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Handling Punishment – examples

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This video is clipped out of a 15 minute long session with Brito.

You can see two errors that I handle in two different ways; one with punishment (-P) and the other with additional training assistance.

20 sec:  The first error takes place at the retrieve over high jump; Brito anticipates the exercise before I have a chance to send him.  I choose to let him complete the exercise and since we’ve been struggling with taking the high jump on the return, I do reward the incorrect chain.  I repeat the exercise at 55 seconds and he anticipates again.  Two errors in a row?  We have a training problem.  Stop testing and start training.

To work on it, I take the problem area away from the high jump altogether and work the anticipation issue (2:15 seconds).  To make it clearer for him, I step out of heel position to throw the dumbbell.  This is setting up training for success.

I choose not to attempt the exercise over the high jump again during this session because I need to address the anticipation issue more thoroughly before returning it to the retrieve over high jump.

Handled in this manner, I did not punish the retrieve over high jump at all – indeed I chose to reward the first incorrect retrieve over high jump because on many occasions he does not send at all when I cue him, and I’d rather have anticipation than any more loss of enthusiasm for work.

The second error takes place in heeling.  Brito loses attention as he approaches the about turn at 1:45 seconds

The error is caused by our movement towards an edge – “Squirrel territory”.  I choose to use a cheerful interrupter (a reset) and I stop the chain (-P) because ending the chain (however cheerfully I may do it) also ends his chance for reinforcement.  Breaking the flow of training is a punishment that he understands.

I “cheerfully” back up several steps after a bit of engagement and we repeat exactly the same sequence again at 1:55 seconds.  This time he succeeds.  I verbally praise him as he completes the challenging portion and I give him a cookie soon thereafter.

I handled these two errors differently because he is at different stages of training with these two exercises.  Alternating anticipation with missing his first cue to send over the high jump is a common issue and suggests a general issue with lack of attention and enthusiasm for the task – under those circumstances any punishment at all, no matter how minor, is likely to make the matter worse.

I handle the heeling error with a cheerful interrupter.  I felt that he was strong enough in this training session to tolerate the punishment (-P) and the cheerful interrupter reaffirms that we’re still having fun together, gives him a reset so he can try again, and keeps his attitude up.

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

One response »

  1. It is a joy to see him so happy throughout the training and a good illustration of the difference in the 2 situations.

    Reply

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