This is the last post in the "overexcited nosework alert" series; here are two more suggestions that might help in calming your dogs overexciteable behaviors while maintaining correct alerts.
You could try revisiting the the very early "imprinting" exercises that involve you holding a tin or container in your hand. Be prepared for the dog to knock into this hand, maybe even claw it or mouth it. No matter what your dog does though, hang on and keep the container as steady as possible until the dog quiets and does the alert you want.
In the last post, you read about the problem/not-problem of overenthusiastic nosework alerts. You want the dog to be enthusiastic, but not to the point of smashing boxes or crashing around your search area like a bull in a china shop! Here are some ways of calming the dog down:
You can try introducing a heavier container, or weighing down the container you have with rocks or sand. If you do this, just keep a couple of things in mind: 1) Make sure that all your containers have the same filler in it, and change the fillers randomly or you might be accidentally training your dog to alert to rocks or sand.
During the early stages of training Nosework to your dog, you're either holding the scent or it's on the ground right in front of you. You slowly build the dog's love for the scent and work it through the food distraction exercises and make sure it's going right for the scent and staying there. You're building up the dog's love for the scent! Soon he really-really-really loves it and can not stay away from it! And just like that you're up for your first simple search!
A lot of still-common, but old-fashioned training advice these days comes from some studies that were done on captive wolves back in the 1980's. Videos of these groups of unrelated wolves placed artificially in "packs" showed the wolves frequently fighting and struggling for physical control and social dominance. A pack-based theory of dog training emerged from this, promoting the idea that the basic relationship dogs have with others is an often physical fight for dominance.
Testing again...the blog has been acting up!
Still hanging in there after the first two posts of this series? Great!
If you’ve been playing along with the exercises in the previous post,
and all seems to be going well – your dog is correctly stationed and
waiting while you do your behavior demonstrations, and then responding
to whatever verbal cues he knows for the various
behaviors, and you’ve repeated sessions several times so it all looks
very easy, go ahead and do the following to check your dogs
understanding of mimicry so far:
First, do about 2-3 repetitions of your basic pattern so far: station
the dog, perform the behavior, cue “Your turn!
Dog trainers current on modern training methods make a big deal of
science; it’s really important. The laws of learning state that such and
such will result in such and such; rewards will tend to increase a
certain behavior; punishments will tend to decrease
a behavior; there are primary and secondary reinforcers; operant
conditioning will always have a classical conditioning tagalong, etc.
This kind of stuff is interesting to read and of course, really, really
important. I’m definitely not suggesting that people
should ignore the science behind dog training: in fact, it’s one of the
first things you should start to wrap your mind around, if possible.
Some of you have taken up or be interested in doing occasional
dog-sitting, or you might find yourself being asked by a friend to watch
their dog for a while, or you might be temporarily between dogs and
considering dog-sitting or fostering to get some extra
doggy joy into your life.
Dog-sitting is not all cuddles and romps and extra pocket money, though.
These will be dogs who you might not know very well, they will be
upended into a different environment and a different routine, and their
owners will be temporarily gone, so it can be
a tough time for dogs and their behavior can reflect this.
New Training Fronttiers: Mimicry Part II
In the last post we discussed the prerequisites needed for starting
Mimicry training. If you’re following along and have worked on isolating
six behaviors that your dog can perform fluently on verbal cue alone,
and you’ve figured out how you’re going to do
your stationing and have practiced that with your dog, you can go ahead
and get started!
Pick three of the six behaviors to start with.
Station your dog.
Perform one of the behaviors (for example, spin in a circle.
It’s a fun, yet complicated time to be a dog
trainer, as there are constantly new methods and techniques being
developed. One that I’m currently working on is “mimicry.”
Mimicry is simply learning something by copying it. Humans do it all the
time: “Do this,” I can say, and demonstrate a task like shortening a
leash or presenting a hand target, and the person can immediately do it.
Dogs, on the other hand, don’t really get
this. In fact it was long thought that they couldn’t learn by imitation
or mimicry at all, other than very basic things that young puppies
could pick up from their mother.