"All-Positive Monday 17" - Another Twist to Object Discrimation | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Monday, July 18, 2011

"All-Positive Monday 17" - Another Twist to Object Discrimation

This video of a dog performing object discrimination is the inspiration of this week's All-Positive Monday. 

Yes, that's not something new, but this is a new way to approach it. Instead of trying to have Wally match by name (not that we are going to give up on that), but instead by appearance.

In the video, it goes through how she taught her dog this.

So, this week's All-Positive Monday had us working the beginnings of this, the foundations as it were.

First, I started with getting him interested in the objects in general. These were all new objects to him (I bought some small stuff animals from IKEA), so he wasn't familiar at all with them. I want him to have a good interest in these objects, which frees him up from worrying about them or being curious, and can focus on the training.

Next, I worked on him just looking at the object. For so long, we've been working on him going up to objects and trying to interact with them. Now, I just want him to look - and that's it. No grabbing, no trying to get it, just look at it.

And not looking at me. That's another thing. He's used to looking at me and not what he wants (derived from part of "leave it" training and self-control). Sometimes, that makes him turn from the object to look at me. I'm going to have to put a cue to it to have him look at the object. We did this today as well.

Believe it or not, this drained him pretty good. I didn't think this would be too much of a challenge for him, but it worked him mentally it seems. He was crashed out after this session.

After a nap, I started with some basics of matching. I used just one pair so I had one object and the match was some distance away from us. I cued him to look at the object (and worked on that) and then used our "Dónde está?" cue to have him go finding the match.

Now this, I can see being quite the challenge for him. He had no choice but to succeed, since the only object there was the match. He picked it up and brought it back, and earned a reward. After a few trails with that pair, I switched pairs. Still the same exercise and cue.

After being drained some more, he crashed out again and sleep a LONG time this time around. I had to wake him up to eat! I really taxed his brain and between that and dinner, he slept really well all night long.

I suppose there's no better ending to an all-positive training day than a good night of peaceful sleep!