Distractions as cues: day 3 – yabadabadoo!

Session 1 (breakfast):

Remember I’m still at step 3: I will stay there until Game predicts the recall on the first rep of a new session. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. It is the first rep of a session that shows you whether learning has occurred! If the first rep doesn’t show cue prediction, but the third one does, we are not there yet. Why? Because it’s easy to repeat what just got rewarded (rep 3). It’s hard to remember 12 hours later (rep 1)! But it’s the 12 hours later memory that we’re interested in building!

In the session below, you’ll see that “Get it!” (my cue for a tossed treat) is higher value than my click: Game has no problem interrupting her feast in order to chase a single piece of kibble! But I fail when trying to insert a click later. In the end of the video, you hear me think loudly: I should probably use a higher value treat for the click for a few sessions to help sharpen the take-food-from-hand behavior back up to the point I want it to be!

Session 2 (dinner):

She’s got it! She’s really got it! Yabadabadoo!!

In this video, Game predicts my recall on the first rep of a new session. This is my black-and-white criterion for moving on to step 4 – which I will show you tomorrow!

In this session, I also finally use a higher value treat (a chunk of hot dog) for my click. Even though I try to combine it with an opportune moment at 00:54, Game keeps eating the kibble on the floor. I’m going to have to work on this behavior separately.

This is a good reminder that ideally, in our training sessions, we will focus on ONE behavior at a time. Here, I should be focusing on my cue transfer from verbal recall to sight/smell of kibble! Which Game just accomplished in this session for the first time!! Note to self: let her finish her food in peace, and work on marker cue interruptions separately.

(The treat Game gets in the end for free is a piece of kibble, not hot dog – just something I found in my treat pouch.)

In any case, we’re celebrating our success with a little toy play in the end of this session. On to step 4 tomorrow!

If you want to work on this or similar behaviors with your own dogs, join me in Out and About at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy! Or check out any of our other classes … Game and I, for example, will be doing Nicole Wiebusch’s Heeling class at Gold this term! And we’ll be following along with Sara Brueske’s Bomb Proof Behaviors at Bronze! There’s something on the schedule for everyone this term! It’s going to be a fun one!

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