Dog Site - Dog Stuff
Dog Forum | Dog Pictures

Go Back   Chazhound Dog Forum > Dog Discussions and Dog Talk Forums > Dog Training Forum


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-29-2010, 05:35 AM
Catsi Catsi is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 916
Default Let's talk about focus

What do you do to bring out the best in your dog/s in regards to focusing whilst 'working'?

Any handy hints, tricks of the trade?

My girl is shockingly difficult to engage at most times. We have moments of what I call 'brilliance' usually at home when conditions are perfect. Abby just doesn't find me interesting enough.

When I do have focus, she is wonderful to train. But I need to go back to focus as a foundation I think or we will just keep stagnating.

She is the first dog I have tried to do any training with (my first dog outside of childhood) and I think she would be a difficult girl, even without her reactive, fear aggressive behaviour.

She finds tunnels and jumps fun, she likes to play as well, but she will switch off from food and from me if she finds something more interesting (a smell, something else in the environment).

Having a better focus would be helpful with the desensitisation process and other real life applications as well as just in general training (we do tricks, obedience, agility at home). Basically, in everything we do...

Also, she is pretty good on hard surfaces but take her out onto grass and she is just overwhelmed by the urge to sniff the grass. Even in our own yard.

I understand this is a pretty basic training issue, I'm at a bit of a loss because I try to be as interesting as possible without nagging too much.

What has worked for you? Suggestions, ideas, criticisms all welcome.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-29-2010, 04:50 PM
Criosphynx Criosphynx is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,242
Default

what are you currently doing to get her attention?

the most helpful thing I taught, outside the norm (i guess) is turning a tight leash into a cue to reorient back to me and await instructions. Its great because when the dog gets distracted, if you've practiced it enough, it will go like..."oooo a patch of grass,*pull* oh wait huh whats up mom?"

eventually the tiniest bit of tension gets their attention.


other than that, just rewarding the heck out of her offering the behavior, whenever you can.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:07 PM
Catsi Catsi is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 916
Default

Right now... if I really want full attention I avoid grass.

I have had a tendency to nag - 'Abby, Abby, Abby, Abby'. But I'm trying to stop that now.

I usually wait it out, but progress is slow that way.

I have tried introducing a 'ready' cue, meaning we are ready to work now. She is pretty good at first, but as time goes on her mind wanders.

I usually only do 5 minute training sessions max, but maybe 3 or 4 a day. If we are having a good time, naturally we might go a bit longer.

I have found that introducing play into our rewards does a lot for her motivation, BUT I am worried that I am teaching her to not bother if there isn't a toy, because she looks for the toy first.

Thanks Crio, I like the idea of rewarding for refocusing after a tight leash. I read about that in Click to Calm. Did you start by clicking when the leash goes tight?

My friend suggestion a 'ritual' of some kind like charging the clicker, or some other exercise she knows and quite enjoys just to get Abby into training mode.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-29-2010, 07:44 PM
Criosphynx Criosphynx is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,242
Default

videotape yourself...once you really really see yourself nagging it will help you stop. Even if you already know you are doing it...seeing it, and how often will help. Cameras are your friend! I love to nitpick my own vids.

Quote:
Thanks Crio, I like the idea of rewarding for refocusing after a tight leash. I read about that in Click to Calm. Did you start by clicking when the leash goes tight?
I actually just finished CTC and there were a few things I didn't like and that was one of them...I get what shes trying to get at...the click makes the dog reorient...but to me it seems to much like rewarding the dog for pulling, maybe I missed som'thing in the text, but it didn't make sense to me.

anyway, the way I did it was a made the leash tight and just waited, sort of like the "be a tree" game for loose leash walking...when the dog would loosen the leash on her own, THEN I would click, because thats what I want to reward, the loose leash, not the tight one...you just build on that for more eye contact.




I pretty much reward like MAD for eye contact also. I kinda want it to be a default setting on the dog, not som'thing I have to actively ask for..
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-29-2010, 08:18 PM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 6,403
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Criosphynx View Post
I pretty much reward like MAD for eye contact also. I kinda want it to be a default setting on the dog, not som'thing I have to actively ask for..
This is what I do too, I just click when the dog offers eye contact without me having to ask for it - including "kissy" noises and anything else people do to try to get their dog's attention. I start in a non-distracting environment, and just stand still and look at my dog, clicking whenever she gives me eye contact. I count how many reps we get in one minute (record keeping is very important at work!), and work toward 15-20 clicks in one minute. When I can get that many looks in one minute, I'll start building duration - she looks at me, and I count 1/2 second or 1 second before clicking. I gradually build duration from there, but when I get 2 seconds duration consistently, THEN I start adding distractions.... slowly and gradually. Start by just working in a different room of your house. Then practice out in your back yard - AFTER a long play session and enough time out there for her to get bored. Then just build distractions from there. But the important thing, throughout this process, is that you DO NOT cue her to look at you; you want her to learn to look at you "just for fun," not because you asked for it. I know of trainers who even go so far as to say that if your dog learns to look at you on cue, he has also learned that if you DON'T cue he DOESN'T have to look at you.... which makes attention very difficult to keep for long durations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catsi View Post
My friend suggestion a 'ritual' of some kind like charging the clicker, or some other exercise she knows and quite enjoys just to get Abby into training mode.
I think this is a good idea. I use hand touches - even when my dog is terribly distracted, it's pretty hard to ignore my hand in front of her nose, and when she touches it and gets a treat from me, I've pretty much got her attention after that. Sometimes it takes several hand touches if they're particularly distracted.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-29-2010, 08:29 PM
corgipower's Avatar
corgipower corgipower is offline
Tweleve Enthusiest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: here
Posts: 8,233
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catsi View Post
She finds tunnels and jumps fun, she likes to play as well, but she will switch off from food and from me if she finds something more interesting (a smell, something else in the environment).

