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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was doing some training with the blue boundary again, getting him to paw it and such to keep working with him looking at it, etc.

The session was "one slice of bread long" (I measure sessions in food, big whoop, wanna fight about it? :p) and about halfway through, I noticed him looking at other things to paw, but not just that, seems like he was looking for small details or something.

Here's what the area looks like (including Wally wondering why I'm bothering with the camera and not keeping the game going - and, he got on the rug on his own - I love it :D ):



I noticed him looking at the wall trying to figure out what to paw. He'd paw the corner of the wall. Nose touch some area like he's guessing "is this where I touch?" (is it because, to him, the shadows made the color look different so he thought it was a place to touch?). He pawed the intake vent (slightly visible on the right) on the side wall, but not just the vent - it was like he tried to paw an individual slot (tentatively - he wasn't sure about how it would feel LOL). On the floor, he'd be looking at the floor like he's trying to figure out just which one of those shades of brown to touch and he'd move his pawing around like he's trying to get the spot exactly.

He noticed the corners of the other side, the molding on the base of the wall - he looked at it and decided that's NOT what he's supposed to paw. He really was into the floor and he was getting precise about the boundary. I'd (of course) go along with it, and I saw him angle his body to try to get his whole paw on the boundary to paw it. Then that led to him putting his paw on it like a target and then laying down (which I rewarded, of course!)

But that floor thing...that just was like "What is he trying to do?".

I noticed him doing to the rugs, too, especially multicolored ones. Is he trying to find the edges, trying to claw it up? Is he really trying to do something with the various shades of brown? Can he see where the tape overlaps (the boundary is three strips of blue electrical tape somewhat overlapped) and that's what he's trying to get at? What is it with the corners? Why did he nose poke and paw at the corner of the wall?

What concept do you think he was trying to figure out? Maybe it's me overthinking, but that seems like a weird "jump" to go from pawing a blue thing on the floor to the corner of a brownish wall...it's like "Oh! Things have edges! Let me find the edges! Maybe that's it!"

Oh, and, yeah, he pulled up those curled up edges. One day, he's just going to grab one and pull the whole strip up...I just know it...and maybe that's why I haven't fixed it! And, no, that's not the only area he paws :)

I'm always freaking my mom out with Wally. Once she saw behavioral adduction at work (she had a piece of meat up and he would stand up on back paws to try to get it, then she'd quickly move it to the floor - after about five times of that, Wally starting standing up on back paws, but then sit, but keep his front paws raised up, combining both behaviors into another one he also knows and rewarded for), that just floored her. She's always amazed at how he's thinking to try to reach something or how he'll try to time things or know where something probably went without seeing it go there, etc.
 

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Dogs physically see differently than we do, and it's not just the colour thing. They see at a higher frame rate. Their vision evolved for predation, which is very different from what we use our vision for.

So, yes, Wally could be picking up on edges or minute shadowing differences that you physically don't see. Since you train such specialized behaviors, the differences in vision might be affecting things. (As opposed to me teaching basics, which could be done blind.)
 

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It seems like he may be looking for specific patterns/details.

I'm not sure how you're training it all, but Emily Larlham has great videos about creating an invisible barrier. Unless you always want to have the tape, something like this may work better.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The tape is mostly to give him a "landmark" for now. The old floor back when I first taught this had a "natural change" because it was different. Now, the whole bottom floor is all the same, so it's harder for him to grasp when he's gone "too far".

Outside - he gets it because, again, natural changes (grass + curb + street = I stop - interesting she calls this invisible - I think it's VERY visible? gray + black + brown/whatever green is to dogs + textural difference + height differences?). Does it like a champ. In the basement - my room has blue throw rugs (color because he can see it) along with a big red (can't see red, but he knows it's there probably from the shape/texture) round rug near his crate.

Now the all grass - and having him understand still a barrier - that's close to the scenario.

I would just use the rug (and probably will), but that's still different and he claws at it like the tape LOL. Then he bites it and then tries to pick it up and that's going towards something else I want to teach :D

Thanks for sharing! :)

Of course...I could get that "nose the corner of the wall" behavior again...if he can use the corner as a landmark...
 

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I think you're "over-thinking." Wally doesn't 'know' so he's doing what clicker-trained dogs do, he's 'guessing' "Am I hot or cold?"

I think you will make it easier by continuing to click for correct and ignore incorrect, give him enough examples to discriminate, and let him figure it out ... then help him out with more examples, if he figures it out wrong....

I believe this is just a more advanced example of when dogs first learn Sit and Down, and confuse them at first....
 

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Also, Wally is the cutest little fluff ball ever, and I for one do not get enough Wally pictures in my life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good lord, he did that "pawing some different shade" thing again. This time on a multi-color carpet.

I swear he's looking intently at the spot, pawing at it with a few jabs, then he'll look at paw a little different place.

It's like he makes the carpet/rug "change color" (his pawing move the knapp on the rug so the color changes) and then he's pawing it again, etc.

Either that or he's trying to "find the edge" so he can pull the rug up because he loves doing that now. Especially as a "HEY, DON'T YOU SEE ME OFFERING YOU THINGS!!!!!" type behavior. The jabs might be to see if the rug comes up.

I know he's doing SOMETHING with that pawing motion. Just wish I could grasp what it is so I can use it or at least try to understand what he's thinking...is he thinking the seems where the color changes should be an edge and he's baffled as to why it's not coming up? It sounds like a stretch, but he learned to stop before any street because of the grass-curb-asphalt color pattern...

But he's stopping at the blue line a lot better - even when I'm running down the hall with fresh beef treat his eyes glaze over for. I know, I'm so bad, getting him wound up, excited, downright crazy, then make him use self-control :p Not my fault he's an awesome worker and psyched out of his mind :D
 

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my theory is that when you cant tell what he is pawing at, it catches your interest so you focus harder that can act as a hint or reenforcer, but since he didnt actually get the que for being correct he gets cofused and like most dogs when confused repeat the last attempt. near ques is a possibility since you work with your dog a lot he has gotten better at reading you. maybe picking up signals your not aware your providing. such as held breath, or slight lean forward. I'm just spitballing here but you get where I am leading.

dogs learn to anticipate commands so if you for example: lean slightly forward before clicks or rewards, your leaning forward in curiousity could be considered an almost and confuse him.

or it could be any one of a thousand other things. but its always fun to theorize when we arent sure.
 

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We know that he knows colors and is learning boundaries. I don't think that I'd reward the carpet nap color change, just too confusing. Plus he may be triggering on texture change ... and dogs may be able to discern some textures differences better than we can. Not sure, but I think their grey scale is better than ours, and their motion sensors are better. Keep teaching Wally his colors, regardless :)

On a different note, Shep was making progress with [Soro's] Ring and Peg... Now he's lost interest... possibly for a few reasons -
1. I may have badly poisoned the activity or the clicker - Shep was excited, took a treat after I clicked, and nipped me on the fingernail bed. When I said Ouch! he had a bad reaction, as if I had slapped him, and he wanted to stop then go outside to escape the activity (not me...)
2. OR ... the temperature is getting hotter and I think that his arthritis is acting up.... and he mainly wants to lie down... It may be time for Rimadyl or some other pain killers... Walking him once seems to help ... Walking him three times may have been too much...
 
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