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  #11  
Old 07-13-2010, 09:14 AM
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Treats can be used as rewards, bribes, lures as well as prompts. Some trainers don't use food lures or prompts at all. And some do, but do so judiciously. That's me. I have certain situations where a lure or prompt is very effective. But I fade it quickly, after just a few jump-start repititions. If you wait for quiet with some dogs, you may be waiting a very long time. LOL. Barking is self rewarding and ignoring it won't always make it go away....only when they're barking for your attention. If you use a clicker, you may be able to get a click in there, in between barks to mark the quiet. But that may be hard.

The way I taught my dogs to stop barking on cue quite reliably, was first: I didn't wait for real life situations to come up. We set up practice sessions. I'd prompt their barking by knocking on the door. That's the main trigger that really got them going. I'd say the word, "enough." Then immediately, I held a treat in front of their nose to prompt the quiet, by distracting them. I did not furnish the treat until they got distracted and quieted. I waited for 3-5 seconds of quiet and furnished the treat.

Gradually I increased the duration that they had to be quiet before furnishing the treat. Then I stopped showing them the treat first, but still gave it to them after some seconds of quiet. Then I retrieved the treat from a counter top or table and not from my pocket. Whenever they heard the word "enough" or saw my hand signal (I also used a hand signal) they stopped barking and looked up at me or came over to me.

Once they were really quite good at this, if by chance they started barking again after 3-5 seconds, they got taken away from the front door or wherever the action was. (They hated that) I'd bring them out, after about 30 - 60 seconds and try again.

Anyhow, my dogs might be out in the yard barking at some other dog or some noise they hear. (they're Chihuahuas....they tend to be alarmists) They're so in the habit of complying, that I just tell them, "enough" and they zip it. I don't still give treats except occassionally just to keep them on their toes. But I praise them when they stop. I do let them bark a few times first though. That's their job.

There are several ways to train this. This is the way I taught my little critters.
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  #12  
Old 07-13-2010, 10:00 AM
TryingToTrain TryingToTrain is offline
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Originally Posted by adojrts View Post
Also make sure you are not training with a food reward in your hands, keep them hidden.
Hm.. Ok, I guess I am not doing this right. I am keeping it in my pocket, but the dogs can seem to tell it is there. Every time I go to "set up" the pocket makes a little crinkling sound (from the baggie I keep the treats in) and the dogs perk up. Is this a problem? Would you recommend being quieter or just reaching into my pocket after the trick is done? I am guessing I should be reaching into my pocket to get a treat after they have completed the trick. I will be working on that today.

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Originally Posted by adojrts View Post
As for clicker training, can't you train the dogs with the clicker when your husband isn't there to build an association that the click is a promise of reward?
Ok, I guess I am confused on clicker training then. Do you have a link? Everything I read talks about the clicker becoming the reward - or so I thought. Am I misunderstanding?

Also, I want to be able to train them with my husband in the home. We work together, so we are often at home at the same time. He is incredibly sensitive to repeating sounds... drives him crazy. Amazing, he can't hear me calling him, but get a little repetitive sound and he can hear it from any room in the house.
So, I was using just praise... Is that a bad thing? Is the clicker better for some reason? Course, it is sounding more and more like I just don't understand clickers.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:11 AM
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I would just ignore until the dog stops then reward every few seconds, then every few minutes, then every once in a while, for the silence. I find dogs are able to learn that "when I bark, mom asks me to do something (sit, be quiet) then when I do it I get a treat" so then they start barking just so you'll ask them to do something so that they can get a treat. It's much better to reward the silence IMO. If they are really doing constant barking try making a small noise by scratching furniture with your nails or something so they shut their mouths for a second and you can start the rewarding. Try not to do this too much or it will just turn into the same situation like using a command.
Its not constant, its just more than normal. So normally, throughout the day if my daughter is playing in the other room, Cody (nervous one) ignores the sounds. Today, a little "new" sound would cause him to start barking. Perry on the other hand, seems to be barking more for things he wants, like a ball under the couch. They have wildly different personalities.

