Clicker Inspiration Video

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by CollieMan, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. CollieMan Experienced Member


    It's quite a long video but worth the watch.

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    That's a pretty good video, it's a great example of how to shape behaviors! :dogsmile:

    Thanks for sharing, I'm sure other members will enjoy and learn from it.
  3. l_l_a New Member

    yeah thanks for sharing this collie Man! What a superb training session! I am now inspired to teach this trick to my dog, as he is certainly tall enough to close kitchen drawers too. How useful would that be! Already he goes around using his nose to push everything that he thinks might produce a treat, so I might as well put his nose-targeting skills to good use around the house, hehe!

    I also found it very interesting how in the beginning in the video the dog was always doing a turn or a spin prior to doing anything else. Is this a "superstitious" behavior, as some trainers call it? but then towards the end of the session when the dog was getting a better idea of what to do then this superstitious behavior decreased.

    Then I also noticed how some times the dog was making little noises like grunting and excited whining. My dog does that too when he's very eager, whether in training sessions or not. Often when he just wants me to play he will come up and start making those exact same noises to initiate play.

    But I also want to caution that sometimes these little vocalizations during training can also be a sign of frustration. Frustration is not always a bad thing, many trainers deliberately build frustration in the dog to get a more intense performance like for competition, or to build drive for a certain toy so they can use the toy as a super reward. (I do that too.) But I personally think that frustration levels should be kept low during the shaping process, by increasing the criteria very slowly and incrementally, and by being super consistent with timing the clicks. If the dog is getting agitated during the shaping process because he is confused, then it is possible that he is NOT having fun if he really can't figure out what to do to get the treat yet still wants the treat desperately. I don't think that's what's happening in this video at all, I think this trainer is definitely very good because the dog "got it" and was always successful in earning the click/treat and so I think his little vocalizations were indication of happiness and eagerness.

    But I have run into some problems during shaping in the past, if I was too ambitious in raising criteria too soon and ended up accidentally making my dog confused and thereby frustrated. If the animal is getting too frustrated (like if the whining persists or increases in intensity AND the dog is still not 'getting it' after a few tries) then he would not be able to concentrate anymore and I think he is not having fun anymore. The dog should always be set up to have a good chance of succeeding very often. I just wanted to add that as something to consider or remember when doing shaping sessions.
  4. Jean Cote Administrator

    Hehe, I don’t think there is such a thing as a superstitious behavior. When shaping behaviors, especially in the beginning stages, the dog doesn’t necessarily know what is earning him the treat. So he will offer everything in his repertoire which has been reinforced in the past. In this case, he was reinforced for putting his body against a wall or object.

    The hard part about shaping behaviors is knowing when to increase the criteria. Like you said, increasing it too soon confuses the dog, but increasing too slowly will reinforce an unwanted behavior. So we must find a happy middle, I usually do about 5 repetitions per criteria and if my dog doesn’t get it, I take a small break and try again from the beginning. :dogsmile:
  5. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I agree with Jean completely. I've seen it happen many times before. The dog isn't entirely sure what you're asking for, and so it figures it'll try to guess and then goes through the repertoire.

    One for Jean - do you find that your BC "gets it" before your husky?
  6. Jean Cote Administrator

    Actually it depends!

    I've done more clicker training with my husky than with my Border collie so she is naturally more responsive. But my husky will be quicker to try new behaviors, like picking up things in her mouth, whereas Chase will usually do what has earned her treats in the past, leaving little room for new behaviors, so I gotta be real quick on the clicker. :)

    But once the border collie is successful in finding out the wanted behavior, she'll do it again much much faster than the husky. So basically it takes her longer to figure out what you want, but once she does, she'll do it much faster and with more energy than the husky.
  7. l_l_a New Member

    oh I agree totally with you Jean, that in the video the dog was turning/spinning and backing up against the wall because he was experimenting and "offering" behaviors, all part of the shaping process. I love how this encourages the dog to be so creative!

