"All-Positive Monday" Results | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"All-Positive Monday" Results

Wally getting into a training session


Well, the day of truly all-positive feedback (basically everything he did got him something he wants, be it food, a game, whatever) went well. I don't think Wally has any complaints, and I don't either, though I don't know if things really seemed all that different. Perhaps that is more an indication that my interaction with him is pretty close to where it didn't seem like an earth-shaking event for him.

One thing this approach did force me to do was to really watch him. Some things like the entrance to the kitchen (which he's not allowed in, but sometimes "goes a bit too far" and has to be redirected out) really had me watching so I could reward him for going up to the boundary line without having to redirect or say "at-at" and redirect him out of the kitchen. On his part, I think he saw it mostly like a shaping session and he was doing the right stuff I wanted so he was just lying down or standing up or sitting by the boundary with an occasional pawing of the boundary line just to remind me he's not past it.

A somewhat subtle thing he did was do the "right" thing more often elsewhere during the day. For example, when coming back in, he immediately went into the living room and sat down. Sometimes, he'll sniff around the hall or start sniffing along the hall or any objects on the bench before going to the spot in the living room. Not today, he went right there. Not sure if that was a byproduct of the approach or if there was nothing interesting to sniff! He also did it in my room, this time going up the door, which was closed, and barking. Now how is that something I want? Well, for one, he's not shy about expressing when he needs help, which given his old personality, is a good thing in my book. Before, he'd just look miserable by the door, but no one would know he needed something! But, perhaps even more so, the door blocked his way to his bed in my room, and that's where he usually goes! So, he wanted to get there, but couldn't, and was like "get this %&*(#% door open!" It didn't help it was a folding door, so he couldn't open it from outside the room.

Otherwise, there wasn't much of any difference in our day. He's usually a happy-go-lucky kinda dog that gets very into games and play and isn't shy about expressing his emotions - and that was more of the same today. He got into our training sessions as much as usual and ran through his arsenal of behaviors (seeming to prefer his "sit-pretty" or begging pose for some reason).

I may do this again sometime soon to see if there's any more differences the next time, but I'm thinking it won't make too much of a difference. Now, whether that's because I usually interact with him in about a "85% positive" way or because he didn't realize something was different, or if he just saw it as something totally different, not sure, but it certainly didn't hurt anything to try!