Also, I don't know if this matters, but I had to break up a "fight" today, with them both on the leash. It wasn't one of their "play" fights, but an "I am so mad at you" fight. They never really hurt each other during one of these, but Perry usually initiates it when he is "mad" at Cody for something, like trying to take his food. It was just odd to have them in the house fighting on a leash.

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As far as why the barking just started, the more nervous dog may be even more nervous because he is on leash (can't run away from threats) so he is hyper-vigilant now. Hopefully over time he'll calm down about being on leash. It's also possible he's just frustrated about being leashed as he can't go where he'd like, this will definitely stop over time as long as you persist.
That does make sense. He has been on a leash before (obviously) but it is usually to go for walks. When he is walking, he barks at EVERYTHING. People, dogs, etc. I know I have to work on this behavior as well, but it is not as high as the "peeing in the house" problem.

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Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
I'd just reward the silence slowly extending the time he must be silent before he gets a treat. Also try and keep him busy with playing and chewies like bully sticks, or by going on walks, or getting brushed (if he enjoys that) that way he doesn't have time to start barking.
I do reward when they are just sitting there quietly. I need to find a way to get them "quiet" again after they start barking. Otherwise, they just get on a good tear. Granted, it doesn't last as long as some "problem" dogs. It is only about 5 minutes, but during that time, they sound very dangerous, it scares, my youngest son, my husband gets annoyed, etc, etc... Which is why I need to teach them "quiet" in some way...
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:15 AM
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The click is not a reward, it means the dog just did something that will earn him a reward (food). For example, the dog is barking. He stops for a second to lick his lips or something and immediately starts up again. You could have, in that instant when he stopped, clicked the clicker and he would have known that he earned a treat (which you would then give him). After a few times he'd realize what was causing you to click (his moment of silence) and would stop barking more and more often to see if you'd click and treat. In that short span of silence you would not have had enough time to take the treat out of your pocket and give it to him before he started barking again and would have missed the opportunity to reward his moment of silence.

The click must ALWAYS be followed by a treat (or other good reward) or else the dog stops caring about the click, it no longer means anything.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:24 AM
TryingToTrain TryingToTrain is offline
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Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
But I fade it quickly, after just a few jump-start repititions.
What is "quickly" for a dog. One of the problems I realize that I have is that I mistake when "reliability" exists. So, I stop being so vigilant allowing the dogs to make a mistake. Can you give me some suggested timeframes that you would use for training - some minimums so to speak?

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Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
The way I taught my dogs to stop barking on cue quite reliably, was...
I like the method you listed here. I will try that starting today. Thanks.

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Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
I do let them bark a few times first though. That's their job.
So, is it OK, for them to be barking at my daughter playing in another room? Or is that ok? (For instance, my daughter just brought a doll into the living room. Cody started sniffing it and just let out a little bark at it. I said "no" and he went over into a lie down. Also, keep in mind I have had the dogs since puppies and its been 7 or 8 years. So, they do "sort of" know the word "quiet" when they are barking. Perry is actually quite good when Cody isn't there. Cody, just ignores it more often than not.) Or should I not worry about that at all until I get further into this training.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:17 PM
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The clicker is a behavior identifier...or marker. A special, unique word can serve that purpose too. It tells the dog that what he is doing IS what he will be reinforced for. Reinforcement being a reward that he loves which will come right after the marker sound. (clicker or word) The clicker is also what's known as a conditioned reinforcer. That means that something that inherently has no value represents something that does and it comes to have value. For example: your pay check. All it is, is a little piece of paper with writing on it. The groceries you buy with it DO have value. But when you get your pay check, you feel good all over and know you won't starve the next week. LOL. The pay check comes to have some value of it's own. The pay check is a conditioned reinforcer and the groceries are the primary reinforcer. Since dogs need to be rewarded very quickly after they give a correct response, within a couple of seconds, the clicker acts as a bridge between the time they do the behavior and the time they receive their primary reinforcer. (ie: treat)

A marker word, "yesssssssss!" for example can act like a clicker....the same concept. However, studies show that the sound of a clicker is so unique and quick that it actually registers in a different part of the brain, which by-passes some of the processing that the brain does when a voice is used. So, it is more effective. But if your husband can't stand the sound, it's best to use a word or some other unique sound perhaps.