    I guess when I asked about "superstitious behavior", I meant as in , when the animal is mistakenly convinced that the extraneous behavior (spinning, or backing up against the wall) is really what you want or is part of what he is being reinforced for. example, see this article ; where about halfway down they were talking about the early operant conditioning experiments on lab rats (where the rats learned that if they press a lever they get food and thus started pressing levers more often). The article says
    So I was wondering if in the video, if the dog was turning/spinning because he was still experimenting and offering behaviors to see what works, of if he was mistakenly convinced that the turning was part of what worked and that's why he kept doing it. (such mistake would be due to the trainer mis-timing the clicks and rewards and thereby giving the dog the wrong idea) But I guess since the dog did it less towards the end of the session that means he figured out that it was not part of the what the trainer wanted so was not a "superstitious behavior" after all. :)

    I thought it was a really cool video, and shows just how useful tricks can be!

    by the way I just saw this video here and I think it's really cool too! I love seeing clicker training being applied to real life practical situations!
  8. l_l_a New Member

    OK, I was inspired by the first video in this thread, so tonight I started teaching my dog to close the kitchen drawers too. At first he just stood and stared at me, expecting me to tell him to do one of his familiar commands, since it's been awhile since we've learned any new behaviors (been mostly polishing and proofing and building up old behaviors). So I gave him hints for the first 2 or 3 minutes or so, to get him going in the right direction. It helps that he already is familiar with nose-targeting for some time now - targeting my hand on cue, and also using his nose to push or bump other things like door handles or boxes when he wants something (which actually is more of a nuisance most times and I try to extinguish that behavior). So we were not starting from scratch, I just needed to communicate to him to apply his nose-targeting skill to the kitchen drawer. After a few prompts he had his lightbulb moment. After about 10 minutes, he was consistently doing it on his own, and consistently pushing hard enough to close the kitchen drawer with one push.

    So now my question is, what cue or command should I attach to this behavior? Specifically for the kitchen drawers, or more general for any doors as well? If I plan to have him close cabinet doors in the future as well, should I use a different cue for that or the same as for the kitchen drawers (and leave it up to the dog to figure out what needs closing)?
  9. Jean Cote Administrator

    How about "close it"? :dogsmile:

    I don't think it's much different in your dog's point of view to close a drawer or a cabinet door, since he has to use his nose and push to close it. So I would just use "close it" for both. I'm sure he will judge by the situation that it's a drawer or a cabinet that needs to be closed.

    But if you intend on using those consistently then you'd probably be better of using two different ones. You could eventually have both open and build discrimination to each name, kind of like teaching agility that way.
  10. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I too was inspired enough by the video to have a go with Ellie. As I don't have a sliding drawer that is an appropriate height and/or easy enough to close, I decided to try with doors instead.

    I started on Thursday with just clicking if she went near it. That quickly escalated, in the same session, to clicking if she touched it with her nose.

    The next session was much easier, but this time, she offered to push the door with her front left paw. I decided that this would be better still and so we then clicked only paws touching the door.

    The next session, obviously became easier still, with Ellie going straight to it. She now takes about six to ten pushes to close the door fully

    She never ceases to dazzle me with her enthusiasm for learning. :) We've decided that we're going to invest in a camcorder. We were going to get a Digital SLR camera, but a camcorder seems more pressing and fun now. :)
  11. l_l_a New Member

    Thanks for the tips guys!

    I took your suggestion Jean, and decided to use "close it" as the cue.

    Here is our video!

  12. Jean Cote Administrator

    Hehehe good job on training him to close your drawer, he's pretty enthusiastic about it too! :dogsmile:
  13. l_l_a New Member

    hehe, at first he was trying to do the least amount of work possible (just barely touching his nose to the drawer), so I had to remind him! well since it was only his second training session for the drawer-closing behavior, most likely he doesn't yet fully understand what is expected of him, and thus he is still testing the waters to see what is the minimum amount of effort that will get him the reward!
  14. l_l_a New Member

    Here's our fourth kitchen-drawer-closing session


    This is turning out to be a very useful trick!
  15. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Yaaaay! Looks good.
  16. dakotamom421 New Member

  17. l_l_a New Member

    That is simply awesome!!!!!

    just goes to show how powerful clicker training is!

    If they educate enough sheep will it put the sheepdogs out of business? :)
  18. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I'll see your sheep, and raise you a chicken! :)

  19. Jean Cote Administrator

    LOL. I think they stopped breathing during the entire thing! :dogsmile:

    But it's cool that you can train a chicken, I think they have clicker seminars with chickens. I guess people get the concept of clicker training better while training chickens or something. :dogsmile:

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