Wally's Art Lesson 3: First Go At Color Discrimination | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wally's Art Lesson 3: First Go At Color Discrimination

Having introduced him to both colors for some days and then let him take a break from colors training, I felt it was as good a time as any to give him a run through with both colors and calling each color out randomly and he has to indicate the color in some way (pawing, nose touches, picking up, etc).

To begin, I refreshed his mind with the colors. I left both flashcards out and then called for just one color. We did this before, so this was a review of sorts and to bring the concept back to the top of his mind. It would also warm him up for the next exercise by getting him used to looking at both colors again and picking out the right one.

As usual, I would change the positions of the flashcards after some repetitions. I'd send him back to his bed for a bit while I switch the cards and get some more treats out. Did this for some sets and then sent him back. At this point, we would start the first testing of his color discrimination.

The cards were set out again, and I'd start calling out the colors. No pattern to them, and I'd go slowly. I gave a few "hints" (a soft 'ah-ah') if he went to the wrong color, and a click and treat if he picked the right color, even if it wasn't on his first try. After a few trials, the "hints" stopped and it was all on him.

At this point, I would simply, re-call the color name if he went to the wrong one. He seemed to pick up on the fact that if he got the click, he picked the right one. If he got the color name again, he was choosing the wrong one. He was getting better at picking the right color on the first try after about a dozen repetitions.

There was still some going to the wrong color (this happened especially with the blue flashcard, perhaps there's something there I should explore), and some of the problem was that he wasn't waiting for the color called out. He would pick the color he just got rewarded for - something else I'll have to think about as well.

It looks like he at least is getting the idea and wasn't bad overall. I think he can get better with this, and, as usual, he'll probably show me any "glitches" in the previous training that I need to iron out as we go forward.

Tomorrow will be the sixth "All-Positive Monday" and I need YOUR help! (is it wrong that I "heard" that in my mind as Dora's voice?) I know one thing I will be doing and that's the picking up. We'll be working on picking up objects. Any other good ideas to try that might could be taught/introduced in an all-positive (meaning only using positive reinforcement) way.

I'm looking forward to hearing some ideas!