Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

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Erica
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Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

Post by Erica » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:18 pm

CleanRun has this article by Julie Daniels out for free for now; it was a very good read and I highly recommend it!
You want to trim your dog's toenails, so you're shaping for tolerance: of the clippers, of foot handling, of nail touching, and so on. You want your horse to ride in the trailer so you're shaping for tolerance: first of the trailer itself, of getting in, and then, of riding. We all know that even remote goals can be achieved this way. Some trainers are expert at counterconditioning, using a well-learned simple task to keep the subject calm and focused while we up the ante on tolerance--all well and good.

But, I want to talk about moving through tolerance and out the other side. What I want is for the dog to bark at me and run to the nail clippers on the counter, long before he can tolerate a full set of nails clipped. I want my horse to pin his ears and stomp when I turn him away from the trailer. He seems to say, "Don't give me that 'relief' nonsense! I'm working here!" This happens long before he is ready to walk into the trailer. It's stronger than being in the game. It's that winning attitude that takes over and runs the training sessions with focus, flourish, and intensity. I call it demand.

The Value of Demand
Demand is an intermediate level of learning, a measure of confidence and half-baked understanding of what is wanted. In the session, it looks brash and sometimes even sloppy. That’s no problem. We are far from the finished product. We are at a good place for initiative and confidence to be foremost in importance. I am not thinking of stimulus control when I invite demand; I am looking for that powerful go-get-it attitude that will anchor the dog’s confidence as the job gets more difficult and more technical later. Demand is not “Will this work?” Demand is “Click this! Hey! Click this! Hey, I’m good at this!!” That’s what I want in my agility dogs. And the more I clicker train, the more I’ve learned to go for demand in everything, from nail clipping to trailer loading, and certainly for agility training. It works for me.

When shaping for demand, don’t just gradually up the ante on complex tasks. Each element of difficulty deserves separate attention. Regulation obstacles bring too many challenging variables into play at once. So, you need to start with downscaled and simplified toys that will allow the dog to develop. Let him enjoy and explore the skill you want. You want the dog to own that piece of equipment, to play “101 things to do” with whatever contraption you’ve devised to isolate that particular skill.

Clicker Training Isn’t Automatically Stress-Free
Because clicker trained subjects generally choose to work, it’s tempting to present the whole task—for example, the regulation seesaw, perhaps propped against a pause table—and simply help skills and attitude evolve with your clicker. While the right trainer with the right dog might end up with a good performance, the chances are slim for most of us. Using the seesaw as an example, it has become popular to shape from square one on the regulation obstacle, and I don’t like what I see!

When introduced this way, the dog does not fully explore the different elements of seesaw difficulty. What he does do is learn to get across the obstacle in some way despite his weaknesses. For example, I see many dogs, clicker-trained and otherwise, that do not have a handle on seesaw noise. They don’t like the noise, but they generally tolerate it in order to earn a living on the obstacle. They do learn to perform the seesaw. That may sound okay, but it meets only the most minimal performance standards. Like all weak foundations, it will crack under pressure.
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Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

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Nettle
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Re: Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

Post by Nettle » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:09 am

Thank you for sharing that. It is an interesting take.

I'll bet a pound to a pinch of snuff the lady has only trained "certain types2 :wink: of dog.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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jacksdad
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Re: Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

Post by jacksdad » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:25 pm

I started reading, will have to finish later, my eyes are drooping.

Am I wrong to think she is simply talking about trying to tap into the power of classical conditioning to create a super positive association with something?

Erica
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Re: Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

Post by Erica » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:51 am

Nettle - probably true; it was an article for an agility magazine so it probably is targeted towards people with those kinds of dogs!

Jacksdad - Hmm. If I had to pare it down to a few sentences: When training something that your dog isn't sure about, work on each step until the dog is enthusiastic rather than just until they tolerate it. Instead of working towards approximations of the final behavior, break it down into separate parts and work on those separately, putting them together once they're solid. (eg - for the teeter, work on walking on thin planks; wobbly surfaces; loud noises; use separate devices as needed rather than just relying on the final thing. For nail clipping, get the dog happy to see the nail clippers and happy to have then paws and nails played with separately.)

So, partially yes and also "break behaviors down into their component parts." I found it a bit clearer than other explanations; the thoroughly explained example helped me understand it better than before.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

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Nettle
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Re: Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

Post by Nettle » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:41 am

Breaking things down into component parts is very valuable for any aspect of training. If something doesn't seem to be working, the parts need to be made smaller. That's good to remember.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

jacksdad
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Re: Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

Post by jacksdad » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:58 am

enthusiasm is association, associations are created though the classical conditioning process.

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minkee
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Re: Beyond Tolerance - Shape For Demand

Post by minkee » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:49 pm

I think the take away is there should be enthusiasm for *each part* individually first, rather than trying to chain them all together straight away. So yes, classical conditioning, but the important part is breaking it down and really working on each stage separately first :)

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