2009, I am explaining shaping to the students of the Instructor Course. In the first part of the video, the owner of the aussie is capturing behaviors, in the second part I am shaping the behavior (and explaining, that's why sometimes I miss a click). The difference? You can hear the aussie barking in the first part. When a dog barks during a learning session, people are easily upset, and annoyed. Someone ask me "How can I make my dog stop barking?". Easy answer: be a better teacher. Dogs bark because they do not understand, because they don't get the right information, and they become confused, insecure, frustrated. It's a good measure of how good you are in your choice of the criterium/information and your timing. The other behavior he is offering is lying down. I call this kind of reaction a "safe learned behavior": something that was successful in the past, and dogs offer to get you to click, and to self-reinforce themselves. It's something like "I do not uderstand you, I am getting stressed, maybe we can switch to a behavior that we both understand and like". The most interesting part of the video, from my point of view, is the difference in the motivation between the owner and myself. Owners are motivated by reaching the "right" behavior. To be successful means that the dog is doing what they want the dog to do. That's why they capture: their attention is on behaviors. My motivation is to give good informations: increase the dog sense of safety, confidence and motivation for the behavior. I don't want the dog to do something, I want the dog to understand the information, and to want to display the behavior. At some point, the aussie gets lost, and starts to bark against me. Most trainers would say the dog needs help, and you should lower your criteria (increase the success ratio). I don't. If I believe the dog to be able to mentally, physically, emotionally and socially perform the behavior, I will just let the dog express stress, and wait until he "comes back" and starts to focus and listen again. To me, this means I trust the dog, I think the dog is able to reach the goal. It's a matter of trust, and, again, keep away from the need of the "right" behavior to fulfill my own motivation of success. Is the "right" behavior your motivation for training? (Dogs have no clue what the right behavior should be).
Alexa Capra 13 february 2019
Everytime I have the list of dogs, and I am ready to start Communication Classes, someone ask me "Why do you allow owners to bring toys in the field? Isn't it dangerous?". Dogs do not fight for a piece of plastic. Yes, food can be dangerous. Food changes the perception of the dog of the interaction, because food is associated with survival. A ball is not. So, why should dogs fight for a piece of plastic? In most cases, dogs don't. When it happens, in my experience, the reasons are: the toy brings into the surface a latent conflict; the social conflict increases the dog's need for that toy, as a coping strategy; a dog can also be anxious, excited, frustrated, or just unable to effectively decoding the other dog's communication. Kandji, my german shepherd, would attack an unfamiliar dog that dares to grab his toy, but will never harm Brick, my staffy, or me. The relationship, matters. In this video, a young and pretty self-confident Basenji meets for the first time a golden cross, a neutered adult male. What I really like in this interaction, is how they are using the toy as a mean to define their relationship. Enjoy!