Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)

4 years 5 months ago #119519 by Kyla Smay
Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound) was created by Kyla Smay
Darrin is a 2 year old Silken Windhound, my first ever sighthound after having Belgian Tervuren for over 25 years. Don't let his sighthound status fool you...he's very much a chow hound and into using his nose. This makes me very happy since my favorite sport is tracking and I love watching dogs use their scenting abilities!

I'm a crossover trainer who has titled dogs in conformation, obedience, rally, agility, tracking, nosework, drafting, and am currently doing therapy dog work with Darrin. Darrin has his Tracking Dog title from ASCA (since he's not eligible for AKC events), and I have had every intention to get him going in Nose Work, but somehow just haven't done so. This will be the perfect opportunity to get me going!

I have trained one dog, my current Terv, Rhys, to a NW1 title using other methods. He already had experience with ignoring food in the environment due to his tracking training, but since Darrin is such a chow hound to begin with, I wanted to see about training using other methods for him. I'm always excited to be exposed to new ideas and new ways of having fun with my dogs. Of course you'll only see Darrin here, but in order to keep training times balanced out between my dogs, Rhys will likely be doing the exercises right along with Darrin.

This is my first time taking a class at Gold level, so I'm sure there will be a learning curve with regard to editing and posting videos. Fingers crossed I'll get it figured out in a timely fashion!
4 years 5 months ago #119555 by Julie Symons
Replied by Julie Symons on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
Welcome to class Kyla! Looking forward to working with you and Darrin - and we'll help you through any tech issues :).
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #120468 by Kyla Smay
Replied by Kyla Smay on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
It looks like I neglected to mention that I did take FDSA NW101 at Bronze previously, and did practice many of the exercises. But since I lost momentum, and it never ever hurts to have solid foundation skills I wanted to take it again now with new instructor and likely some new ideas as well. Darrin apparently remembered despite not having practiced in a long time. So I did several variations, shown in the attached video: holding the odor high, low, and opening my hand with the cookies to test his choices. I was very pleased with his response.

I did also try the two tin game and that revealed several things #1 – I am a klutz! It’s hard to manage the treats and the tins! and #2 – Darrin DID/DOES think it’s about the tin! That exercise was more challenging for him, but I will wait to post it since I believe the protocol is one video at a time and wait for comment. (Also I didn’t have time to edit it before I had to leave for work.)

Since Darrin seemed to remember the concept I decided that it might make better use of my time to work Anise instead of Birch for the remainder of the exercises, and he did just fine. I think he had been exposed to Anise before, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked him to work with Clove. I’m wondering if I should work Clove also up through all the exercises? Or do you find that working just one odor through all the skills the dogs transfer that easily to other odors with a brief review?
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #120569 by Julie Symons
Replied by Julie Symons on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
GREAT job. Yes, they do remember don't they! The only comment I have is that at 39s your hands are pretty close together which doesn't make it much of a choice so make sure to keep your hands further apart like you were doing otherwise. He's great with the challenges and some proofing too (which you got from the last class) - I'll have a lecture on that soon.

We usually have students use one odor through this class. I would not move on to clove at this time. Yes, I do think working through all the exercises on one odor will then transfer to the others with a short intro/review. I would focus on Birch and if you want to repeat some of the exercise with Anise, that would be fine.

Nice job! I look forward to the Two Tins video ... experience has told me that dogs make too much of an association with tins!
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #120810 by Kyla Smay
Replied by Kyla Smay on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
Thanks for the feedback about having my hands further apart. The video I will attach here was taken that same day before feedback was received, so I claim immunity for this one, but will try to be aware in the future.

I will focus on Birch and Anise...since I'm working Rhys on the side and will have the Anise prepped for him also. Then when ready to add another odor, do some of these beginning exercises with that odor to build reinforcement history. I suspect he will generalize well - anything that might pay!

So here is the two-tin/container video.

The two tin exercise was by far the hardest for me! Logistically it was very challenging, and one time I discovered I was actually holding the food in the same hand as the odor tin. Sigh. If I had a table nearby to place the treats what would you think of the idea of having a pile of treats on the table, click for correct choice, reach over and get a treat and then re-set? Darrin doesn't slime my hands too much but some dogs do and that raises the challenge even more!

My thought is that returning to two tin exercise would be good for Darrin.
4 years 5 months ago #120874 by Julie Symons
Replied by Julie Symons on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
I thought the Two Tin video was good! It shows that they are still figuring out what pays. I like how at 56s you pay when he stayed since you last fed. Perfect! I just mentioned you don't have to do it often as yes, it is difficult with the technique to mange the food and cold tin in one hand and they don't fall for it after they "get it". But for sure, return to it whenever you feel it would be a good test or challenge!

Compliments on splicing 2 videos together! :)

Really like the last video clip with the container and open food hand! Didn't fool him at all. Try a cold plastic container and a hot one next! And also feed more than one or two treats when he finds it. Feed them out one at a time in succession. Nice job!
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #121443 by Kyla Smay
Replied by Kyla Smay on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
We video taped three exercises today. Repeat of two tin, container with Birch vs a clean container, and Birch tin inside an open cardboard box. I liked how Anne (with Bean) had her video looking down from above, and so put my tripod on top of the garbage can looking down on us and I think it will be easier for you to see. (Thanks Anne!)

