Sunday, January 11, 2009

Training Update 01/11/2009

Well having a chest infection is getting a lot done at my house. Not only have I finally got this blog up and running (I've only been putting it off for 6 months), but I have been able to do a lot of little training sessions.

Lucha is headed into hormonal mode, so training is getting harder with him. He would much rather get some beaky rubs and do some puffy dancing than learn how to turn around. Because of this I am going to try and go back to some behaviors he already knows like taking liquid from a syringe and improve the quality of that behavior as opposed to attemtping to teach him something new. I'm not sure whether this will help or not, but it's worth a try.

As for Marnie, well she's coming along leaps and bounds.
Yesterday evening we did another training session focusing on the "Wave" behavior. I introduced a visual cue in the form of my index finger, paralell to my body and waggled from side to side along with the verbal cue "Marnie Wave". She picked this up straight away :) So in response to using the verbal and visual cues she will lift her left leg and waggle it up and down.
This mornings session started with a recap of the Turnaround behavior. It took a few goes to get her back into it as she would offer the Wave behavior instead. However, with consistent ignoring of the Wave behavior and reinforcing the Turnaround behavior when paired with the verbal and visual cues for Turnaround, she soon got the idea.
This made me realise that I needed to work on getting her to differentiate between behaviors, so that she learned that she had to offer a specific behavior for a specific cue to get the reward. To do this I switched up which behavior I asked for and only reinforced the correct one. First I would ask for a turnaround, then a wave, then a turnaround twice in a row, followed by a set of waves. By the end of the session she was watching my hand closely for the cue and was performing the correct behavior with only the occasional slight hesitation.
This is obviously something that needs to be worked on. So for the next few days I plan on doing the same kind of mixing it up session as this morning, before moving on to another behavior.

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