eileenanddogs

Tag: learning from mistakes

A Little Heavy on the Body English

A Little Heavy on the Body English

Part 3 of  Dogs Notice Everything (The Missed Cue)

This is really the opposite of a missed cue. The dogs are understanding the cues beautifully, but these are cues I’m consciously trying not to give!

Around the time I made the Missed Cue videos, I got very interested in cue discrimination in general and worked on teaching Summer and Zani the difference between the verbal cues for Crate and Go to Mat. Since it is so easy to teach these with hand and body cues, my dogs didn’t really know the verbals, although I used them regularly. So I took a stab at teaching the discrimination and made a video of our progress. The methods in the movie are not bad, but my test of the results leaves quite a bit to desired.

In the spirit of the blog, I present the embarrassing part of the video, where I attempt to test Zani’s knowledge of the verbal cues. The whole point is to refrain from giving any physical indication of which item I want them to go, and I fail utterly at this.

To complete my embarrassment, I’ve turned off the sound for this short clip. Even a human can tell which behavior I am cuing by my body language every time. I not only fix my gaze on the object, but I turn my body slightly in that direction. And dogs are probably 10 times better at noticing those things than we are.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been the whole focus and point of the training!

Does Your Dog REALLY Understand a Verbal Cue?

In case you want to test whether your dogs know a verbal cue, here’s Donna Hill of Vancouver Island Assistance Dogs showing how to do it correctly.

I’m making a goal for myself to teach some cues well enough to pass this test. The first step by itself,  teaching the dog to respond while I am out of sight, could be a challenge. This skill has to be taught gradually as well. Since my dogs can respond to some cues at a distance I’m hoping we have a good start on this.

Anybody else aware of cuing their dog without knowing it? It’s so easy to do. Want to share?

Discussions coming soon:

Thanks for reading!

Copyright 2012 Eileen Anderson

Welcome!

Welcome!

A woman with her back partially to the camera is sitting on a lawn. There is a wooden fence in the background. Three dogs are lying down nearby, all looking into her eyes.
Eileen and Dogs

The following movie of training bloopers is meant to set the tone of this blog. I am not a professional trainer. I am a passionate, committed amateur with three great dogs.

Link to the blooper movie.

I practice scientifically informed humane training and use Dr. Susan Friedman’s Humane Hierarchy as a guide. I have watched my dogs blossom as I have studied learning theory and dog body language and sought to apply what I have learned. And I’ve actually trained my dogs, though it’s generally easier to cruise the Yahoo groups for the evening. Like others though, I have found that I learn more by training for 10 minutes than I usually do in an hour or two reading arguments about dog training. Who’d have thought it?

I want to share what I have learned and help others take the plunge.

What can I, an amateur who has trained fewer than ten dogs, offer the Internet world? For the past six years I have read voraciously, discussed sometimes fiercely, and immersed myself in all things dog training. But  even though I’m pretty well informed, there is a big disconnect in what I think I know and what I find out I can do. I sometimes choose techniques that look great on paper, then wonder why my dogs aren’t acting like the paper ones. A mistake I make frequently is not to think through the ramifications of a single behavior or problem solving technique I may attempt. Or I choose the newest popular technique when I actually could have done something more obvious and a lot easier.

The mistakes I make may be so specific to my situation that rather than helping anyone, they may just provide a good laugh. That’s OK. But perhaps we can analyze the type of mistake and the larger picture, and I can help save some other dogs and their people some grief. I’m willing to show you what worked and what didn’t, the results of my sometimes bad timing, and discuss why I made the choices I did.

It’s not all about my mistakes, of course. I love the moments when the dog and I suddenly understand each other, or when a dog turns a corner emotionally about something. They are such marvelous creatures and I hope to share the glimpses of their lovely little minds and souls as they share them with me.

My wonderful dogs. RIP Cricket, who passed 5/31/13.

My day to day training focuses on polite pet behaviors, agility, socializing my feral puppy, and surviving in a multi-dog household with the additional challenge of some extremely incompatible dogs.  My particular interests within training are how dogs discriminate and generalize, the uses of classical conditioning for pet dogs, and reading dog body language. Believe me, I have plenty of footage to share along those lines. I practice Sue Ailsby’s Training Levels and will be sharing videos and commentary about our progress through them as well.

Most of all I hope you will write me back. Have you ever learned from someone else’s mistakes? Do you think it is possible? Let’s find out.

Discussions coming soon:

Thanks for reading!

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Cape Town, South Africa