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Discussion Starter #1
During one shaping session, Wally grabbed the ball, shook it and "threw" it. I rewarded it, figuring it could be something to use later...in a more toned down way (fortunately, he only does it with soft things he likes to shake anyway, then he just decided to let it go while he was doing it and he was like shocked it went in the air!)

So in later sessions, I've been work on just this "throwing". I hold out until he shakes it and let's it go. Sometimes, he'll just shake it and put it down. Nope. Not what I want. If he gets like "DON'T YOU SEE ME EFFING SHAKING IT?" and then let's it go, mark/reward.

The first few times, he looked at me like "What did you just mark?" Of course, I don't say/do anything else just hand him his reward, and wait. You figure it out. You're the one getting shaped here, Wally.

Lately, he's been starting to get it a little more. One time before dinner, he threw the ball 3 feet, at least. (He was ready to eat and his dinner was just sitting there) I let him eat after that.

Then he's been sort of experimenting (?) with different "throws". I'm timing the click/marker to catch that mouth as soon after it opens. I don't want to wait until the ball is in the air (or should I and he's watching it - should I mark that instead and let him extrapolate how it got to that point from in his mouth, or is it best for now to click/mark the act of release?)

Some of the "throws" are straight up and down. Some are like he's trying to hit something with the ball, or throw a fastball. Right now, I'm taking all of them, since they all might be useful. Of course, this brings the question of how to teach him to perform each type of throw both on cue and/or to solve a problem, like get the ball in a bowl?

I've also been trying to get him to "follow" his "throws" so he can do another "throw". This would be helpful too so he tries again from whatever point. That seems like it would aid in solving a potential problem if the prior effort didn't get it done.
 

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I'm always amazed at what ya'll have done. Observations:
1. Shaking is a built-in, self-rewarding behavior - I doubt that Wally goes into prey mode, but you have to click when tossed...
2. Sometimes when things aren't working, you click/reward the dog for almost doing the right thing. It seems to reduce his frustration, and get him thinking toward the correct behavior.
3. I suggest that you click on release...keeping the shaping chain going, then fine-tuning the type of release, after he has that down.
4. After you successfully mark the reliable release, I'm not sure how you mark all of the possible 'correct' directions. I'm guessing that if you selectively reward and 'perfect' a throw to the left, that you can then go back and perfect a throw to the right, then one up, etc.
I think they'll be successively easier, but I don't know how you can teach both behaviors at the same time.
5.
4. It sounds like normal progress, b/c he is giving different behaviors, trying to elicit the click.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks :)

I don't know about prey mode, but I know he gets super hyper when I've been giving a really high-end reward and he's all trying to figure it out. :D I've been marking the releases, watching for those teeth letting go. I want him to get that I want the shake and especially the release. If he can start grabbing and tossing, that's cool too. I think the shake seems to give him the motion to get more distance, sort of like a wind up.

Yeah, directions - that's going to be a real doozy. Just regular "on the ground" directions with him walking is still something we need to work on, let alone something like this. Fortunately, we're not there yet, gives me more time to come up with/find/get ideas.

I've been pretty evil, making him to some throws right before eating. Tonight was some grilled pork roast and brown rice. He was going nuts trying to do anything to let him get the food LOL. When he grabbed the ball, he flipped it behind him and it rolled on his body the whole way before hitting the floor :eek: Probably couldn't do that again if he tried!
 

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Roll off the back would be such a cool Letterman trick to capture, unfortunately, you'd have to use sirloin as the reward....

Some dogs naturally toss balls for self-play... I've seen both young Labs and Pits toss a ball and then chase it, but haven't seen anyone try to capture that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've created a throwing addict!

He wants to throw anything I put on the floor now LOL.

I tried to review targeting with a post-it note and he promptly went over to it...and snatched up off the floor and "threw" it :D It looked funny, too, because he did it like he was mad at it for being on the floor LOL

Looks like he also forgot what it's really for. So I got the whole freaking pack and put it down. He put a paw on it and I quickly c/t LOL. He either remembered or that got him to just keep pawing.

There's that "take what I just learned and try it on everything" again! Time to get the "object is the cue" training going again. I.E. See ball? Throw, see Post-it? Paw.

He even threw the ball when we reviewed object names (been a LONG time, he still remembered 'pelota' = ball :) ). He just went to it and shook it all hard and sent it flying. He was watching it like he was admiring his pass or something LOL

I've been c/t for when the ball is on his back, btw. I don't know if this will ever work but it can't hurt to try.
 

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I'm sorry, but I don't believe that Wally can throw a ball :) ... I won't believe it until I see it .... please :) Post-it note, too ?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'm sorry, but I don't believe that Wally can throw a ball :) ... I won't believe it until I see it .... please :) Post-it note, too ?
I woke him up so I can make this video. He didn't throw the Post-it too good this time (I think he thought I was trying to trick him), but he was all over the ball once I got his brain out of "isn't it too early for me to be awake? It's still dark out" mode.

 

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Thank you!!! That is so awesome! I've seen lots of dogs - Labs and Pits - throw balls in the backyard to amuse themselves, but nver really on cue like this. Wally is so calm and intelligent! ... Border Collies have nothing on him.

I like the way he tries to "teach" you to give him a treat, when you ask him to throw the Post-It note, but he throws the ball (around 1:27), then looks expectantly :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
:) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Yeah, he does that a lot with the "wasn't that close enough?" type look :D

He didn't have that psycho look, thankfully :) Just the "I'm ready" french face look.
 

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OK, that video was just super-cute ! :D

I especially liked the one throw at ~ 1:33 in particular, where the ball seemed to "roll" over his head and down his back. Kinda reminded me of the ol' Harlem Globetrotters trick, lol.

Hey. If it turns out he doesn't make the Cubbies roster, then .....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
:D

Yep, that's the throw I've been trying to specifically capture, but not sure quite how to go about it, especially with something like this being basically an instantaneous action. It seems I'll have to capture the exact angle of how he releases it some kind of way to get him to just do that release consistently and then maybe put a separate cue on it (no idea on what it would be). Almost like if I wanted to teach on separate cues a "high jump" a "medium jump" and a "low jump".

Trying to come up with a way to teach him "adverbs", i.e. modifying learned behaviors by modifying a quality of that behavior instead of turning it into a separate new behavior or chain. Been trying to think of a good way to do that for a while now.
 
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