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Video of Solo learning sit and down. Advice welcome!

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Disclaimer: First BC, first time clicker training, and hoping to continue learning as I teach him! He is 9 weeks in this video and has been with us a week!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVfBOZDoso4

 

I had taught him "down" in an earlier session that day. I am just so amazed at how he looks at me and I can see the wheels turning. It's truly impressive. I know you all know that, but allow me to be amazed since I am a new BC owner!

 

If you have any advice for training, please let me know! I've had been watching a lot of YouTube videos on clicker training when I was waiting for him. Also reading the Puppy Primer and The Other End of the Leash, too, to help me understand the puppy/dog/human interactions.

 

My goals with Solo are basically to not waste his amazing potential. I want to teach obedience and tricks. I want to work with his breeder to teach herding (her sheep, my eventual ducks/chickens and maybe a cow or two). I have plans for disc competitions, and perhaps agility or freestyle. We will see if I can keep up! I know Solo can; I can see it in his eyes!

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Very nice! Overall, great work and I'm sure he'll go far. Nice short session too. I find the temptation to have overlong sessions is strong with clever pups.

 

Constructive criticism, in brief:

 

I'd recommend working on a mat or carpet. I don't love how he's sliding about a bit.

 

Right now it looks just fine, but be mindful of loading your hand with a treat prior to cuing. You don't want him begin to expect to see the treat before the cue, as you don't want his cooperation being contingent on knowing there's something in it for him ahead of time.

 

Don't be afraid to toss some play into your sessions. (Maybe you do this already!) Play play, cue cue, play play, etc can really make training sessions fun. Plus it's always helpful if you have a dog who will switch between reinforcers with ease.

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I concur about the suggestion for a mat or carpet.

 

If you are interested in clicker training, you might want to go ahead and do a nose target to hand, and even possibly a target stick. Those were two of the first things I taught my puppy and they have served as great skills. Having a hand target meant that I could train a lot of things without having to use a food lure, although I am not opposed to food lures in any way.

 

Adorable puppy!!

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Very nice! Overall, great work and I'm sure he'll go far. Nice short session too. I find the temptation to have overlong sessions is strong with clever pups.

 

Constructive criticism, in brief:

 

I'd recommend working on a mat or carpet. I don't love how he's sliding about a bit.

 

Right now it looks just fine, but be mindful of loading your hand with a treat prior to cuing. You don't want him begin to expect to see the treat before the cue, as you don't want his cooperation being contingent on knowing there's something in it for him ahead of time.

 

Don't be afraid to toss some play into your sessions. (Maybe you do this already!) Play play, cue cue, play play, etc can really make training sessions fun. Plus it's always helpful if you have a dog who will switch between reinforcers with ease.

 

My house is all hard floors except for the bedrooms (which is isn't allowed in yet). We do have an area in front of the couch where I did put a rug just for him (it's maybe 7x5 feet?). I think I have used that area most for training, but this video was shot in the kitchen because I think my kids were playing video games at the time and I didn't want it to be distracting to him. I totally see your point, so I will see about getting a few inexpensive mats to have scattered in all the rooms so we aren't limited to that one area.

 

Loading my hand with the treat: Yes, I wanted to ask about that! In the time it takes me to fish a treat out of my pouch (it's Doggone Good brand), he often breaks the sit or down. I am trying to be quicker with it, though. Also I see that I need to let the clicker actually be the marker for reward, so even if he does get up, is that okay?

 

Can you explain the play, play, cue, cue, play, play? Do you mean to cue sit and down and then click and reward with play instead of treat? We do play, and when he does something good in play I say YES and give quick praise and go back to the play.

 

Along those lines, of course he offers sit a lot in hopes of reward. Whenever he sits instead of jumping up, I praise verbally (usually don't have a treat on me, though I am thinking of wearing this treat bag all day now since he sees it and instantly knows what's coming).

 

I think of a lot of things as I train, because he is so smart and presents me with questions that I haven't really encountered with other dogs I have (tried to) train in the past.

 

I concur about the suggestion for a mat or carpet.

 

If you are interested in clicker training, you might want to go ahead and do a nose target to hand, and even possibly a target stick. Those were two of the first things I taught my puppy and they have served as great skills. Having a hand target meant that I could train a lot of things without having to use a food lure, although I am not opposed to food lures in any way.

 

Adorable puppy!!

 

I think I know what you mean by nose target to hand. Haven't seen target stick yet. Do you have any helpful videos to share? I see what you mean about food lures. For sit and down, they served their purpose. Other things I can see they would not!

