Wrap of Week one lessons
So we are well into week one lessons and I just wanted to point out a few things. The first is that there are two typoes of lessons in week one, lessons that work on conditioniong and lesson that work on teaching an action.
Teaching lessons are about preparation and teaching, and once done you really don’t need to revisit them again. Conditioning Lessons are things that you will layer into your puppy many hundreds of times. This is VERY important that you understand this and not teach thyese steps in week one only, but continue to run these exercises with your pup for quite some time.
This layering is ideally basically an accumulation of understanding and reward so that the pup is a true expert at this and will live these behaviours as default.
- Preparing for your pup tpo come home
- Bringing your pup into yoru home for the first time
- Crate Training
- The Ex pen
- Engagement the Beginnings
- The Behaviour Interrupter
- What is your name?
- The Meaning of No
- Socialisation Exercises
- Toilet training
A little more explaination on how long is long enough.
I personally randomly reward my dogs for going into crate and relaxing in crate well into the dogs second year of life. Randomly means around 20 – 50% of the time in this instant.
The Ex pen
I ideally will pack the pen up and put it away by the time the pup is 20 – 26 weeks, but some people will remove it earlier or later, depending on their skills.
I never stop rewarding this, and the rate of reinforement (what percentage of the repetitions are rewarded) is very high, above 80%.
The Behaviour Interrupter
I reward this with food at a high rate of reinforcement until my pups are about 6 – 8 months. Then I convert the reward to a rough, scruff up rather than food. If I ever see the responsiveness drop off I will bring food back, for the liofe of the dog. But know if you train it correctly, your pup wil be conditioned to reposnd like this for life. The biggest mistake people make is dropping off the food too fast, second biggest mistake is that they make the noise AFTER the dog knows you have food.
What is your name
I invesnted the Behaviour Interrupter because many people want to use the dogs name, but they use the name 500 times a day and reward after it 20, this is called a low rate of reinforcement and provides low reliability.
I avoid yelling the dogs name when he has done something wrong, and this helps me not kill or poison the meaning of the dogs name.
The Meaning of No
I will develop the NRM in my dog and monitor its response throughout life, if I find the dog losing interest I will end games on it more often until I get a dog that has the correct idea. So another forever monitored program.
It is super easy to arc up games at your home, back yard etc but if you fail to teach your dog that he can win these rewards in new places, he will believe he cant and will be hard to trigger in new places and or around distraction.
If you took one thing from this program it is Socialise your pup every day of the 8 weeks the program runs for in a new, social, noisy or distracting environment. This is key to developing a great working dog.
Some pups may need more than others, if your pup is super confident and outgoing with no submission, he or she may be fine with heading out 2 or 3 times a week. If your pup is unsure, hesitating, fearful, aggressive or similar you need to be out every day, maybe more than once a day if you can and I would supplement these outings with food or tug games.
If your pup will not take food or play games in say a shopping mall, I would take him home and give him no food or tug games that night and go back to shops the next day. You have to lower this high threshold at this age or it will become almost impossible later.
If by week 16 your pup is not neutral or confident, keep working on it. I promise if thisfoundation is not strong, the best heel work or recall will fall apart in new places.
At deifferent development periods toilet issues may arise needing clear communication that this is not acceptable, maybe when a male enters early maturity he may begin marking.
The most important part of undersdtanding Conditioned Reinforcers is that, the program does not ask to see if your pup can respond, its teaching you to develop this undertsanding between you and your dog and maintain it for life. Which may require longer reinforcement than a few days or weeks.