Dog Training Mechanics
Welcome to canine nation. Sunday, January six twenty nineteen. This is episode one eighteen. Hi, thanks for tuning into the podcast. I'm Eric Brad. This is the ninth year of canine nation. I started writing for life as a human in twenty ten back. Then there weren't a lot of blogs or podcasts out there. Talking about modern dog training techniques positive reinforcement or behavioral science I'd like to say, thanks for reading the essays for downloading the podcasts. And I'm glad that people seem to find what I have to say useful for their everyday work with their dogs. I'm interested in what you would like to see more of on the podcast or in my essays. And it would be great. If you could send along suggestions or comments to our Email at talk to at canine, nation dot CA. That's talk and the number two at canine, nation dot CA. If you enjoy what we do here. Why not drop by canine, nation dot CA and click on the donor. Nate button and leave us a one time or recurring donation of one dollar five dollars, or whatever you think would be appropriate this week. I wanted to take a look at something that sometimes gets overlooked. Our dog's brains are not that large and not that complex and that goes along with the way, they interact with their world. Their perceptions are not that complicated. And neither are their thoughts about the world. So why should our training become placated when we're trying to teach them new behaviors? Oh, sure as humans we can be quite clever in how we construct our training scenarios. We can arrange things in all kinds of ways to get our dogs to do a behavior were looking for. But that doesn't mean were being good communicators. What I train with my dogs. I like to stick to the basics that I learned so many years ago in Mark reward training, see the behavior, Mark the behavior and reward the behavior, it seems like a very simple formula but much like the mechanics of sports like bowling or soccer practicing. The basics can mean the difference between being a good player. And a great player. So I wanted to focus on those basic skills that we all need if we're going to be good at working with our dog. And I wrote it all down in this essay that I call dog training mechanics. Baseball is a wonderful sport. Many of us have played some form of it from the time that we were children. Whether it was stick ball or softball or just picking up a game that involved hitting a ball with the stick. Most of us are familiar with the basics. You would think that hitting a ball would be relatively simple. But it turns out that the best hitters in professional baseball. Hit the ball less than thirty percent of the time in fairness the pitchers in professional baseball are incredibly skilled at what they do hitters practice long and hard to achieve the few hits that they get. It's a matter of mechanics both pitching and hitting the ball. Are learn skills close attention to the mechanics of each particular skill can make you better at it over time. We shouldn't be surprised that training a dog. Also requires mechanical skills, if we focus on developing our sq. Kills it would not only make us more effective trainers. But it could also eliminate many of the problem behaviors we see develop in our dogs. Bob Bailey has been training animals for over fifty years. Bob, reduces the basic process of training down to three critical steps think plan and do each of those phases requires their own set of skills and each of them can be improved with practice. The think phase requires that I get an idea of what I want to teach my dog plan will give me an opportunity to go through my set of training, tools and decide how I'm going to go about communicating with my dog during the training process and finally do will have its own set of skills where I have to be effective at putting all of that thinking and planning into action. Bob Bailey is clear that these three are separate and distinct activities and that you should never try doing more than one of them at the same time. It's never a good idea to change the plan while you're. Already doing the training, nor is it a good idea to change what you wanted to train. Once you started your planning all three aspects of the process are important and should be done independently. That's not to say, we don't stop doing the training in order to reevaluate and adjust our plan or stop are planning in order to change. What behavior we want to teach? We just need to keep these activities separate. The think process of training for me can happen any time or anywhere. It's that moment when my mind wanders, and I think it would be fun. If my dog could do some new behavior on Q, it could be something like backing up or putting both front feet on a small stool or lifting up their head to help with grooming. It's just a creative exercise in coming up with training ideas. Planning is a different matter. This is where I will be called upon to use my experience and training skills to figure out how to teach my dog what I want. Will it be a multi part training process? Like teaching my dog I to go to a Matt and then to lie down on it. And then wait until I signal them that they can leave or will it be a more simple task like teaching my dog to touch their nose to the floor. How I develop my plan will depend on my skills as a