and this is why I foster + A random 'WTH' story

GoingNowhere

Active Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
1,793
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
USA
#1
Yesterday I received a very unexpected email that just brightened my day. Four years ago, in 2007, just weeks before we adopted Boo, I attended a dog adoption event as a volunteer and met an amazing "death row" dog. She was one of the dogs that had been trucked up to the event from a rural shelter as a last ditch effort. Despite it slowing down the search for my own dog, I couldn't leave her at the end of the day to be returned to the shelter to die. So I took her home. Her name was Lindy and she was a 6-7 year old mutt dog with a heart of gold. With a nice picture and a bio that tried to sum her up, she was adopted extremely quickly. Had she not been, I have no doubt that she would have ended up as my dog. Granted, life has a way of working out, and had I adopted Lindy, I wouldn't have found Boo. The rescue group that she was adopted through has long since dissolved.

Regardless, yesterday, four years and some later, I received an email from her adopters. Lindy isn't a young dog anymore, but she is much loved by her family as was evident from their note and photos.







And that is what makes fostering so worthwhile.

-------------------------------------------

On a totally unrelated note (I just didn't feel like making a new thread), I have a story that made me roll my eyes from earlier today! In one of my psychology courses, our professor decided to bring in his dog to demonstrate operant conditioning. I was pretty excited to see what he had to say. He brought in a big old lug of a chocolate lab who in personality was everything that someone would want a laborador retriever to be. The lecture started and all was good and well. We practiced "shaping" on some of the students before switching over to the dog. The teacher had a clicker and a bag of treats, but didn't seem too clear on the concept of how to use the two together. First he "charged" the clicker. All was good and well. Then, after apparently deciding that the clicker was now a secondary reinforcer in and of itself, he seemed to scrap the idea of the treats entirely. He was attempting to teach his dog to "play" a piano. Except whenever the dog would get something right, rather than reinforcing the behavior (or even attempting to reinforce it with just the clicker!) he'd try to get the dog to do it again. Eventually, the dog flopped over and decided that it had had enough of the game. At this point, the teacher decided that he'd best ask the dog to do something familiar to it. After asking the dog to sit roughly five times in two seconds and taking account of the fact that the dog was still flopped over on the floor like a dead fish, he seemingly decided that he needed to sound "tougher" at which point he lowered his voice and commanded the dog to sit. It did. He then tells the class "Yeah, sometimes you just have to show that you're dominant." :rolleyes:

Honestly, it was nothing "bad" and I have no doubt that the dog is a much loved family member, but for real? I feel like anyone teaching a college class at a well respected university should maybe have a clue about what they are attempting to teach! :eek:
 

Red.Apricot

Active Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
2,984
Likes
2
Points
38
Location
Southern California
#2
I dropped a training class where the trainer wanted us to wean the dog off treats and just use the clicker and a pinch collar--after telling me it was a clicker training class and that I didn't need a training collar.

Did you try asking the professor why training would work that way? Ask for studies?
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
7,099
Likes
1
Points
38
Location
Illinois
#3
That first story just made me smile. Those pictures are wonderful and really do show how much she is loved. It must have felt so wonderful to get those in an email this morning.

The second story: How much were you sitting there rolling your eyes and biting your tongue?

When I was in puppy class with Traveler the Assistant Trainer was explaining to a young couple with a 12 week old TINY Chi puppy that the reason she didn't come when called when outside was because she was being dominate. They asked about using a clicker for training and he goes "Well that's advanced stuff and I wouldn't really recommend it. It involves teaching the dog to recall to the click."

Keep in mind I was sitting there next to them working on stay/focus while using the clicker.

Seriously though must have been disappointing to you, looking forward to it and having the teacher end up doing that. Too bad you couldn't have asked for a try and shown him how it's really done.
 

mrose_s

BusterLove
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
12,169
Likes
0
Points
36
Age
32
Location
QLD, Australia
#5
The first story is lovely, it must be so nice to know she's ended up in such a good situation.


The second story, as a lover and complete convert to clicker training that'd annoy me so bad. Although something I was reading a couple of months ago as part of my course was something new to me and something I have sort of iomplemented since.

Originally I was told you HAD to treat after every single click. its the contract and you have to follow through.
Now recently I've read about putting the treat after the click on an ISR. Because the conditioned and uncoditioned stimuli are so paired that the dog has the same emotions when they hear the click as when they get the treat. A conditioned reinforcer on a CSR takes about 80-100 reps without the follow through treat to become extinct, a CR on a ISR takes around 800 reps to become extinct!

Ofcourse this idea wouldn't work on a dog that had only JUST learned that click = treat but I do use it with Quinn now as she is a dog with 12 months+ of solid understanding behind her and I do treat whenever its practical. But its nice to know that if I'm missing my treats I can rely on my marker word to carry us through in a situation that warrants it (ie: excepting pats froma stranger, making good eye contact after a command on a walk etc)
The other day I was carrying a heat bag through the loungeroom, I bumped Quinn with it and she decided heat bags were now terrifying. I put it down on the ground, saw my clicker on the coffee table and spent about 15 seconds shaping her with the clicker alone. 5-6 clicks and she was approaching the bag, picking it up and dragging it around as I had quickly shaped with no reward between clicks.

By the same theory you can "jackpot" with multiple clicks which is another big no-no. I havn't used this though.
 

Teal

...ice road...
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
1,497
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
Northern California
#6
I can only imagine how heart warming it was to get an update on Lindy! What a truly wonderful story :)

As for the professor... I would have taken the clicker, the treats, and the dog and done the training correctly! lol
 

CaliTerp07

Active Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
7,652
Likes
0
Points
36
Age
36
Location
Alexandria, VA
#7
What an awesome story about your foster! I often wish I would get an update from my former fosters, but none so far...still, it's heartwarming to hear how much good comes out of rescue :)

Sorry about your ding dong professor...
 

Beanie

Clicker Cult Coordinator
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
14,012
Likes
0
Points
36
Age
38
Location
Illinois
#10
You should have raised your hand and pointed out to the professor that, in Pavlov's experiments, when he ceased to pair the ringing of the bell (click) with the delivery of dinner (treat), the ringing of the bell ceased to be an indicator that food was coming, ceased to hold value to the dog, and the dog ceased salivating at the ring of the bell.
Therefore, based on what we learned from Pavlov *coughcough* he needs to always treat after he clicks in order for the click to continue to be an indicator and to hold value... I wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut, LOL.

I gave my students in puppy class a quick lesson last night on just that, LOL. Bringing up Pavlov's dog as the example usually puts it in pretty clear understanding for people because I'm pretty sure everybody has heard of Pavlov's dog. and also that when they attempted food and THEN ringing the bell, the bell never gained any value, so it must always be click first THEN treat.

It bothers me, as a psych student, that a psych professor wouldn't know that. XD yeeeeah that's pretty bad.
 

GoingNowhere

Active Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
1,793
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
USA
#11
I'm glad I could pass the update story along! :)

As for the professor, I did ask why he was using the clicker without the treats, though I didn't push him on the subject... He responded that while primary reinforcers, in high quantities, become less appealing, secondary reinforcers do not. Therefore, by clicking, he was reinforcing the behavior, but wasn't overloading the dog with treats until the point that it became full. I'd never seen clicker training done that way (always thought you spaced the clicks as a behavior chain became more understood, rather than continuing the clicking and spacing the treats)... Granted, from what mrose said, it now sounds like that might actually be a legitimate way of doing things. Either way, it was pretty poorly implemented, but fortunately, his dog didn't seem to mind! :p
 

Members online

No members online now.
Top