When you use a treat as a prompt to get the dog distracted and quiet for 3-5 seconds, then feed him, fade that use asap. When you notice that the word, "enough" or "quiet" (whatever you choose) is beginning to distract him and he looks at you, expecting the treat....before you actually show him the treat, he is ready to not have to be prompted with the treat anymore. Still give him the treat, but try retrieving it from various places. That marker word or clicker will give you a couple of seconds as a bridge to quickly grab your treat from a table top or from behind your back once in a while, a different area on a kitchen counter etc. Mix things up so he doesn't get dependent on too much predictibility.

When he is able to quiet for 3-5 seconds and has been reinforced for this enough that he is responding to your cue every time, raise the ante a little bit. See if he'll be quiet for 8 -10 seconds, then give him his treat....then 12-15 seconds, once he's good for the previous level. When he can hold this quiet time for a satisfactory (to you) interval and does it every time you ask, and has been for days and days, start skipping a few treats and use lavish praise some of the time. But don't skip too many treats. Mix things up. Keep him guessing. ("Hmmmm. I got a treat before when I stopped barking. Why not now? Maybe I need to try harder and be quiet longer.") That's when you jack pot him....when he gives you the best example ever. When a reinforcer is withheld a little bit, when the dog has been quite reliable with a newly taught behavior, he will try harder. This goes with everything. It's how sits get straighter, recalls get faster and more prompt, how heeling gets better etc. You reward until you get a consistent level of proficiency, then you withhold and the dog tries harder to win the reward. It's how we all operate.

As far as the time frame, that varies, depending on a lot of variables...how consistent you are, how quick witted your dog is, how strong the trigger is. You need to practice with various triggers, various locations, various intensities of the triggers. (after he gets onto the basics) If he barks, even a muffled bark during the 3-5 second quiet time, he must be given a short time out and a chance to try again after about a minute...no more. It takes lots of short practice sessions. It takes consistency so that if he barks after you've given the "enough" cue, he must have a consequence that is undesireable. NOT PUNISHMENT....but a removal from the action. You want your voice to be happy and up-beat when you say, "enough." Enough means that good things are coming, not a threat of punishment. Don't mix the two up. As far as barking at your daughter or sounds coming from the other room, that is up to you. I usually allow 2 or 3 or 4 barks, regardless of whether I think the dog is being a nut or not, then when I've had enough, I tell them, "enough." But that's just me. If you don't want more than one bark in a certain context, you can say, "enough" right away. It's up to you. Since you're not being angry or punishing, it doesn't matter. Punishment for barking, as some people do is ridiculous because sometimes we want our dogs to bark...to warn us of intruders. So, barking, to my mind isn't a no no. If it's not always a no no, then it should not be punished. Hense the bark training, using positive reinforcement.

When to change up to a new level of expectations, when a dog is considered reliable, that is kind of a subjective judgement call. If you move ahead with the degree of difficulty and the dog fails, you need to go back a "square" to where he was successful so he can get some more reinforcement at that level, then try upping the ante a little later. If he fails, it is not him being naughty, stubborn or blowing you off. Dogs don't think that way. (too complex) He just needs more practice.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by TryingToTrain View Post
Hm.. Ok, I guess I am not doing this right. I am keeping it in my pocket, but the dogs can seem to tell it is there. Every time I go to "set up" the pocket makes a little crinkling sound (from the baggie I keep the treats in) and the dogs perk up. Is this a problem? Would you recommend being quieter or just reaching into my pocket after the trick is done? I am guessing I should be reaching into my pocket to get a treat after they have completed the trick. I will be working on that today.