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My house is all hard floors except for the bedrooms (which is isn't allowed in yet). We do have an area in front of the couch where I did put a rug just for him (it's maybe 7x5 feet?). I think I have used that area most for training, but this video was shot in the kitchen because I think my kids were playing video games at the time and I didn't want it to be distracting to him. I totally see your point, so I will see about getting a few inexpensive mats to have scattered in all the rooms so we aren't limited to that one area.

 

Loading my hand with the treat: Yes, I wanted to ask about that! In the time it takes me to fish a treat out of my pouch (it's Doggone Good brand), he often breaks the sit or down. I am trying to be quicker with it, though. Also I see that I need to let the clicker actually be the marker for reward, so even if he does get up, is that okay?

 

Can you explain the play, play, cue, cue, play, play? Do you mean to cue sit and down and then click and reward with play instead of treat? We do play, and when he does something good in play I say YES and give quick praise and go back to the play.

 

Along those lines, of course he offers sit a lot in hopes of reward. Whenever he sits instead of jumping up, I praise verbally (usually don't have a treat on me, though I am thinking of wearing this treat bag all day now since he sees it and instantly knows what's coming).

 

I think of a lot of things as I train, because he is so smart and presents me with questions that I haven't really encountered with other dogs I have (tried to) train in the past.

 

 

I think I know what you mean by nose target to hand. Haven't seen target stick yet. Do you have any helpful videos to share? I see what you mean about food lures. For sit and down, they served their purpose. Other things I can see they would not!

A cheap bath mat tossed on the ground during a training session is pretty convenient, if you want to train in a new area. Portable and grippy!

 

There's some debate about whether the click indicates the end of a behaviour or not. I solve this by incorporating a release into control positions (sit, down, stand, etc). Don't get up until I ask for a new behaviour OR release. If he breaks position prior to a release, just lure back and reward in the correct position, then release. Rewarding in position is important for building value for holding the position. Offering multiple treats in quick succession is a good way to build duration too.

 

With the cue/play thing, I think I was (clumsily) trying to suggest that you intersperse formal training sessions with lighthearted play. The biggest issue I used to see in obedience classes was people getting stressed, uptight and ultra formal while working on exercises. Play a bit, do some exercises, play some more, etc. Making everything into a game will go a long way to creating a love of learning in the long run. I'm not saying you seemed stressed or formal here, but it's just one of those things that I think I wish I had been told when my dog was a pup.

 

One of the best bits of advice I heard about training a puppy is you should just get used to wearing kibble for the next 12 months. Sure, you'll find kibble in the pockets of just about everything you'll own, but you'll also never be without a way to reward good behaviour. Pats and praise may work for some dogs, but not all dogs value it (or value it sufficiently for it to be used as a reinforcer), so it's nice to have a primary reinforcer on hand all the time. Plus you don't need to worry about your dog growing wise to the bait bag. ;)

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I think I know what you mean by nose target to hand. Haven't seen target stick yet. Do you have any helpful videos to share? I see what you mean about food lures. For sit and down, they served their purpose. Other things I can see they would not!

 

I do! Complete with puppy!!

 

 

This one is from further on. We do some training with it here, but just noodling around. Nothing super precise.

 

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Loading my hand with the treat: Yes, I wanted to ask about that! In the time it takes me to fish a treat out of my pouch (it's Doggone Good brand), he often breaks the sit or down. I am trying to be quicker with it, though. Also I see that I need to let the clicker actually be the marker for reward, so even if he does get up, is that okay?

 

Others may do differently, but pretty early in the training game, I like to get the food OFF of my body. I prefer to set some treats on a nearby surface that I can reach quickly. Or, I will use a treat bag that is easy access (one with a french hinge that I can open/close with one hand.

 

Food in the hand can be confusing to the dog and like others have said, they are following the food, not offering a behavior that then gets rewarded.

 

Re: getting the food to him quickly, that is partly technical skills on your part. Have that food so close that you can grab and place very quickly. Sit treats are delivered into my dogs mouth, in other words he doesn't move to my hand to get the food, the food moves into his mouth. Quickly they figure out where the food gets delivered and tend to remain there. For down, the food arrives on the floor between his feet. The food should arrive IN POSITION. Food comes to you in position, you don't get up and come to it.

 

Technical skills of the handler are 25% of the game (or more). Dog training is a mechanical skill, and like all things mechanical practice makes you better.

 

I also use a lot of verbal praise as a bit of a bridge between behavior (elbows on ground) and food arriving, esp with puppies. Goooood down! perfect! what a good dooown.

