Hyper Motivation

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by straw, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. straw

    straw New Member

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    Venice is a super biddable dog and gets really excited about working. Whenever I pull the clicker out and start a formal training session, she immediately starts throwing behaviors at me in rapid succession, barely waiting a second before trying something else. I don't mind this - usually she tones it down a notch once I start shaping something. But it's causing a bit of an obstacle right now.

    I'm practicing pivot work with her - specifically, placing her front paws on a telephone book and pivoting around it, partly to build a stronger foundation for formal heel work and partly to build hind end awareness. She is so frantic to 'get it' that she is all over the place, constantly stepping/slipping off the book, pawing at it, backing up, downing on the book, etc.

    She is obviously having trouble understanding what I want, but I think my timing is okay. Does anyone have any tips on showing a frantic dog what you want? Or how to adapt to that learning style? Do you get more success with luring, rather than shaping?
     
  2. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen New Member

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    My dog can be like this and I've had more success with luring vs shaping. When I try to shape things, he frantically throws behaviors for a couple minutes, then gets frustrated and barks at me, and his brain falls out. If I just show him what I want via luring, he's much calmer and able to focus on what we're doing. I also keep my rate of reinforcement really high so even if I am sort of shaping something, he needs to be getting treats at a very high rate so he doesn't start throwing things out.

    I'm in Denise Fenzi's precision heeling class right now and her view is that you don't want silence to mean try harder, or try something else. Sometimes silence just means hold what you're doing. I was using silence to mean try something else, and it resulted in him throwing behaviors all the time.
     
  3. straw

    straw New Member

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    Thank you! We will give luring a try and see if that helps her.

    I've always been pretty silent during training sessions, except for markers. I do lay the praise on in addition to jackpotting something really good. I've tried to hold myself back from chatting, partly because I think it will get her more worked up, and partly because I don't want her to zero in on what I'm saying and think I'm trying to give her a cue.

    I'll let you know how it goes!
     
  4. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen New Member

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    How often are you rewarding at first? I think rate of reinforcement can be more important than jackpotting something big sometimes. If my dog is wrong for 30 seconds, then right one time and I jackpot him, he doesn't seem to learn much from that jackpot. If I keep the rewards coming every couple seconds, even if they are small, he's much more focused and learns more quickly. My problem with shaping is that I leave too much down time waiting for him to do something right and it makes him frantic. If I just lure or otherwise help him out, he's right much more quickly and I can reward a lot. Not that I don't use any shaping, but I've given up on pure shaping at this point because I'm just not good at it and it doesn't work for us.

    Do you reward the quiet between activities? Like asking for a sit, then waiting a second and rewarding when she's still calmly sitting there?

    Here are some examples from the current class I'm taking. In the first, I'm trying to shape more and doing a poor job of it. Watson is frustrated and offering lots of things, but ultimately confused:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hlZMFj_oLc

    Here we're working on the same basic skills, but I'm helping him more and he's much calmer, less confused, and less frustrated. I'm keeping my rate or reinforcement much higher and not allowing so many long silences.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcHUWa-Bzoc
     
  5. straw

    straw New Member

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    The getting frantic during downtime is exactly what I experience with my dog too. For most shaping sessions she doesn't need a really rapid rate of reinforcement - maybe 10 clicks per minute? And I'm usually able to up my criteria every 5 to 10 clicks. I have been upping her rate of reinforcement to 20-30 clicks per minute for this one though, just because she's been having so much trouble. So a click every 2-3 seconds. She is progressing, just much more slowly than she normally does.

    Hm, haven't done any 'active' downtime between sets. I'll usually train train train for two minutes or so, then tell her 'all done' and she will go grab a drink, or have a quick play session with me, for a few minutes before we start again. Practicing settles instead might help.
     
  6. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen New Member

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    I didn't mean active downtime between training sets, just active downtime where you've asked for a behavior and expect her to continue it. Teach her that frantic doesn't pay and she can get rewarded for just remaining in position calmly and wait for your next cue or more information. Basically, teach that silence from you don't mean "do all of the things", it just means "wait a second, hold that thought"
     
  7. MrsBoats

    MrsBoats Legion of Zoom Den Mother

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    I, personally, am not a fan of free shaping and I don't use it in my much in my training tool box. The only time I use free shaping in training is to teach a dog how to take a dumbbell in its mouth. That's it.

