Originally Posted by dogcatharmony
thank you for the info, very interesting to read. It still amazes me that some dogs do so good one way, and others different. But then that could also be the time and effort the owners put into it also for a high success. I am just baffled by the amount of dogs I see that don't even respond to their name, let alone a command.
is it clicker training that they use for the dogs in agility?
In my opinion it isn't the amount of training, it is the quality of training that counts. I do a lot with my dogs and frankly they only get a few minutes (5-10 minutes) a day of training broken up over the day, 10 seconds here, 30 seconds there etc and all the basic stuff is taught during our daily routines. Meaning while I cook dinner or do the dishes is when I practice stays etc. And something else that is critical, people without meaning too or realizing it, poison their cues or teach their dogs to ignore them. My fav example is when people come to K-Puppy class and their complaint is that their puppy doesn't come when called. Ok, so how much training in a controlled environment did they do? How successful were they? Most of the time, they didn't train it or their idea of training it was the puppy moving away, distracted or playing and they are chasing the pup down and calling Here/Come!! So what they have really done is place a label of Here/Come!! on an action that they didn't want. Given that it could have been happened countless times of the pup running away and doing it's own thing, Here/Come now means 'go away/play'. If it has any meaning to the pup at all
As for dogs not responding to their name, that is easy too, people say it all the time with no meaning or other information and the dog learns to tune them out or just not respond because it has no value.
As for agility, that is my addiction and no we don't use clicker training as much as what some people think. It can be very useful for training a contact criteria. However, using a word marker like Yes, is very common (same as using a clicker, it is the timing of the Yes (or click) that is important not how fast they get the reward.
When we compete in agility, we can't take any motivators (re-inforcers) in the ring, so no clickers, no food rewards, no toys, no tugs etc. But a smart agility trainer/handler builds value in working and doing what we ask and how we want it. Once a dog starts to understand how to do an individual obstacle, we wont reward a poor or slow performance (or you shouldn't
Bottom line is if we build value and teach the dogs to want too and want to give us more, it actually makes training soooooo much easier
As the dog progresses from working individual obstacles, we then start putting them together, by adding a second obstacle and so on, that is called sequencing. Typically we reward after the last obstacle of a sequence, unless we had a bobble which we have to fix then, dog does it correctly and we reward or we may randomly reward for a brillant performance or increased speed in the middle of a sequence.
By the end of agility training, we have chained all those different behaviours together and the dog knows they will get a reward after they are out of the ring.