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Discussion Starter #1
In American Schutzhund (AS) to obtain an AS 1 title there are three phases that test the dog.
Tracking has been replaced by an article search. The other phases (obedience and protection) are somewhat similar to the old IPO routines with the protection phase having more pressure in one part.

Here I am focused on teaching the Article Search for the AS 1.

In a trial there is an area marked off by plastic ribbon on two sides of a field. The field may have been walked on by people and dogs. The judge takes two articles and puts them in this field by walking out and tossing them somewhere inside that ribbon area. The dog has 9 minutes to find them. The find is shown by the dog laying down with the article between front legs. The dog may cross the ribbon but the handler know there are no articles to find past the ribbon. The handler must stay along the centerline other than to walk to the dog when the dog finds and pick up the article. After finding the first article, the dog stays in a down and the handler returns to the center line and then asks the dog to find the second article. Once the second article is found the test concludes with the handler leashing the dog and presenting the articles to the judge.

The dog typically casts back and forth in the field under hand signals and name plus voice commands. The object is this tests for hunt drive and biddability/directability of the dog.

I have been training this until the snow came. I need my dog to understand and practice hunting for things (directability). When he makes a find on grass, I go to him and reward heavily with some food (he loves deli buffalo chicken). Because he has a background in tracking he understands to indicate a find by lying down. Now we have snow.. so I needed to work but differently.

The issue has been he hunts too fast. He has been flying around and air scenting which causes misses and, while he eventually does find in the allotted time, we could really clean up the routine.

So, tonight I was throwing his ball and he lost it in the snow. I told him "find" and he hunted and hunted but again.. fast and frantic in style and he did not find it.

I brought him in and thought about it and thought, "He doesn't take this seriously.. he flies around and knows if the finds it he gets a reward. We need to make this a LOT more important to him and not increase drive which will make things MORE hectic and even faster.. Also, using the ball I can isolate the hunting behavior from the article indication behavior which is obedience.

...so... at dinner time I got out his raw food (he can't WAIT for dinner) and put in in four separate servings. I set it aside and went out in the snow and tossed two balls (he was in the house). They buried and vanished in the snow. THEN I got the dog and his food dish, took him outside and he was drooling... I told him to FIND his BALL. He went out and found it. I marked it. He got back and got 1/4 of his dinner. I set him up again with another bowl of food. Sent him to find.. and this was harder but he SLOWED DOWN because he made the connection.. "find ball - get dinner." He found it. I marked it. He got more dinner.

Next I took him out to where the previously lost ball was. This area was TRAMPLED by him and my other dog as they had looked for it before. I sent him to FIND it.. and man.. he went out and connected with my hand directions.. he SLOWED down and methodically searched. It took AWHILE but by golly he found it. I marked it and had a party and he got more dinner.

I put him in, took another ball and tossed that out... it vanished into the snow far from where we had been working. I went in and got him and his last bowl of food. Left the bowl in the yard and took him out.. and sent him to find. Well, he was slower moving, more methodical and that resulted in a VERY quick find and reward. DONE for the day.

In retrospect I think if I had not used this same method to teach the Dumbbell pick up and hold (here is your dinner next to me.. you want dinner you must hold the dumbbell) he probably would not have caught on to today's lesson as quickly. When we worked dumbbells (it was a long time ago) I used a clicker at first and small bits of dinner of raw chunks. That was how he got fed all his food for awhile. After he got the "hold" idea one day he decided "Nope. Not going to." Well, he got to see my take his bowl and put it in the refrigerator. I never will forget how he sat there looking at the refrigerator as I was walking away. I never had to do that again when using dinner to get what I wanted. He never forgot...

Anyway.. a successful day and use of the Premack Principle if you want to get all psychology about it. Basically you do what I want and then you get what you want.
 

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I'm not as smart as your dog because I don't understand how this works. In other words, originally he's getting a favorite food reward for the find, but he's too frantic in his search. Then he sees the possibility of 1/4 of his meal for a reward for the find, and it makes him take it seriously. Is the difference that you think he had the previous experience of getting nothing in the dumbbell training? Because he was expecting a frantic find might result in no reward? What I'm missing is what triggered the idea frantic find not wanted, not rewarded and serious find wanted and rewarded.
 

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I have a problem with making my dogs play a human-centric "game" in order to earn their daily ration of life-sustaining food. "If you don't play by MY rules, you go hungry." If we applied this same 'training' to human children, we'd find ourselves on the short end of a child abuse lawsuit.