Ok, I guess I am confused on clicker training then. Do you have a link? Everything I read talks about the clicker becoming the reward - or so I thought. Am I misunderstanding?

Also, I want to be able to train them with my husband in the home. We work together, so we are often at home at the same time. He is incredibly sensitive to repeating sounds... drives him crazy. Amazing, he can't hear me calling him, but get a little repetitive sound and he can hear it from any room in the house.
So, I was using just praise... Is that a bad thing? Is the clicker better for some reason? Course, it is sounding more and more like I just don't understand clickers.
What I do, is instead of having rewards on me, I have them up on shelves etc in each room. If a dog has been conditioned (which is what clicker training is) to know that a Yes and/or a click is a promise of a reward for the marked (Yes/click) behaviour. In the beginning it will stop the behaviour like a sit/stay but as you add duration they will remain in the sit etc. But you still reward until you get longer durations.

You stated eariler that your husband doesn't like the sound of the clicker, which is why I asked if it was possible to train the dogs to know that a click/Yes means when he wasn't there........Yes they were right in the behaviour and second you are going to reward them (promise). Once the dog/s associate the verbal Yes and what the click means, you can then continue training with just the Yes. One of the reasons why the clicker works the best at first is because it is a clear and fast marker. That being said, I have many students that don't want to use a clicker when training and that is fine. We just use the marker word of Yes.

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I also have a really good link to a easy to understand outline of clicker training, but I'll have to look for it. Can't right now, must go and teach a class. Maybe someone else can provide the link (I know other people here on Chaz have it too). If not I'll look for it later tonight.

The reason I advised not to lure is because too many novice people use luring wrong and for too long without knowing it, making the food/toy part of the cue. Then people say, 'He/she wont do it (whatever it is) unless I have food in my hand or on me.'

There is nothing wrong with luring when the person knows how to do it properly and how fast to fade (usually with the first couple of times), but as I said earlier when done incorrectly the fall out can present a lot of problems and frustrations on the part of the handler and the dog.
I have had dogs in my classes that are so focused on a bait bag that it also has the same effect.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
The clicker is a behavior identifier...
Great post. I read it all and will read it a few more times... there was a lot of detail in there. Very, very helpful since it is the exact context of my problem - even I can't misunderstand it. That's just great. Thank you so much!
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:54 PM
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What I do, is instead
Thanks. That does help. I though it wasn't going right and you guys convinced me I need to learn to give out the treats a bit better. The good thing is that the dogs have learned some things along the way - they aren't "fresh" puppies. They do understand that I will bring back rewards, and they already know "good words" and to read my smile... (the tails wag when I smile after a trick). Honestly, I know I am complaining, but I am lucky to have very good dogs. One is VERY smart, the other, kind of slow, but eager to please.

One question... after I say "Good Boy" they often "finish" the trick. So if they are sitting, they stop, if they were barking and I saw "Quiet" they wait and then bark again. Is it Ok to give them the treat after they stop the trick? So for instance, I tell them to sit, they sit. I say goodboy and turn around to get a treat. They follow me to the counter. Is that Ok? or am I messing them up by making them get off the sit before they get the treat?

BTW - this is my "second" real day of training this way and I already see things getting better. We haven't had any accidents and since they are on the leash, we haven't had any issues with going every four hours or so (they were sneaking off every 45 minutes to pee somewhere before). Since we started doing rewards, they are much more attentive to everything that I do.

And last question on another topic... Now that I have them on the leash, I can take them anywhere in the house and they won't pee. They do however sniff the places they have peed in the past. Is it bad that I let them smell around there if they aren't peeing?
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:08 PM
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I hope that looooooong winded post helps. I know I can get carried away. LOL.

