Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Release Word

Yikes! I noticed yet another inconsistency in my release protocol with Wyatt. My release word is "OK" but sometimes I will release him with the name of the next obstacle.

Since we clicker train and the click is the end of the behavior, it can be tricky to reward the contact but not release the dog. I usually treat without clicking and/or use a secondary reinforcer ("Good dog") and expect that the stay continue until released. I find that, at times, I have to remind him to stay with a one finger stay cue we have developed. I am working to drop this additional cue as soon as possible.

To summarize, here is what I am working towards.

1. I give the name of the obstacle to Wyatt.
2. Wyatt proceeds up and down the obstacle to the 2 on, 2 off position independent of where I am. There is not separate "spot" command or physical target. Ideally, he drives to the 2 on, 2 off position.
3. Wyatt waits in the 2 on, 2 off position until I give his release word OK. I can move around, treat him, move to the next obstacle, start heading back up the obstacle without him moving until he is released with his release word.

Of course, the hard part is keeping my handling and expectations the same at trials...

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