This is nine minutes of unedited video with a focus on distraction training. The rate of reinforcement (ROR) is quite high here because success is “marked” with a reward. I try to isolate specific behaviors that have clear criteria; either he does them or he does not. You can see how I handle failure to respond to cues. Not a big deal.
I start with a minute of engagement training so he can adapt to the space. Soon enough he comes to visit and we play. Not a lot of play, but enough to make sure that we’re fully engaged with each other.
I move on to retrieve distraction training. My criteria for success are eye contact for a solid second regardless of the location of the treat. If he follows the treat hand instead of making eye contact, I simply wait. I’m also looking for a quiet hold. Fortunately, I find he almost always holds well if he is making eye contact with a distraction present.
Next, we work on positions. I place the cookie in front of his nose and ask for positions. Note that he often has to move away from the treat in order to be successful. “Wait” (stand) is new for him within the context of distraction, so this is the first session where I have incorporated it into his lessons This is approximately his third session working with sit and down under this form of distraction.
This is hard! The treat in front of his nose keeps him in the game even when he’s failing to respond.
After a few minutes, we switch to pivots in heel position so that he can move his body and relax his brain. I feed from behind my back to offset his tendency to forge.
After his mental break, we go back to distraction work.
Note that I recognize success after failure with an increase in verbal praise and genuine appreciation for a job well done, and throughout the session I use play and personal interaction to keep the focus on our shared activity rather than the food.
The following video is our entire session, unedited, so you can note my reaction to errors and also the overall pace of the session.