through the second gate (the space between pole #2 and #3), why not just click that? It is what you want, after all, isn’t it? Yes and no. Yes, ultimately 50 you want your dog to learn to go through the second gate, but there is a whole string of behaviors that he is going to have to do to get into position where he can hit that second gate correctly. He has to: • Orient toward the poles • Recognize and look for the correct entrance (the first gate) • Gauge his speed and adjust his lead • Move toward the entrance • Go in the entrance • Curl his head and neck around the second pole • Make necessary adjustments so he can curve his body around the second pole • Come through the second gate If you have not taught and reinforced every single behavior individually in a logical progression leading up to that second gate entrance, the behavior will likely fail under stress (read: at a trial) and your dog will not perform the weave poles correctly. If the dog only knows how to bend around the second pole, he will be cut adrift in a trial situation when he finds himself in not quite the right place to look for the poles, or with a little too much adrenaline (from him or you) to wind up in the correct place to curve back around that second pole. If, on the other hand, you have reinforced all behaviors leading up to coming through that second gate, your dog will be like an airline pilot going down his checklist before takeoff: Find Clean Run | March 08

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - March 2008

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Contents
Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Give Your Dog a Running Start
On Course with Ronda Carter
Trainer’s Forum
How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
What Is a Handling System?
Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Agility? Deaf-initely!
When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Skill of the Month
Shelter Champs: Sadie
Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Distance Challenge
Focus on Recalls
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
In Cider
Letters
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Give Your Dog a Running Start
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - On Course with Ronda Carter
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - What Is a Handling System?
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Agility? Deaf-initely!
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Shelter Champs: Sadie
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 65
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Focus on Recalls
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - In Cider
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 84
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