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For my dog trainer course I have to train a dog to do a complex skill, and I have chosen to have Obi put an object in a push pedal bin.

The requirement is that he starts in the control position, walks over to the bin, opens it using the pedal, places object inside, and returns to control position. Once he's given the cue to do this behaviour, I'm not allowed to coax or lure or help him in any way.

I'd really like some tips on how to perfect this skill... We've been working on it, and he will open the bin using the pedal, but half the time he pushes it open with his nose, or he puts his foot on the pedal but helps open it with his nose.

I can get him to put any object in the bin when I've pinned it open, which is good, but getting him to open it and then put it in is proving tricky. Usually he will pick the object up and put it on top of the lid, and doesn't bother with trying to open it. I've been rewarding this because I see it as a step along the way. I've been jackpotting when he tries to put his foot on the pedal with the object in his mouth, and I've also gotten him to hold the pedal down while I put the object to his nose and then reward him for touching it as it's going in the bin.

Am I going about it the right way? I only have 6 weeks to complete the trick, and I'm getting a bit panicky that he's not catching on fast enough...
 

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I had to complete an exercise where my dog had to take a saucepan lid off,bring me the toy inside,then go back and put the lid back on.The lid back on was proving difficult,she d bring it me,take it back and chuck it up in the air"oh god knows what im supposed to do with it!"kind of thing!It took weeks before i hit on the idea of using a smaller lid that she could drop in,and id drop a treat in the pan as soon as she got close with the lid!Finally she understood!I wonder if you could drop a treat in the bin just before she gets there with the object?good luck,anyway!
 

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Could you use a post it note as a target? This is how I would approach it.

1. Get the dog to touch the note with a paw.
2. Touch note with paw and toy in mouth.
3. Place note in front of a box (to simulate a bin) and touch with paw.
4. Note in front of box and touch with paw with toy in mouth.
5. Note in front of box with toy in mouth and drop the toy (first reward near box then only in box)
6. Note on pedal of bin, touch with paw, progressively reward harder touches until bin opens consistently.
7. Note on pedal, toy in mouth, touch with paw.
8. Note on pedal, toy in mouth, touch with paw, drop toy in bin.
9. Gradually make the post it note smaller until you take it away.
 

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We've been working on it, and he will open the bin using the pedal, but half the time he pushes it open with his nose, or he puts his foot on the pedal but helps open it with his nose.

I can get him to put any object in the bin when I've pinned it open, which is good, but getting him to open it and then put it in is proving tricky. Usually he will pick the object up and put it on top of the lid, and doesn't bother with trying to open it.
Seems to me as if the 'opening' is where it becomes unglued. Exclude the remaining behaviours for the moment, and concentrate on performing THAT to absolute perfection. Reward correct responses heavily so that it eventually becomes the most salient link in the chain, in the dog's mind. The rest should then fall nicely into place, .. no pun intended.
 

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Nice work ! Looks like he got the general idea :cool:, but as I mentioned previously he maybe needs a stronger 'push' on the pedal to open to the lid more easily / completely with his foot. At times he's still using his nose to help bump it open. Remember the saying ... "be a splitter, not a lumper" ? So perhaps seperate out that combination foot and nose thing and work on the foot element alone, until he has a really FIRM push on the pedal with his foot only, every time.

Once he gets that part, put it all together and I'd say you're just about ready for primetime. :)


Also, I think an extension attached to the pedal itself may help to provide more leverage, by allowing geomerty and physics to work in his favour.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yep, we do need to do more work on the pedal. Will do some work on that this week. It already has an extension on it too, because the way it's built is a bit weird. All of the bins I looked at had the pedal the same way though. It wasn't until about last week I found one with a really nice pedal and really easy to open, but it was $30, and I didn't really want to spend that much on it. I'll do some work on the pedal, and if he's not getting it then I'll invest some money in an easier to open bin.
 
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