Im Back After Sooooo Long Guys !

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by farwyn, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. farwyn Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone ! It's been such a long time since we last spoke here ! Yeah for a quick update on what's been going on my Lab is almost 1 year old right now living with us since the end June of 2013 and her name is Bruna - yeah her early color kinda made us think she would turn out brownish but she turned out to be a blonde :p - and thanks to positive reinforcement training we've been getting along perfectly ! I have learned to handle mood swings and change hers whenever I want by lots of training and yeah she can pretty much do anything I want as long as I figure out a way to introduce it to her . Also I've adapted my training method to a mix of positive reinforcement along with the traditional ones and this seemed to work out perfectly since I've manage to switch her understanding of reward value to a less treat based and a lot more peting based . Yeah in the end well , imagine that I've even managed to reduce the pulling while walking to miniscule amounts , the only thing I haven't sorted out just yet is the loss of attention during her being free-roaming in the park but luckily only by a percentage :p

    Here are some pictured I got with my webcam !
    Cheers mates - Glad to be back !

    Attached Files:

  2. running_dog Honored Member

    Welcome back and hopefully you'll be able to stick around :)

    Bruna really is a beauty!

    I think you're saying that if your dog is not understanding something then you haven't explained it right... I couldn't agree more :cool:

    What do you mean by traditional training methods? (there are so many :LOL:) And how did they help to increase how much your dog values rewards? (something I'm working on :rolleyes: ).
  3. farwyn Well-Known Member

    Well for the "traditional" part Ill just give you the typical example of making your dog to sit by applying pressure at her lower back . As for the value change I've actually tried to do that because I had a shortage on dog treats :p So what I did was to slightly decrease the size of the treats I would give her for doing something right and ALWAYS reward her with several pets and a hug... Mainly a hug :p . I don't really know how it worked out so perfectly but in the end I now have a dog that will do anything for a hug than a treat... And yes it's a Lab :p
    brodys_mom and southerngirl like this.
  4. running_dog Honored Member

    Thank you for the clarification :) I'm just a bit wary of "traditional" because people seem to have had the oddest ideas about how to train dogs in the past O_o, so each "traditional" method needs to be evaluated against positive training methods. I do find the kind of intervention that you describe to be one of the most tempting part of "traditional training", it is something I try to avoid though - that example for instance can cause back injuries in some dogs. I do still resort to putting a hand on his back as a reminder sometimes but I'm not risking forcing him to sit - though for the record I don't think you meant forcing your dog - more like a gentle pressure that helped explain to your dog what you wanted ;).

    It is so nice that your dog enjoys a hug, LOL mine just looks really embarrassed! I read somewhere about getting dogs to value non food rewards - give verbal, then contact, then treat - so the dog builds positive associations with each and by giving them one after another the dog notices each form of praise. If you give them all together then your dog just focusses on the one that is most important to it (often food) and doesn't even notice the verbal or the contact. It's really cool how that worked out for you :). I'll keep working on getting there myself...
    brodys_mom likes this.
  5. farwyn Well-Known Member

    1) For the forcing part in the beginning I would apply some pressure , an equal example would be pushing a sponge - no big deal and that was only required the 1st time . Afterwards with a simple touch at her lower back she would sit and then I just stopped even doing that , seriously just 3-4 repetitions were enough for her to learn the command :p

    2) Well I'm really physical with my dog , we wrestle a lot and we're really close together when it comes to games asince she was little so it's obvious that she really has no prob with me hugging her xD

    3) A small correction , I meant to slowly slightly reduce the size of the treats every day :p
    southerngirl likes this.
  6. running_dog Honored Member

    1) That's exactly what I thought you meant but I flagged it up because otherwise people who read along might get the wrong idea. For you it was simply a way of explaining to her what you wanted and because she was actively trying to understand you she learned it quickly. Big difference to a dog that is forced to do something it doesn't want to do which is actually how this method was often used traditionally.

    2) I wrestle with Gus (lab/collie) but my own dog Zac (sighthound) is a bit fragile for wrestling, a pity, I'd like a huggable dog :(.

    3) Have you come across using a jackpot of treats? That's where you give tiny treats or no treats most of the time and then give lots and lots of treats all at once when your dog does something you really like?
    brodys_mom likes this.
  7. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I remember at one time being told that sit was taught by holding the dog's chin up and lightly patting their backside. It seems odd to me now that any contact would be necessary, as most dogs just sit eventually anyway. It is one of the easiest behaviors to capture, so why did we ever need to "force" it?

    The "traditional" training method that I find hardest to avoid using is the leash pop. It's like a reflex for me as I had used it for years with my old dog who pulled like a freight train on leash. Obviously, it wasn't effective, but I persisted, poor dear girl. Now with Brody, I tend to fall back on it, albeit unintentionally, when he reacts to the dog next door and lunges very suddenly.
    running_dog likes this.
  8. brody_smom Experienced Member

    So nice to have you back! Your baby looks so grown up and gorgeous!
    running_dog likes this.
  9. farwyn Well-Known Member

    Well I only used that method once in the beginning of her training and refrained from using it ever again , mainly because I thought that there was a chance for her to only do the trick only when there would be huge amounts of treats involved and refrain from performing it when the reward was miniscule compared to the last time . Although she hasn't shown any related behaviour simply my fear for such an incident made me reconsider that whole idea :p

    Also to reply to the other post ( Hey there ! Long time no see :D ) , I am kinda rushing the training 90% of the time , yeah I know many of you will not agree but I always try to find the most cost efficient way to do things and I thought that capturing wouldn't really be the key mainly because she used to be extremely excited when I was around and she would not sit until quite a few minutes which was the time it took me to shape the command into her mind after all . By the way , I think I've never mentioned this before but she has learned about 70-80% of all the commands she knows between 2-3 months (basic commands ) . As for the advanced ones since she already had a good understanding of the basic commands any combination between these in order for a new command to be formed such as beg ( which was a combination of sit and jump) were also taught to her within like 5-6 mins max without any issues at all . :)
    running_dog and brodys_mom like this.
  10. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Sounds like she's a real smart cookie! As far as your training methods go, we all have to decide what we are comfortable with, and what works best for our dog. As long as you are getting good results and your dog is happy, then you're probably doing fine. I would encourage you to read about positive reinforcement training and clicker training in particular, just for your own knowledge. 'The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldsen is considered a must-read by many trainers. It is available here to read for free or you can pay to print it out:
    If you ever hit any road blocks in your training, or Bruna stops responding, it's good to have the wisdom of experience and behavior psychology in your back pocket. I know you like to be creative, but your creativity should be based on a decent understanding of the way dogs learn.
    running_dog likes this.
  11. running_dog Honored Member

    Fair enough, but that shouldn't happen if a jackpot is used correctly. It should be a bit like a gamble for the dog - it never knows when it is going to hit the jackpot. She shouldn't know how big the next reward might be. With most dogs using jackpots increases drive while bribery reduces drive.
    brodys_mom likes this.

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