Having a better focus would be helpful with the desensitisation process and other real life applications as well as just in general training (we do tricks, obedience, agility at home). Basically, in everything we do...

Also, she is pretty good on hard surfaces but take her out onto grass and she is just overwhelmed by the urge to sniff the grass. Even in our own yard.
Sniffing and loss of focus can be a displacement behavior, indicating that she's stressed/confused.

YouTube - The Power Of Premack: Fence Fighting

Quote:
I have found that introducing play into our rewards does a lot for her motivation, BUT I am worried that I am teaching her to not bother if there isn't a toy, because she looks for the toy first.
Put the toy away. When she offers a behavior that you like, click and go get the toy.
__________________
The slayer of all things happy since 2010
Kibble feeder since 1973

Extreme owner of four herding dogs

puzzles, poetry and so much more ~ Doggy Puzzles created by me
sleep!!!
My dog Votes!
proud member of the MUMS 2009 7th place team CISRA 2009 1st place team SUMS 2009 2nd place team
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-29-2010, 10:56 PM
Catsi Catsi is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 916
Default

Thanks everyone, very helpful advice. I watched that video and got all inspired, so I went outside and did a two minute Premack session with Abby.

And then I reread Lizzybeth's post about the importance of not doing it in the distracting environment first. Silly me. But....

It worked! I wish I had of timed ourselves to get the exact amount of clicks, but I would conservatively put our second minute at around 10 clicks. She even found something to roll in and I even though I was thinking 'what the hell is that she is rolling in' I didn't say a word. And she did reorientate.

I had her full attention on the pavers/cement as usual, but when we went onto the grass her head went straight down into sniffing mode. I kept my mouth shut, played the 'I'm a tree' game and just waited it out. She did well.

Now I will go back to doing it in plain old boring rooms in the house and see how that goes and build from there. Do you usually have to do this everywhere you go? Or does this Premack principle build up a level of focus over time that can be generalised? Or is it a little bit of both.

I completely understand that sniffing etc can be stress/displacement signals. When we go out walking and she sees another dog/person, she may very well sniff the ground and I let her do that, reward for checking back with me of course.

With training it would have to be me stressing her out or confusing her, wouldn't it?

Makes sense about the toy too. I may just have to video myself... that'll be interesting.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:17 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 9,036
Default

Quote:
I usually only do 5 minute training sessions max, but maybe 3 or 4 a day. If we are having a good time, naturally we might go a bit longer.
Don't let a good training session go bad, though. Fine if you wan t to extend it a bit, but don't overdo it. End it while you're still doing well.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:23 PM
BostonBanker's Avatar
BostonBanker BostonBanker is online now
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Vermont
Posts: 8,414
Default

I will say, I used to laugh when people said "give the dog what they want for a reward!". All good advice when your dog wants your food or your toy - but what about when something else is more rewarding?

The old agility field I trained at had a groundhog that lived right outside the fence. He'd sit there and watch the dogs. Can I tell you how fun that was trying to keep my hunting-bred dog focused? She pretty much ran to the fence line constantly, and she is normally a very focused girl.

At my trainer's suggestion, running the groundhog finally became a reward one night. If I got her back for one jump, I would release her to go run the fence and cheer her on. Crazy. In about two minutes, she was running with me again for the reward of getting to go chase the ground hog. I believe I got laughed at a bit for actually listening to the odd suggestion, but by george, it worked!

So, what if in exchange for eye contact, you cue her to go sniff? Point, tap the ground, super excited "Oh my! What is THIS smell?!". Give her 30 seconds or so, then try for more eye contact and another reward.
__________________

Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:32 PM
Lolas Dad's Avatar
Lolas Dad Lolas Dad is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,017
Default

Treats usually motivate Lola to be focused. She is even focused at the dog park with a treat in my hand. I was training her at the dog park for a sit and stay and she was totally focused. The reason for the sit and stay was for her therapy dog training so that I would be able to have her sit, walk away 20 feet and call her. At the DP I was walking about 50' away. The only time she will not remain focused is if she sees someone giving a treat to their dog then she is over their in a heart beat.

She will wake up from a dead sleep with me just saying Treat.

The thing to find is what gets your dog focused and stick with that whether it be a toy or a treat or a ball.
__________________




Can someone please kill this flea before it jumps on Lola
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:29 PM.


1997-2013 Chazhound Dog Site