    I think deep down...she is doing exactly what free shaping is...offering you behaviors in hopes she hits what you're looking for. The less she gets it right...the more she is going to offer and faster and faster until she is frantic. It would be like someone giving you 1000 dollars for something you did...but you're not sure exactly why you earned the 1000 dollars. Then you get 1000 dollars for something else...you're not sure again why you got the cash. It won't take long for you to start frantically trying to get more 1000 dollar rewards....but you're not sure exactly what earns you that money.

    If you guys aren't familiar with the term extinction burst...it might be why your dog get more frantic the less you click. An extinction burst is when a certain behavior temporarily gets worse, not better, when the reinforcements stop. Here's a good example with everyday stuff. You stop giving in and giving food for begging at the table. Your dog's begging will actually get worse before it gets better. The begging will temporarily increase in frequency, intensity and/or duration before it decreases.

    I use luring and putting names to what I am luring. With my dogs...I find they are much more focused into channeling their energy into a certain task if they know what that task is. I would get frustrated with my dogs having to guess what I am asking them all the time. I just cut to the chase and show my dogs what I am trying to teach them.
     
  8. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen New Member

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    MrsBoats, good explanation of what I was trying to get across and exactly why I've pretty much given up on shaping. It just makes my dog frantic and I don't want him randomly offering behaviors every time I have a treat in my hand. The closest I get is sort of lead shaping, where I lead him with cues he knows, body language, etc to help him understand what I'm looking for. I never use pure shaping.
     
  9. MrsBoats

    MrsBoats Legion of Zoom Den Mother

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    I always look at dog training through the same glasses I look at us. How we behave and how dogs behave really aren't that different. We are both opportunistic creatures.

    I look at myself as the boys' teacher/employer/or someone in that position. Or I look at myself in their position. Think about a training method as a work place scenario where you are the employee. Let's take free shaping for a moment...

    You have a boss who hovers around you while you're working and they offer you 1000 dollars for things you do but you're not really use why you're getting 1000. They say nothing to you...but you hear a beep right before the 1000 is dropped in front of you. In fact...the boss says nothing to you all day but you get 1000 dollars off and on 10 times during that day. You got 10,000 dollars!! You're still not 100% sure why you got it...but you think you have any idea. Next day...boss says nothing to you all day while you're working. But the beep and the 1000 dollars come for something things that were the same as yesterday. But it's also coming for things that are new...but you're not sure what they are. But you know certain tasks get you the money...so you keep trying those. Sometimes they get you money and sometimes they don't.

    This whole scenario goes on for a couple of weeks. Then one day, you come into work and you try to do what got you 1,000 and you're not getting anything...no beep, no money, and no input from the boss. You try harder....still nothing....you try harder...still nothing. Finally they give you 1000. This goes on all day and you come home with 2,000 instead of your usual 10,000. How would you feel?? Frustrated?

    I don't want my dogs to be frustrated with me when they are working. I want it to be clear and fun. I want to be the boss that says "please do x, y, z for me." They do it...and I say "Great job! Here's 1000 dollars for doing x, y, z correctly."
     
  10. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    While I still encourage a fair degree of offering behaviours, I do a lot of luring and managing shaping sessions to keep both my dog and (more importantly) myself on task.

    The issue is probably that you're not being clear on your criteria and you're letting your dog struggle for too long. Most people ask too much of their dogs when shaping. The distance between X and Y may seem small to us and easy for a dog to understand, but to a dog who's unfamiliar with the situation X->Y may be next to impossible to get to.

    There is a time and a place for free/structured shaping, but when a dog gets frustrated or manic it's clearly saying that you've let it go on for too long. Take a break and try another method.
     
  11. LeonilCraig

    LeonilCraig New Member

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    We are in a success at luring. And for now, we're in the shaping also.
     

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