Just Stuff!

Today will be a mish mash of various things -- training, the first of a series in critical thinking, breeding stuff, and hopefully a show update...

Barbz continues to work on attention with Zaida, and wonders - off leash or on leash when working in the presence of other people (since Zaida loves people)?? I have pondered this for a couple of days -- my initial thought was on leash to prevent practicing of undesired behavior (aka visiting). But then I thought -- maybe off leash as long as the other people do not reinforce in any way/shape/form, and Zaida gets HUGE rewards for choosing to return her attention (or maintain attention) on Barbz. Hmmmm....

And then I thought some more about what we want the finished product to be, and when walking with Sydney and Harper B yesterday, I had a related insight.

My regular walk involves going by a house with 3 - 4 running, barking dogs behind a wire fence. Harper B and Sydney did exactly what I reinforce/expect -- the barking, running dogs cue them to look at me and keep looking at me as if those dogs did not exist. It takes just 1 - 2 treats now to keep that behavior solid.

So Barbz needs to transform the meaning of other people when training -- other people need to be a cue for Zaida to look at Barbz. How to do this? Dog on leash and heavy reinforcement for looking to Barbz in the presence of other people. Also, clear distinction between training/ignoring and visiting -- Zaida only gets to visit with a command (I use "go say hi") -- but I would get the attention piece solid before introducing the visiting part :)

If Zaida is ignoring Barbz and gazing longingly at other people, Barbz says and does nothing. In other words, Zaida gets zero reinforcement for ignoring Barbz -- the strangers do not look at her and certainly do not pet or talk to her -- but she gets big and frequent reinforcement for paying attention to Barbz. We are looking to establish a habit and so yes, we use a heavy reinforcement schedule...

Keep us posted, Barbz!

And now we move on to one of my favorite topics: Critical Thinking. This is not negative thinking but rather it is thinking about how/why we know or believe stuff. I found this short video about critical thinking and assigned it to one of my classes -- it was a big hit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OLPL5p0fMg

In the next few weeks, I am going to discuss a variety of methods that are regularly used in the transfer of knowledge that result in flawed thinking, which then contributes to problems with accuracy and integrity of knowledge and decisions. None of us are perfect and so we make mistakes, but if we can sharpen how we think about things then we are better positioned to make sound decisions in all aspects of our lives.

And speaking of decisions, I just want to whine a little about how challenging it is to get things done in terms of showing/titles when having to navigate around heat cycles, planned pregnancies, puppies, etc. It feels like a constant start-stop cycle, and so it seems hard to gain momentum. Creating puppies (or trying to)  involves giving up a lot of time (and money) that I do not get back - maybe we need another working title to recognize these efforts: AM (Advanced Motherhood).

And related to this -- Harper B and Asia are both in season. Please light a candle that Zoey does not come in season before March 15th or yet another Specialty will be in the cross hairs of Disappointment -- sigh. In fact, light two candles and say a prayer or chant or wear Lucky Socks -- whatever you think will help (never mind that critical thinking stuff ;)...

Later

Heidi Heidi was Reserve -- that girl is pretty amazing :)

8 comments

by Lisa K on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 08:06

Thanks for that video. I watched it twice and saved it. And the speaker has an accent! What a bonus! *swoons*
Also, on another thankful note, I have been changing the way I look at my girls. I am breathing them in. Each one of them. So thanks for that. And go Miss Aspen!!!!!
We are doing the Hold Your Hormones Dance out west!

by Tiffany Green on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 21:17

That's awesome, Lisa, about breathing your girls it. Love that you shared that. Thank you!

And ditto on the hormones. Either bring it on quick or hold off a few weeks, Ms. Zoey!! :-)

by Sue on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 09:52

Milo, of course, was perfect from day 1 :-) And while we worked on attention by reinforcing what I liked and ignoring what I didn't, he was easy and happy to work from the beginning. Not really distracted by dogs or people because he preferred the work. However, the dog I had before Milo (Zathras) was a HUGE challenge and I think we spent the first year of his life with me waiting for opportunities to reinforce the behavior I wanted. And while initially it took a long time, the long term payoff was HUGE as once the learning was done, and occasional reinforcements continued, I could take him anywhere. So it's totally worth it, and for me, at least, even the process of getting there was fun.

by Barbz on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 09:53

Guess I was having a big training setback letting a bazillion people-kids in particular pet and love on Zaida at the dog show yesterday.. Guess we see where her "problems" come from. I do love her friendly temperment. We'll have to work on handler error more. Or critical thinking. Sigh.

by Mary-Ann on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:12

I was probably not clear! I meant no visiting when training -- when one is out and about then by all means, give the "go say hi" cue! But make sure it is very clear that there is a difference between "we are training" and "fly free Social Butterfly!"....

by Sue on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:12

As Mary-Ann said, big difference between behavior during training vs when you are just out and about. And the show and visiting is great for socializing as well as strengthening Mary-Ann's excellent point about using a "go say hi" cue (something I need to be better about practicing!)

by CA Heidi :-) on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 23:00

We have a candle lit for Aspen, right next to her picture. We can certainly light a couple more to ward off disappointment. :-)

I love the "go say hi," suggestion. I'm totally stealing that.

Hooray for Heidi Heidi!!! That girl is a star!

~H

by Chris H on Mon, 02/18/2013 - 16:42

To clarify, in Barb's training exercise are the people there FOR the training and specifically told to ignore the dog when approached? When I have tried something like this in the past out in a park/public setting, Poppy often wanders and flat out enjoys saying hi. And she has been ignored maybe a total of 3 times in 6 years :-) So I am guessing we recruit these folks and give them a job, instead of just hoping they react unenthusiastically when approached.

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