Brace yourself for another long winded post.


Quote:
So for instance, I tell them to sit, they sit. I say goodboy and turn around to get a treat. They follow me to the counter. Is that Ok?
If you want to reward sit, the treat needs to be given the second their rear hits the ground. If you want some duration of the sit, and they're able to sit, then have them wait a second or two, then treat, then a little more, then treat. You need to build duration gradually. If you walk away and they follow you into the kitchen for the treat, you're rewarding their following you into the kitchen. They've already forgotten about the sit. LOL. If you use a clicker or marker word and they get so they know what that means (after priming them up or just practice with it) ....that will give you a little bridge of time, but not much. You still need to get the treat to them in a few seconds. Otherwise, when you reward, it needs to get to them in a heartbeat...while they're doing the behavior....as soon as they do it.

Now, if you want to have your dogs stay sitting for some duration, you can teach wait or stay. Again, it's the same thing. Baby steps. 1 second, then 2, then 3. Also, when you teach stay, there are what I consider 3 parts to stay or 3 aspects: Duration, Distance from you and distractions. Break things down always into small parts. I work on just duration at first. I stand very close, right in front of the dog. Don't give the cue ("stay") yet. When the dog sits for just a second, reinforce. (give treat) Then ask for a little longer....reinforce. Keep standing in front. You can interrupt the lessons by walking around with your dog for a sec, then do it again. Ask for 5 seconds, then more, still standing in front of him. When he seems to be getting onto it, then add your cue as you have him stay. Verbal cues come later. Always get the behavior going first, then try to make the association with the cue word. (your dogs already probably know the cue word, but in general....)

Next: You can work on distance. When you start working on distance, relax on the duration part. Step back one step after getting your dog to sit, but step immediately back in front, giving the treat. No duration. Then step back 2 steps and right back in front of him....treat. Once you build that up to say....6 feet, start incorporating the duration a little bit. Once your dog shows that he's getting this quite well, you can start adding in your cue to stay.

Always teach new behaviors in a distraction free environment. Gradually add in mild distractions as they get onto the behavior pretty well. Distractions are a whole other ball game and a dog that can sit and stay in the quiet of your living room won't recognise what you mean. So, that comes little by little.

As far as the pee spots, get yourself some Nature's Miracle. It's an enzymatic cleaner that removes most of the scent so your dogs won't smell it....at least that's what they say. It does work pretty darn well. I would distract them if you see them sniffing a spot. It is quite possible that they may pee there again. After all, that scent tells them that this IS the toilet. They don't know that humans value their carpet. To them it's the normal place to go if it smells...that is, until they're very, very well house broken.

It sounds like you're well on your way to having lots of success with your dogs. Kudos to you! You know....a really, really good book that I think you'd enjoy and that would help you a whole ton, is Culture Clash, by Jean Donaldson. In one little book (it's not that long) there is a lot of stupendous info on how dogs think and learn, the nuts and bolts of training, concepts to understand. It's absolutely a bible for every dog owner, in my opinion. After I read that book (I've read it a few times now) my only regret was that I didn't read it sooner. Get that book! LOL.

eta: One thing that might have been missed is...when you click a clicker or use a marker word, a treat MUST always follow. (or some kind of reinforcer....something stupendous to the dog) Once the behavor is learned and the dog is complying quite regularly, you can stop using the clicker. Once the behavior is really, really reliable, (lol) you can start going on a variable reinforcment schedule. Or better yet, go on a fixed schedule for a few sessions. That is...every 3rd sit, for instance, the dog gets treated. After using that to sort of set the behavior, go on a variable reinforcement schedule....after 3 sits, after 5, then 2, then 8, then 4, then 2 in a row...Gradually, as he gets very proficient, you can spread the intervals out more between treats and finally fade them except just enough to keep him from flagging. When behaviors start to regress, and they often do, it's time to beef up the reinforcements.
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