I’ve had Diesel here at the kennel since Nov.1 and we have been actively training for about 2 weeks. In our last update I mentioned that we were working on extending Diesel’s SIT. You’ll recall that I don’t usually teach STAY. So SIT is a big deal because it replaces STAY.
Diesel has made excellent progress since our last update! I can now put him in a SIT and turn my back and walk away, at least 30 paces, then walk in a circle around him. He remains seated more than 9 out of 10 times.
When a behavior is learned to this extent we can begin replacing our fixed ratio of one click/treat (c/t) per each successful behavior with a more variable schedule that focuses the c/t on the best examples of the behavior. Our target is to progress to an average of 3:1. That means that on average Diesel will get a click and treat for about every third successful Sit. If we’re having a good session I try to extend distance and time. If the session is less focused and his mind is wandering, I try not to push the boundaries. This way we set him up for success.
All the while we have been working parallel on his Recall. About half the time when I put him in a SIT, instead of me returning to click and treat, I call him to me for his c/t. We’re getting good results with this approach.
Now we’re trying to get him to return to the HEEL position. We’re making progress with this, but there is plenty of room for improvement. We’ve started working on HEEL using a technique called Differential Reinforcement of Other behavior or DRO for short. This technique is also called “Shaping the Absence”. I’ll try to explain this in another post.
Until then, best wishes and Slack Leads to all of you!