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Thread: focus? what focus?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default focus? what focus?

    Hi guys. Brian is just getting started on his training. He's not the brightest spark, so its slow going. But seriously, this slow?

    for eg. Brian doesnt look on command.
    So, we start, we have 10 pieces of scrummy chopped chicken. A high value treat for him.
    He's watching the food, the food is being held up to my eyes, i catch a glmpse at me, i click, and feed chicken. Except.....
    here's the problem. This dog does not have a clean opening mouth to shove food in fast. So there is often a long delay between click and treat, past 6 seconds. And i think the delay is losing the lesson.

    After 10 attempts, he still hasnt got it. "yes" is my cue for eye contact. So as he glimpses, i click, then such a delay in treating, that we've lost the glimpse and food is being delivered way to late to mark the glimpse.
    I am aware that ive never trained a dog who thinks in slow motion, moves in slow motion and has a IQ of 3.

    He has no prey drive, so cant use that for a reward. Is it just a case of keep going, he'll get it in a year or what?
    ITs been roughly 20 sessions of focus work, and still he is not looking.
    help?

    When we are out and he's off leash, if i act hyper and silly and call him, he comes bounding toward me roughly 80% of the time. When training him to leave ducks and geese, i used the other 2 dogs so much to role model ignoring them, that he's copied them perhaps, rather than been redirected by me as i thought.
    This dog is such a training challenge to me.
    Last edited by bernie; 07-26-2013 at 06:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    Bring him down on Sunday if you want Bernie, you got time to pop down to North Geelong about 11am? Just off the highway

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    I thought the theory was that the click marks the response and the dog then expects the treat. However you have to first build a strong association that the click means a treat. My dogs understand that a click marks the right behaviour and that they will get a treat even if it is somewhat delayed. The treat does not mark the response. Probably you need concentrate on loading the clicker so just click and treat without trying to get a behaviour.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 07-26-2013 at 11:42 AM.

  4. #4
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    Bernie...

    The clicker is supposed to sort of replace the treat - ie you charge up the clicker by going click - treat count to three (there needs to be a gap before the next click... then repeat 5 times - or maybe 25 times for a slow dog - so there is a powerful connection between the sound of the click - and getting the treat. Then you can start to build the time gap between the click and the treat - that's the point of using a clicker or marker - so you can delay delivery of the treat. Though - sometimes all the behaviour that happens between the click and the treat - can become part of what the dog thinks they need to do to get the treat.

    So I use the word "watch-me" to ask for eye contact. You don't use your cue until you have the behaviour you want uncued. This seems backwards but otherwise your cue gets associated with all the junk behaviour you don't want.

    So the clicker is great for if you're trying to capture something really precise like an ear flick - or the eye contact glimpse, but less helpful for something less precise like heelwork.

    So I would - skip the cue...

    hold treat next to my eyes (this is luring) or just wait, most dogs will look at your face at some point to try to figure out what you want.

    Having already "charged the clicker" as a sort of warm up game, I'd have a bit of a play and run around or chase the kibble as a "balance break", and then I'd have the food in an open bowl - easy to grab some and shove in dog's mouth but also easy to put hand over the top and stop dog from helping himself (Its yer choice game).

    And I'd wait.

    And when the dog looks at me - (can I have a treat PLLEAASSSEE - they're really good at this - it's called begging), then I'd click and shove some food in his mouth.

    and wait again.

    And when you've rewarded 5 times (or 25 times for a slow dog) - then I'd have a another balance break...

    And then I'd try again waiting...

    two successful sessions, when you can be reasonably confident your dog is going to offer up the behaviour you want - then I'd add the cue...

    "watch me" (goo goo eyes), click - treat. count to three. (repeat 5 to 25 times)

    I distract the dog by playing with the food - moving it around... but only reward (click) when the dog looks at me. So you can use this to break up attempts or repeats (gym speak for how many times you lift the weight).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Mid North Coast NSW
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    Do I remember right that Brian is a Mastiff of some sort? I have absolutely nothing of value to add here, just my understanding . After training my old border collie cross, my boofhead mastiff has been a challenge to say the least. Although I will admit he was GREAT at learning eye contact. He asks me if he can do just about everything by looking to me before he acts, so I'm pretty happy with that. Apart from that I've decided to settle for good manners and basic obedience so he doesn't do my head in! I read mastiffs hate repetition, and that sounds about right, because Abe just turns stupid after about attempt number 3, and starts rolling around on his back grinning like an idiot

  6. #6
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    dhru - lol @ just turns stupid at attempt 2. Yes! yes! yes! see someone else has a numpty boof head i see!

    But it does sound, if your dog is looking at you for most everything, that somehow this lesson DID get through that thick skull eventually. So there is hope!

    Hyacynth: i never charged the clicker, Doh! as soon as i saw that typed, i knew human error was playing a part here too. And in automatic pilot was using a cue.
    ok, so today, we'll give this several more goes, with charging clicker and missing the cue. One day, he'll be so of got it, i can add cue then. Another rookie mistake. Poor Brian, of all the houses in all the world, he had to land in this trainers LMAO

    There are a minimum set of tricks i need this dog to do:
    come
    sit
    watch me

    3 mammoth challenges to ask of Brian i know. But if at the end of 1 yr of training, i can get these out of him. Id accept this as mastiff obedience champion style!

  7. #7
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    Actually Bernie the eye-contact thing he picked up really quickly. I was just holding the treat close to my face and using the word 'yes' as a marker. It only took a couple of repeats and he had it. Same with the sit - it was the easiest sit I've ever taught since that is all he wants to do. It was just a matter of timing the command and the reward with his natural tendency to sit. The come is probably done 90% of the time, but I will admit he follows my old girl everywhere and she ALWAYS comes. Our biggest challenge was the drop - I got to the point where he knows the command, but performs it consistently as though it were a circus trick - pouncing on my foot like a cat with a mouse is a fav. Or throwing himself down so hard the whole house shakes then rolling over and waving his legs in the air, that's a good one too. Never the perfect controlled drop I'd hoped for, but better than nothing.

    My old dog helped enormously with training. He likes to please, and if unsure just looks to see what she's doing and copies. You'll get there (and with some very knowledgable tips from here too), and I'll be thinking of you all along the way. Please keep us updated - I have faith in Brian, he can do it. 3 commands in a year sounds achievable even for a goof

  8. #8
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    I had to go search to find out who Brian is! He sounds funny and what a lucky dog to have landed with you guys.

    Banjo (kelpie x staffy x something) does the belly flop often during training. Though I reckon it's because I am often too vague or slow when I'm trying to train new tricks. "When in doubt, drop" She also loves sitting.

  9. #9
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    Well at least your at home and not in a class with everyone elses dog doing exactly what they should be doing.....and heres me with a Bullmastiff wiggling around on his back like a big worm pretending he cant hear anyone !!

    So embarrassing especially since he would go great for the first half of the class. When the boof heads have had enough they have had enough methinks.....

    Actually its the reason why i love them so much......silly, a bit stubborn and would rather have fun than work. When i'm reincarnated make me a Mastiff for sure !!

    Good luck !!!


    Quote Originally Posted by reyzor View Post
    Education is important, but big biceps are more importanter ...
    DONT SIC YOUR DOGMA ON ME !

  10. #10
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    I'm sold too Sean, I love everything about my big idiot

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