Catch Your Dog Doing Something Right
Welcome to canine nation audio edition. It's Friday may eleventh twenty twelve. Canine nation is a regular feature. Call that runs on the life is a human online magazine. Life is a human features articles about what it means to be human the good, the bad and the enlightening this column explores what it means to be human in our relationship with dogs. You can find it at life as a human dot com. To get directly to canine nation. Goto canine nation, not life is a human dot com. A complete archive of all the canine nation articles can be found there. Hi, I'm Eric, Brad. Canine nation is about learning understanding and living successfully with our dogs modern animal training, techniques based on behavioral science can produce a mazing results in working with our dogs. Whether your dog is a loved family member or a working dog canine athlete or a trusted companion positive training techniques based on science can help you. Enjoy a more productive and fun relationship with your dog. Join us as we explore the many facets of living with our dogs and taking a fresh look at how we worked with them. Whether it's taking a closer look at everyday issues, we share with our dogs or busting longstanding myths about training and Doug behavior. I hope you find something useful in each of the canine nation articles. We're glad you're with us. Now, here's this week's installment. Catcher dog doing something. Right. It was your average evening here at the homestead my wife was in our sitting room enjoying television program, and the dogs were scattered throughout the house lounging in their preferred spots the jingling of bells caught my wife's attention and soon appointee Brown. Head with black ears peered around the corner at her expectantly, my wife, smiled and said good boy and got up to let Djeddai outside. This would be a ho hum kind of story except for one small fact Djeddai is not our dog, and he has never been trained to ring. Bells to go outside. I had been staying with us for a short while as his family was traveling. We have always kept bells on the door. We use to let our dogs out to the backyard to relieve themselves we have had dogs in the past that use these bells frequently, but we never expected Djeddai to learn to use them in so short a time considering this was a one time occurrence I have to allow. How for the fact that Jeter ringing the bells was accidental, but there are a few factors that lead me to believe that this was intentional jet. I had been staying with us for nine days and nights at the point this happened. Every time the door was opened in his presence jet. I heard the bells jingle. So he was exposed to them at least four to six times each day and jet I appeared to seek out my wife just after ringing the bells to see if she had noticed it. There are a couple of non situations Pacific things that I'm also taking into account here jet. I was raised and trained by someone who uses a lot of operate conditioning in her training. This allows him the confidence to try things without worrying about a reprimand. And he is used to getting something in return for his efforts. He knows the trying something is more likely to pay off than doing nothing. We can't know whether or not jet, I would repeat that behavior because he went home with his owner the next day. But we think it's likely that he would have two of our other dogs develop the same habit in a matter of days. Also, so long as the bell ringing produced reliable results that they wanted the dogs used it as a means of communication. Here's another example of this phenomenon when our Rizzo was very young my wife began bringing him to agility practices. She would keep him in a soft. Great. But he was very often excited by the dogs that were out and running as he watched as a way to focus Rizzo. My wife began asking him to lie down and dropped treats into his crate through the zipper at the top of the crate. It wasn't long before my wife realized that trying to look into a dark crate through mesh to see a black dog was not an easy task. It's dark in there. And so she would ask resort to lie down. And then lean forward to see if he was in fact, lying down before dropping the treat apparently of his own accord Rizzo began to poke the mesh of the crate when my wife looked in. This was a perfect indicator. The height of the nose poke would tell my wife whether Rizzo was standing or lying down. She began. Only paying for nose pokes that came at a low enough level. It's important to realize that this was not a trained behavior. My wife did not teach Rizzo to poke the mesh of the crate, but she did reward it before long. My wife had figured out that if she leaned forward to peer into the crate resort would immediately show her his nose pokes in hopes of getting a reward like Djeddai working out how to ring the bells to be let out resulted worked out how to give my wife the information she needed, and he was rewarded for that? In both of these cases Djeddai in Rizzo were passive learners. They were not specifically big instructed to offer a particular behavior. They were however both rewarded for their efforts. Djeddai and our bell ringing dogs were let out and Rizzo received his food treat from above after leading his mom. No. He was lying down with his nose poke, the important point here is that these dogs were not instructed to do a particular behavior. They were allowed to offer something that worked for them. And they were rewarded for it to us? This is an incredibly cooperative and empowering way to work with our dogs by giving them the freedom to offer behaviors we have created a mechanism for them to express themselves rather than the dog needing to meet criteria that we set as trainers for a given behavior. We are simply accepting something they contribute and build it into their repertoire of existing behaviors instead of requiring a specific. Behavior. We are accepting something offered of the dogs own accord, I suppose that in a way it could be that we are validating their efforts with our rewards. A few years ago. It was standard practice for my wife to be sitting in her office only to look up and see the steely glare of to Brown is attempting to bore a hole in her are tier Romy sue would stare intently at my wife in what looked like an attempt to telepathically will my wife to get up and feed her dinner. Unfortunately for our little black dog, we are quite aware of how operan conditioning works. And so my wife would never get up and prepare dinner when she saw Thira engaging in that behavior. It took a short while but tear learned that this staring thing was not really working. So she said about looking for alternatives before long. She was finding my wife and offering a soft smile and a light hearted. Wag of the tail this approach proved to be much more successful as my wife would often laugh and say, okay tear. Let's get you fed. But it was not a reliable strategy. If my wife was engrossed in her work tears efforts displaying her cuteness might go unnoticed. Our Doug Rizzo was growing up fast, and my wife often encouraged here to play with him Thira is not really one to play with other dogs that much. So it surprised my wife one day when Thira ran into the room with Reseau and began playfully bouncing in bowing at him this made my wife laugh, she would watch them play for a few minutes. And then my wife would get up and start preparing dinner. Thira was delighted she had at last discovered a reliable way to get my wife to make dinner for her. Of course, Jeremy sue probably thought she had finally worked out the secret method to get dinner when she wanted it. But what was really happening was that? My wife had observed behavior she wanted to encourage interior Meizu and decided to accept the play and rewarded consistently. Now when tier wants to be fed, she will engage result in some silly play result gets a little fun tickets fed and my wife gets what she wanted to. So it's win win win for everyone involved. This kind of cooperative learning and training works for two primary reasons first the trainer is aware and observant enough to consistently reward the behavior. She wants wants the dog offers it and second these dogs are all used to being trained using positive reinforcement and Mark and reward training. They have a long history of offering behaviors and being rewarded. Perhaps more important is that these dogs are never corrected when they offer. Incorrect variations of what we are looking for while training, if they offer a behavior other than what we are looking for or are willing to accept we simply ignore it. And let them try something else in short. We teach our dogs that there is no harm in trying. Of course, there are behaviors we discourage but only infrequently jet Djeddai, Reseau and Thira are all products of positive reinforcement training, and each has demonstrated their ability and willingness to engage us in their efforts to communicate it makes for a pretty interesting life for us as their owners, and I have to believe that it must be fun for them to after all how many dogs get to feel like they are active partners in their training. We are very thankful for all the gifts that modern training and opera and conditioning have given us until next time have fun with your dogs. I hope you enjoyed this edition of canine nation. You can find the text version of it at canine, nation dot life is a human dot com. You can join our discussion about dogs and dog training on Facebook. Just search for canine nation to get to our group. You can ask for membership. And we'll add you to are growing family. If you can spread the word about the podcast or link to our canine, nation dot life is a human dot com page. We would certainly appreciate it. That's it for now. Thanks for listening.