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How do you introduce new cues to existing, learned behaviors

  • New cue->Known cue->Reward behavior

    Votes: 6 46.2%
  • Known cue->New cue->Reward behavior

    Votes: 6 46.2%
  • Both in various situations (please share details)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Another way/different method (please share details)

    Votes: 1 7.7%
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Discussion Starter #1
Trying to teach the whistle cues makes made me think of this again.

Got to thinking - which way of introducing a new cue/signal to an existing behavior with an already known cue/signal is best?

Which way do you use?

Giving the new cue, then the existing one, then reward the completed behavior? Or do you go with the existing cue to start the behavior, then give the new cue, then reward the behavior?

Do you use both in different situations (perhaps some behaviors work best or some dogs learn better in some situations with one way but then the other works better in some situations)?

Curious to see how other dog/human teams handle this. :)
 

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Known cue-new cue-reward behavior.

I have also noticed in my training that this takes place when using nicknames on dogs. Example ..... Call "Leeo" ... add a name "Eepie Doobles" ... reward. After a while they respond to both names. Same with whistling. If I would whistle first they would only respond when they were near ... when further away they think it is a bird outside! lol! Yes ... I am very primitive in thinking at times ... but hey ... it works for me. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Known cue-new cue-reward behavior.

I have also noticed in my training that this takes place when using nicknames on dogs. Example ..... Call "Leeo" ... add a name "Eepie Doobles" ... reward. After a while they respond to both names. Same with whistling. If I would whistle first they would only respond when they were near ... when further away they think it is a bird outside! lol! Yes ... I am very primitive in thinking at times ... but hey ... it works for me. :D
That's the behavior I'm noticing from Wally as well. If he can see me, the whistle cue has a chance of prompting the behavior, but if I'm out of sight - he's probably waiting for the cue he actually knows (ironically, I don't even remember teaching these other ones formally LOL - like snapping fingers - I have no idea when that started working as a recall or why)
 

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The new cue always goes before the old cue. If, for example, I have a dog who knows the hand signal for sit and I want to teach a verbal cue, I would always give the new verbal cue, pause just for a second, then give the known hand signal. Most dogs pick it up very, very quickly, and within a session or two you will suddenly have the dog sit at just the verbal, before you even get the chance to give the hand signal.

"Hm, Mom always says that word, then gives me my signal to sit - I bet if I sit when she says that word, I can get my reward even faster!"

It's the same reason you never want to give two cues in a row all the time - if you routinely ask your dog to sit, then ask them to down, then very quickly your sit cue actually becomes a down cue.

"Hm, Mom always asks me to sit, then asks me do down - I bet if I down when she asks me to sit, I can get my reward even faster!"

I'm sure you could do it the other way, if you really wanted to, but it would be much slower.
 

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I agree. New cue, wait a moment (poor confused dog :) ), Old cue as a hint, then reward.... incrementally increase the wait and phase out the old cue.... Be careful that you haven't been giving Wally lots of 'old' visual cues simultaneously :)
 

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That's the behavior I'm noticing from Wally as well. If he can see me, the whistle cue has a chance of prompting the behavior, but if I'm out of sight - he's probably waiting for the cue he actually knows (ironically, I don't even remember teaching these other ones formally LOL - like snapping fingers - I have no idea when that started working as a recall or why)
I wonder what he's seeing that is missing when you are out of sight.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I wonder what he's seeing that is missing when you are out of sight.
Yeah, I'm trying to figure that out too. One interesting thing when I tried showing it to my mom is Wally kept looking at HER as if she was supposed to do something. He picked up on something somewhere...

Maybe he picked up on the whistle leaving my mouth? That's his cue that the 'signal is complete' so he can then act? Ugh, dang observant dog.

One thing I thought about was doing it during retrieving/fetching. Make it a part of the game. Give the whistle cue right as he's about to come back and then reward him and go again as per usual. Maybe he can grasp it that way. Teaching via a game has worked before so maybe that can help here.
 

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I've only ever used new cue -> known cue, I was told that's the way to do it, and it works, so I never though to experiment with it. I might try known cue -> new cue just to see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've only ever used new cue -> known cue, I was told that's the way to do it, and it works, so I never though to experiment with it. I might try known cue -> new cue just to see what happens.
Yep, same here - always heard that's how you do it and it's how I've done it ever since.
 

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I think it really depends on what I'm teaching but I think more recently I've been using new cue+hand signal (and at the same time).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think it really depends on what I'm teaching but I think more recently I've been using new cue+hand signal (and at the same time).
Ahh - presenting both at the same time. Interesting approach. I will definitely have to try that.

BTW, very interesting poll results - pretty much split down the middle :)
 

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See, I was taught that you absolutely should NOT use them at the same time because the dog is likely to just follow the cue it already knows rather than actually paying attention to or learning the new cue. I'm sure that different dogs are different, but I see the logic in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
See, I was taught that you absolutely should NOT use them at the same time because the dog is likely to just follow the cue it already knows rather than actually paying attention to or learning the new cue. I'm sure that different dogs are different, but I see the logic in it.
Yeah, I can see it both ways. Like you said, the dog can just wait for the already known cue, but I can also see that the dog could more easily pair the two. In fact, I think with the new->old way, he was waiting for the known signal. That might be why this fell apart completely (instead of partly, heh) when I'm out of sight. He wasn't pairing the three tweets with the new cue, he was thinking the signal was tweet-tweet-tweet-hand signal for front.

When I tried the at-the-same-time approach last night, I think he may be getting a little more of an idea when I tried it at the same time. I say that because of how he changed what mistakes he was making (he's trying to pick up on what the new signal is I think, he's like I know SOMETHING is different, but what is it that's letting me do what I know?). At first he would move with me instead of stay put, then he wouldn't move with the whistle, and now he's moving on the wrong tweet. That seems to tell me he's getting that the whistle is what the new signal is for recall, so now I need to tell him when the signal is over.

I started getting that last mistake when doing it at the same time. So I'm thinking that if I delay the "simultaneous presentation" of the known cue to the third tweet, it might get him to understand the whole signal is three tweets.

If this works, I might have found a different way to explain further signals on the whistle (because I'm totally going to morse code this dog now LOL). Could be a way for me to get him to understand the stay cue on the whistle in various situations (present the signal for stay at the same time as the loooooong tweet after "a long time" to try to start getting in his head the length of the tweet matters, too).

Of course, the question is then - why is he learning differently with the whistle? But that's for another thread :D
 

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See, I was taught that you absolutely should NOT use them at the same time because the dog is likely to just follow the cue it already knows rather than actually paying attention to or learning the new cue. I'm sure that different dogs are different, but I see the logic in it.
I get what you're saying... I think I had a very specific example in mind when I wrote this. I wanted to turn Soro's spin command ("Spin") into "Confundo." But spinning is also cued by me moving my finger in a circle. So I would just do that and say "Confundo."

But looking back on KB's post I would now suggest starting from scratch and reteaching recall with the whistle rather than trying to move it over from another cue (snapping fingers?). I mean, Wally is as bright as they get so he'll figure it out eventually.

"At first he would move with me instead of stay put, then he wouldn't move with the whistle, and now he's moving on the wrong tweet. That seems to tell me he's getting that the whistle is what the new signal is for recall, so now I need to tell him when the signal is over."

But it takes more work to fix the sloppy bits in the middle than it does to teach it 'right' on the first go.
 
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