The two tin exercise still challenged him. Treats on my leg instead of in my hand did make it easier (thanks again Anne and Bean!) He was so convincing at one point about sticking with the wrong tin that I flipped it a bit forward in my hand to check the mark I have on the underside of the tin to make sure I was right!

When he's learning a new skill he will often take "mental breaks" - standing gazing off into the distance like you've lost him mentally. I've learned that he usually is still processing (sometimes not, but usually) just not being active physically like I'm used to with my Tervs. You'll see that he does all of the sudden make a decision to go to the other tin.

As our sessions progressed he seemed to make his decisions more quickly, though whether or not he was thinking “find the odor” or “this one isn’t paying, I’ll try the other one”, I’m not sure. And I suppose at this point it doesn’t matter, since the reinforcements are being paired with the one with odor.
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #121697 by Julie Symons
Replied by Julie Symons on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
Don't you just love it when the other students give great ideas!!? That's why I love to watch the gold threads as you will pick up some good mechanics/tips/ideas!

You do a really good assessment of how Darrin works. I'm glad you give him the time to think and wait him out. He was getting quicker with each session. I had this same discussion with a local student - they just weren't sure their dog was really picking up that odor pays and I said, you are right, we don't know for sure, but the history of reinforcement at odor WILL make them associate why they are being paid. So the history of reinforcement at source is so important. It will build over time and they DO make that association which will increase drive and motivation.

One other thought - I will post a lecture on this, but starting adding a VERY short delay, like 1s before rewarding. So count "one thousand one" before clicking and going in to reward. Then up to 2 seconds then back to immediate. See how he does with that. It will make you see if he's learning that odor pays or let me just try the other choice and see if I get rewarded ...

Good job!
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #122017 by Kyla Smay
Replied by Kyla Smay on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
So here is Darrin, practicing two tin, food hand vs tin with odor inside cardboard box (with huge vent holes!) , box with odor vs cold tin, and cold tin vs odor tin inside a pair of Crocs. (The pair of Crocs I used are the style with the holes on top so I expected to be reinforcing on top of the shoe. Instead, he pushed his nose inside, so I threw the food in there. Had to leave in the clip of him pushing the shoe off screen trying to get the food.)

The GOOD thing is that I definitely felt that he was doing more sniffing. At least when no reinforcer was produced it seemed like he suddenly thought to use his nose. Not yet going to the correct one by means of sniffing FIRST...not just yet. I think it’s even pretty obvious in a few places in the video. Will be curious to see if you agree. Overall, I think the video actually made it look like ithe training session went pretty okay.

I did read your suggestion of delaying the click/reinforcer by a second or two. I was literally so focused on just trying not to drop things and trying not to pull the odor away from him while reaching for the food, that I'm not sure if I did that at all. Maybe tomorrow will be better. :-)
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 5 months ago #122092 by Julie Symons
Replied by Julie Symons on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
The video looked really good Kyla! OMG, love the Crocs idea - natural vented containers!!

Some good stay at source behavior that you reinforced (1:19) and you waiting for his nose to go back to source (1:04) before feeding. Good, good, good! And I Loved his nose press onto the box at 1:05 You'll notice that came RIGHT AFTER you waited him to go back to source and he was like "ITS HERE"!!

There were a few spots you lead his nose to source - pretty minor but just keep an eye on it - always when you had the food further away to go get (3s, 45s).

So if he pulls off after you click when you are getting/bringing in the food, just wait (don't pull back the food - just makes it longer to get it back in) and then swoop in when he is back on source.

We don't want to frustrate them and sometimes at the beginning its better to just get the reward in, but it could lead to bad habits on both sides ... dog thinks he can pull off and still get reward and handler isn't as careful to reward when only at source

Very nice job. These were very good sessions. It did look to me that he is sniffing more. Often can't be picked up on the audio but you'll know/hear it and you will start noticing that sniffing noise more.

See if you can add in a second or two wait before clicking in your next session, but also feed immediately at other times.
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #122446 by Kyla Smay
Replied by Kyla Smay on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
If I had been more organized I could have done a plastic Easter egg “hunt” for the video. Instead, we have two Rubbermaid containers (one with Birch tin, the other with “cold tin” so that it’s not just the rattling sound drawing Darrin’s attention), egg cartons and shoes. There is a cold tin in the non-Birch item just to help eliminate the cue of the presence of the tin as being the prime factor.

I was wondering if it would help Darrin to switch from a click to a “good” (Actually more like “Gooooood” cue that he’s learned from Hannah Branigan’s stay class as “room service” – meaning to stay still, the treat will come to you. After all, a click ends the behavior, doesn’t it? So is it “fair” to ask him for more before treat delivery? I know placement of reinforcement is very powerful. And I know rewarding at source is good, this just feels awkward.

So I tried using “Gooooood”. Remaining still on a stay and waiting for the treat seems to be a much easier task for Darrin than maintaining contact with the source of odor for Darrin. In other words, it wasn’t a miracle cure.

