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Old 06-20-2013, 11:58 AM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Illinois
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Lumping means you're tossing a lot of behaviours into one - splitting means to break a behaviour down into minute parts. Baby steps, in other words... itty bitty teeny tiny baby steps, the SMALLEST baby steps possible. Bob Bailey has a saying, another of my "dog training robot" sayings LOL. "Be a splitter, not a lumper."

We as humans tend to look at things in too broad a sense. An example - to us it's "Okay, this is easy. All the dog has to do is run forward through these two poles." So we are waiting for the dog to run forward through the two poles. But in the dog's behavioural reality, what we need to be looking for is forward movement towards the poles. ANY forward movement. With baby dogs we start with even just looking at the two poles as the rewardable behaviour. Then it's rewarding forward motion towards them, then through them, then beyond them. These are all separate actions that form "run through the poles." How many individual steps (of the feet) is the entire motion up to, through, and beyond the poles for a dog? You can look at it as splitting the action down into each of those steps.

Of course that's pretty extreme and I'm not at all suggesting you actually have to sit there and click+treat every single little step, that's just an example of what I mean by splitting versus lumping. Almost every time I'm failing at teaching the dogs something, it's because I am expecting the dog to make a leap of behaviour that to ME seems simple, obvious, and logical - but to the dog it's a serious long leap of behaviour that makes no sense. There are usually steps in between the behaviour I'm getting and the behaviour I want that I can and should be rewarding for to bridge the gap. I know I do it, then when I realize what I'm doing, I smack myself on the forehead and parrot out "BE A SPLITTER NOT A LUMPER" and move forward the way I SHOULD be. =P So I'm wondering if there's not some stuff in between that you can be rewarding that will help the girls move forward and get closer to the final picture.

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