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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Positive Training - Teaching Shyla to Mimic My Movements

You might remember, back at the beginning of April, that I wrote about teaching Shyla to mimic my movements. Well, we've done it!

We used a combination of a Fenzi course that we took as "observers" (also known as "Bronze level students" who can watch but not participate) and a great book called "Do as I do" by Claudia Fugazza.

I started by using behaviors that Shyla already knew, like "spin" and "reverse" (walk backward). I'd have her do a sit-stay. Then I'd do the behavior myself. Obviously, it can't look exactly the same for me on two legs as for Shyla on four legs. However, that didn't seem to be a big problem.

After I did a facsimile of each behavior, I'd say "mimic" followed by her original cue for the behavior. So, for a spin, I'd say "mimic, spin". Over the course a week, I dropped the original cue ("spin") so I was saying only "mimic". We did that for three behaviors.

Then, I started trying it for other behaviors that she had done in the past. I'd act out the behavior, and then I'd say "mimic" without ever saying the cue that she knew already. This was a test of whether she was ready to generalize the word "mimic". She was ready.

Then, the big test - could she do it for behaviors that were novel to her? If you watch the video, you'll see a couple of novel behaviors - crawling backward and climbing onto a rehab donut with all four paws.

The funniest part may be watching me do these dog behaviors! We were camping for part of the time that I was teaching her this. I kept imagining that a stranger would think that I was a lunatic if they saw me on the ground doing "downs" and "backward crawls" as demonstrations for Shyla!

Here's the short video - please don't laugh at me too hard or I'll be embarrassed!

You may be thinking, "Well, that looks like fun but what is it useful for?". One answer is that fun is a great end unto itself! Another answer is that it gives me a new way to teach Shyla tricks. If it's a trick that I can demonstrate for her, I just say "mimic" after I do it. Then, I can gradually give the trick it's own unique cue.

What a fun way to teach a dog new tricks!

21 comments:

  1. she is soooooooooooo smart I just LOVE this!!!!! calling my hubby to come watch.... he just watched the bear video a few mintues ago...both of you did a super job

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  2. We love it☺ You are so smart, Shyla, and it was so much fun watching you and your mom work together!

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  3. That was amazing and sweet Shyla didn't miss a queue, bravo!!!

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  4. That's so awesome. The book I recently read, Why dogs love us, talked a little bit about this training with dogs.

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  5. The Fenzi podcast about this concept was so interesting! Not where we're at, but I love that people are working on this stuff.

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  6. Truly quite remarkable! Well done you two!

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  7. Another blog friend of mine had talked about taking that class at Fenzi, and at the time I had no idea what it was all about! I agree that training can be about nothing else other than having fun, and I'm very impressed with how Shyla did! I think Luke could do this too so we might try it some day.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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  8. The first word we thought of was FUN!

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  9. Shyla did great! The two of you are truly amazing!!

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  10. That was so fun to watch. May just have to give that a try here. Misty might be up for some fun:)

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  11. I love the video. Shyla is so smart. You are a great dog trainer. If I was one tenth the trainer you are my dogs might listen to me

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  12. That is truly amazing and a type of training I know nothing about. It makes so much sense. If the dog knows a hand signal or verbal command I can see how it might translate to a mimic. It would seem to bring you and the dog even closer in your relationship and for Shyla in building trust. Dogs do love to please. And if for no other reason, it looks like a good way to spend quality time together. Maybe even laugh a little. I love it. I might read up on this and give it a try. Lucy loves to do little things, even something as simple as to follow me off leash to the mailbox and sit/stay while I get the mail. When I release her from the sit/stay, she flies down the driveway so proud of herself. I think she would love this.

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  13. I am smiling ear to ear! that was totally awesome!
    hugs
    PugRanch Mom

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  14. WOW! I mean: WOW! I'm so impressed! I love this so much. At one point Shyla turned to the camera and had this look on her face: is she for real? But so fantastic. I really need to get back to working my two. You are an excellent trainer and an inspiration!

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  15. No laughing done here. Just delighted smiles! I loved watching... thanks for taking us along!

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  16. Wholly guacamole! That Shyla is one smart girl! And you are another. I am very impressed with the entire team!

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  17. That is absolutely amazing!!!!!! I love the relationship between the two of you - I can see the trust, the love, the respect. AWESOME!!!!
    KZK

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  18. Great video. It looks like you both had lots of fun learning this new way to learn.

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  19. THAT is amazing. No laughing here, I was grinning from ear to ear though, not in jest, but it was SO delightful. What a great way to tire her out when the weather is bad! I think I might have to try this with Delilah! Thank you SO much for sharing it.

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  20. What a smart dog, great video! Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

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