And then, since I wasn’t clicking, I started wandering with my verbals…not sure how much I’ve clipped out, but I found myself saying “Good boy” “good job” and “yes” instead of just clicking. Ugh.

I really do want him to stay at source, I know that. And perhaps finding those 1 or 2 second moments before the click will help start cementing that behavior for him. I’m just having a hard time with all the requirements and behaviors after the click while I'm working on getting a treat out. I’m probably just over thinking it.

Today you will see on the container section that there was at least one time when I said “Good” just as he was leaving the correct container. I waited and he did return, but it didn’t feel very good.

In the egg carton section you will see him chomp on the correct container. I withheld a click until I got a nose touch because I don’t want chomping…is that what you would have done? Maybe I should have lifted them out of reach? I didn’t show you some where he chomped on the incorrect box, those were easier to ignore (and what’s up with the attack mode on egg cartons? – maybe I frustrated him today!)

For the shoes, at first I had the tins in the toes of the shoes and you’ll see him bounce back and forth, back and forth…and looking at me inbetween. Guessing? I would just be ready to click and he would start moving away. Finally I caught one fast enough! After that experience I moved the tins back toward the heel of the shoe – much more accessible, and we did better, sniffing happened. You will see that even though I dropped a piece of food on top of the tin he followed my hand off the tin a bit and I gave him food a bit away from source. Ugh.
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 5 months ago #122481 by Julie Symons
Replied by Julie Symons on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
Yes, I felt guilty not doing an Easter egg hide today ...

I do think you are over thinking as these sessions looked really good! But I see your point in getting the reward to him fast enough when you are holding 2 items. If you are using 2 containers, why don't you just put them on the ground a few feet apart so you can have food in your hand for quicker delivery. I don't use a clicker and funny that I too have used "goooood" from Hannah's class! But I default to my standard marker word "yes".

The click is an interesting thing with "ending behavior". I was at a recent Ken Ramirez seminar and when he went over creating secondary reinforces like clapping I noticed he didn't always feed after a click, but would clap instead as that was a secondary/conditioned reinforcer. Sooo, we are building in when we are getting treats out or eventually walking in as a condition reinforce before the primary arrives.

And yes, you are starting to build in duration with this delay. Look at him stick to it at 10s - pushing it in! Awesome. And at 1:32. In this first week we definitely want to err on the side of getting treats in as soon as possible, but Darrin is doing well with the delay. But you do want the option to feed more quickly so he isn't waiting on all of them. Just set it up so you have a hand with treats and it will feel better.

Week 2 lectures will get things out of your hands so you'll like it! :)

(Btw, I also would put cold tins in the cold containers for your exact reason! Great idea).
(And Yes, use the heal of the shoe - don't want the odor so deep in as that is challenging).
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #122707 by Kyla Smay
Replied by Kyla Smay on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
You mentioned in someone else's thread that you hadn't seen anyone yet have the odor container on the floor and two hands with food, so we tried that. I think I might have fed so much that it wasn't quite a test? At one point I delay and he does look at one hand, then it was back to feeding.

Then we went to two containers on the floor and I can be ready with reinforcement. It's so much easier when I don't have to hold everything at once! He tried to convince me the cold container was the one, and finally changed his mind on that. The next one was easier. Other than that the video seems just like a feeding fest to me, lots of reinforcement for being at source. I wasn't getting "nose press" behavior, but he wasn't lifting his head away from the source either.

Love learning from Ken Ramirez...finally got to see him in person at Clicker Expo/Portland this year!
I can think of the marker as communicating to the dog that he has made me start the process of bringing reinforcement to him. Will be delayed if he moves away from source.
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #122721 by Julie Symons
Replied by Julie Symons on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
This was great! These variations worked well for Darrin. Hey, if they don't leave and just get lots of treats, that is more reinforcement history at source! (Even though they may not quite know it yet!).

You don't need a nose press behavior - just keeping his nose there is great! I like when they try to convince you of the cold box - it teaches them what DOESN'T pay also.

When you watch the new lecture - you'll see at the end that my dog wasn't leaving source either so I felt I wasn't accomplishing much (you are) but to mix it up ... actually lure him off of source with your treat hand. He will fall for it then reward IMMEDIATELY when he goes back.

Not all the dogs will be ready for this, but you have put a lot of mileage in this one week already so you are ready to try it!
4 years 5 months ago - 4 years 3 months ago #123138 by Kyla Smay
Replied by Kyla Smay on topic Kyla and Darrin (Silken Windhound)
In this video Darrin made some pretty nice choices! Very first thing when he chose the odor tin over the food hand to begin with – that was a good sign I thought! And the attempts at pulling him off the odor with the food hand really seemed to help him once he was reinforced for leaving the hand and going back to the odor.

All in all, I thought it was a really good session and I suspect you will suggest playing this game a few more times to help him with his understanding. I did notice when I reviewed it that I never gave him multiples for just staying on the source of the odor. I’m guessing one goal might be building his duration to maybe five seconds? Looking forward to your suggestions.
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