Shrug. You do you & you do your dogs. My pups don't ever have to worry about going hungry because they didn't feel like playing my game today. And, yes, I totally understand that a dog will NOT die of starvation from missing one meal. I guess I'm just not that serious of a competitor & will not discount my dogs' feelings when deciding how far to push the card for training a game. You've mentioned before withholding food from a dog for up to 4 days in order to get compliance in your training. I simply can't comprehend that level of competitiveness & egocentric planning of a training regiment.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think the dinner bowl was it. It was close to dinner time.. and that is important to this dog.

The reward for the find is associated with the article and the position (lying down with article between front legs). So (I think) the goal of the article becomes intense.. the actual HUNT is diminished and becomes a bit hectic. He associates reward with the article indication but wasn't connecting that to hunting behavior (guessing here).

Now it is a ball he is hunting for. The ball itself is rewarding but DINNER is really important to this dog. So, he knows that getting the ball and bringing it to me (instead of lying down and indicating an article) is the path to dinner. Because the ball is hidden, he must hunt for it. The sooner he finds it, the sooner he gets dinner. This elevates hunting instead of elevating indication. I think.

I also think (lots more guessing) he remembers the dinner/dumbbell game (had to work on this a loooong time). He seemed to connect the dots for finding the ball in the snow when I brought dinner out like, "Oh I KNOW this game!" He became very careful and methodical instead of hectic.

His intensity to the hunt seemed almost "I must not lose dinner."

That last in conjecture on my part only because he forgets nothing. I may be giving his dig brain too much credit... Lol
 

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Discussion Starter #5
BKMuttleycrew no dinner was withheld today or with the Dumbbell.

Even the Dumbbell training it was put in the refrigerator for an hour. You assumed it was much longer. You did not ask. Dog is simply earning dinner much like NILF but focused on one behavior.

The other time you refer to was IPO tracking. The AS article search is not about IPO tracking.. it is quite different. The tracking deal you bring up from the past with my previous dog was a very different dog, a very different situation, a different training and a very different scenario. That dog loved to track and find. IPO tracking is largely an obedience exercise. She was smart, but disobedient. Food withheld created importance to her in the obedience part of tracking. It was never repeated. It did not need to be.

A different handler would have used electric or a prong collar and physical force. Slammed her around the track at every footstep. I have seen that. I do not train tracking that way. I never will.

I fully expect no matter how I train or what I train you will find a way to disapprove.
 

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Anyway.. a successful day and use of the Premack Principle if you want to get all psychology about it. Basically you do what I want and then you get what you want.
Removing a food bowl sounds a whole lot more like negative punishment to me. Which, needless to say, is still punishment.

P minus is the mechanism that degraded drive within your dog, sufficiently enough to allow him to make the find without the previous and unwanted frantic behaviour. You can dress it up as Premack under the guise of being "all psychology about it", but your success most likely came as the result of what it actually was ... punishment.
 

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Removing a food bowl sounds a whole lot more like negative punishment to me. Which, needless to say, is still punishment.

P minus is the mechanism that degraded drive within your dog, sufficiently enough to allow him to make the find without the previous and unwanted frantic behaviour. You can dress it up as Premack under the guise of being "all psychology about it", but your success most likely came as the result of what it actually was ... punishment.
Well, FWIW, the dog did not act like it was punishment. His tail position and body language were certainly "up" but not quite as frantic and disconnected. He had NO equipment on him and was not in a fenced area (no collar, no leash.. nothing). He very well could have quit the search (both times.. before I had a food bowl in my hand an after) at any point. He wants the ball. He wants dinner more. He must find and retrieve ball he wants and likes to get dinner which he also wants and likes and which was in plain view. Correct behavior was marked (when he found the ball).

I did not TAKE AWAY the food or the ball and I did not tell him to "out" the ball.. he let go when I gave him the food and that was his idea. If I had taken the food or ball away then it would be punishment. I had the food. He saw it and knew I had the. HE never lost the food. It was more like the trade game but the trade I was making was for what the dog viewed as very high value and a higher value than the ball, which has high value as well. Sort of like he traded a cookie 9high value) for a Hot Fudge Sundae (higher value).

If I had high value treats instead of the food bowl.. I am willing to bet it would then be viewed as Premack. Actually I could have had high value treats IN the food bowl (and sort of did as I had 1/4 of his RAW dinner in it.. and if it had not been RAW food I would have had it in my hand.. no bowl needed).

The same with the DB (Dumbbell) exercise in his past training. I was sitting on the coffee table. The food was in the bowl next to me. He wanted the food. I wanted him to hold the DB. To get the food, he had to hold the DB. IOW's "eat your peas and then get ice cream" which has been the Premack example touted for years.

I took nothing away UNTIL he simply did not take the DB on cue (which we had already done for a few days). THAT was clearly negative punishment as I removed the incentive and he watched me put the food in the refrigerator where it stayed for an hour and then we tried again and were successful.
 
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