trainer. Her and the complexity of what I've decided to try during the think phase of the process. The most creative thinking and the most detailed planning can all be for nothing. If my training mechanics, the do part of training isn't executed. Well, it doesn't matter what training methods you use. There are always basic skills that you need to perform well in order for your dog to learn for me that process breaks down into three things see it market and respond to it. Each of these steps has its own skills. And I've learned to get better at each of them over time. Seeing is just what it sounds like you have to be able to recognize the thing that you're asking your dog to do when they do it. This can seem like a very simple task. But anyone who is trained to dog can tell you. It isn't dogs are fast and the more complex the behavior. You're trying to teach the more vigilant you have to be to see it when they offer it to you. It's a skill that involves recognition. Marking is a different skill. It's about communicating to the dog when I mar behavior that I'm looking for. I'm telling my dog that that thing you just did that is what I'm looking for as you might guess the primary skill here is timing. Like a baseball player trying to hit the ball. I have to coordinate what I'm seeing with my marking. So that I communicate properly too early, and I might get only part of the behavior too late. And I might get something totally different from what I wanted both seeing and timing are skills that can be practiced without your dog present. And it can help your training. If you spend a little time brushing up on those skills. Responding to my dog's behavior is a multifaceted skill and requires both planning and good execution used rewards to encourage behaviors that I want during my training. But where I deliver the reward. How I deliver the reward. And when I get that reward to my dog will all have an effect on how quickly or how slowly she learns what I'm trying to teach. One aspect of the training process that took me a while to get good at was making it clear to my dog that we were moving onto another try I found that what I was doing before. And during my dog's behavior had a major impact on her understanding of the transition between one try and the next it was important for me to behave in one way while I was waiting for her to offer me some behavior and then behave differently while marking and rewarding her efforts. I found that extra movements talking or gestures were confusing. My dog even simple comments like, okay, sweetie. Be patient with me can be a distraction readjusting my physical position in the middle of training was disruptive to my dog. Anything I was doing or saying might influence what my dog was trying to learn I found that my training was most effective if I could be as quiet and is still as possible while working with my dog. Making no unnecessary sounds or movements until my dog offered her behavior produce the best results. Then when I had marked the behavior and was delivering the reward. I could offer a pet or an enthusiastic. Good girl to help her understand that the job was done. And we were moving on. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me when I began to focus on the mechanics of my training was the effect that it had on my dogs interest and enthusiasm for the work. We were doing the better. I got my training mechanics. The easier was for my dog to follow along in the training process. It became easier for her to know when we were starting when she was successful when she needed to try again. And when we were done. Good mechanics gave my dog the confidence and trust that comes from understanding the process, I was being clear and consistent about my process. And that made it all very predictable and easy to understand for my dog. It was remarkable to me that the old proverb less is more could actually apply to dog training focusing on the simple basics and learning to do them. Well, made me a better trainer more quickly than any fancy new training technique or device ever could. The mechanics of dog training are simple doing them. Well, however is not that easy. Bob Bailey has been teaching animal trainers that important lesson for decades. We would do well to heed the advice if someone who is trained dolphins and bears and lizards we just need to keep our eyes on the ball. And keep practicing our swing. It's the only sure way to hit home runs with our dog training. Thanks for listening to the podcast. We have over one hundred episodes available both at the canine, nation dot CA website and also available through tunes and other podcast directories. You can also find canine nation articles at the life is a human dot com website or follow the links underwriting at canine, nation dot CA. Canine nation is also on Facebook, you can find our canine nation page where we post information about the latest articles podcasts and news about canine nation events. We also have a discussion group the canine nation forum. It's a place to discuss the podcast, the canine nation essays life with dogs and training dogs or just to share some information, we found around the internet. Thank you for listening. I'd appreciate it. If you share this with the Doug people in your life. I guess that's all for now. Until next time have fun with your dogs.