Along those lines, of course he offers sit a lot in hopes of reward. Whenever he sits instead of jumping up, I praise verbally (usually don't have a treat on me, though I am thinking of wearing this treat bag all day now since he sees it and instantly knows what's coming).

 

When my dog offers me uncued behavior in that context, he gets a warm smile, a pet and some love. By that I mean I am standing there and he drops into a perfect fold back down because we did that earlier and he got cookies. Rewarding uncued behaviors with treats results in many cases with a dog who doesn't understand the cue/behavior/reward concept and its frustrating for the dog.

 

If you are trying to train the dog to not jump up, then in a technical way you are offering a cue (whatever thing you do that usually causes a jump up). In those cases I think jumping up is usually from exuberance and a desire for attention so rewarding with attention when theres 4 on the floor or a sit is great.

 

You can also cue a sit or down when thats happening and feed that position.

 

I would suggest rather than having a treat bag on your body as a cue for your dog to offer behaviors you want (think about that for a second) you stash a few dry treats in pockets and around the house.

 

SO lets say you come in from outside and you get a jump up, and there's cookies stored 10 feet away in a bowl on the counter. You can ignore the jump up for a few feet, cue a sit, then reach over and feed.

 

Once puppy gets sit and down as a position and hold it waiting for the reward in position, you can verbally bridge the behavior and walk over and get cookies, or walk over to puppy and get down and give physical affection,

 

 

 

 

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Ha, Root Beer, that video brought up fond memories. I watched your puppy video when Keeper was that age, and thought "Oh yeah, I need to do that". I grabbed my wooden spoon and started training. I left for 2 minutes and came back to a scattered memory of my favorite spoon. I blame you. :)

 

I agree with everyone regarding the original video. I would try to get things a touch more exciting though (if he can handle it). I like to build a lot of energy into all of my behaviors and go for speed and exuberance. I'd rather tone a dog down than have to convince him that what he's doing is fun. Scooter is only a few weeks older, and I taught him to spin and lure right off the bat. I can now lure him through some quick spins and sits/downs/stands and it's almost a game of chase the lure, rather than a formal set up. He quickly figured out that the faster he goes through his positions, the sooner he can get back to chasing my hand/toy/food. But he's also a nut.

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HAHAHA!!! I guess I should have posted a disclaimer: "Do not leave puppy unattended with spoon!"

 

Back in those days, I never would have dreamed of such a thing as leaving the spoon where he could get it, I was so neurotic about Bandit eating anything . . .

 

I'm still more uptight about it than most people, but I've gotten a lot better. With a puppy I had to get to a point where I had to accept that sometimes he was going to get into some things . . . He was really good, though, now that I look back.

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The videos were perfect, thanks!!

 

Thank you all for giving me a lot to think about. I can see how I will do things differently next time.

 

I am definitely more fun and expressive during play. I thought I shouldn't distract him with exuberance when I first started, but perhaps I will add a bit more into the training sessions!

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Reading this thread brings up a funny story. My first bc, Samantha, came pretty well trained with basics. She was a bit timid, so everywhere I went with her I had dry treats in my pocket.

 

One day at a meeting of some sort, I was chatting with a woman who had her 3 yr old daughter with her. The little girl had just learned to shake hands, and when her mom said 'This is Julie' the child stuck her hand out to me.

 

Mom said "Good job, Julie!" I said "Very good!" and gave her a couple pieces of kibble that had been left in my pocket.

 

I was very embarrassed, and apologized all over the place, but the Mom laughed pretty hard, and didn't seem all that upset. Check your pockets, folks! And also before you do laundry . . .

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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Mom said "Good job, Julie!" I said "Very good!" and gave her a couple pieces of kibble that had been left in my pocket.

 

I was very embarrassed, and apologized all over the place, but the Mom laughed pretty hard, and didn't seem all that upset. Check your pockets, folks! And also before you do laundry . . .

 

Ruth and Gibbs

 

LOL!!!

 

I have to remember at times not to say "sit" or "leave it" to my High School students!!

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An update: I don't have a video to share, but I did work with him more yesterday and this morning. He is much improved now that I don't have food in my hands at all. He even waits in position after the click for the reward.


We've also begun working on "come" with good results.

 

I was going to try using a wooden spoon for target training, but it was dirty! So I used a smaller blue disc that we have, and he picked it up within 2-3 clicks.

 

I will try to take a video on Thursday when he is 10 weeks to see if you think we've improved. So much of it is ME, I can see that. He's probably thinking, come on now ... I am a border collie, you are just a newbie!

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