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Discussion Starter #1
I made a video documenting our process of teaching our dog to greet visitors. The basic idea is as follows

1) train him to not bark at visitors by using frequent reinforcement when he is NOT barking
2) stay on his mat while I let people in
3) calmly walk towards people when I give him the release cue

The playlist below documents our session from Sunday. I apologize for the poor lighting.

Comments, suggestions, questions welcome.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL28163C88330E2CC2&feature=view_all
 

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I would break this down, and teach it in much smaller segments.

First order would be simply shaping the dog to go to his mat, completely on his own accord ... without any prompting, or body language from you. Once you have that behaviour good and solid, you can easily add a mock door knock as the cue, eventually transferring to the real thing.

That way, in the finished product, if you're sitting watching TV and someone calls ... BOOM ... your dog is instantly where you want him to be before you even stand up.


You can teach the other parts of the sequence seperately, and add them all together when ready.
 

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I agree with that. It's something I've thought about, but teaching a dog to do something when nobody is there vs. when he sees somebody at the front door is completely different. Eventually I'd like to get there, but on the rare chance we can get people over, we have to milk it for what it's worth. In short, I'm not as concerned about him going to his mat as much as I'm concerned about teaching him to not react violently when he sees people at the door. Whether he goes to his mat on his own or given a cue doesn't matter so much to me, as long as he goes there and stays there.
 

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I like it. It is so hard to make videos, and I think people learn better when they see mistakes, and how you correct them. "Perfect" training is never realistic, and I think people get less motivated when their dog doesn't obey perfectly, like they saw on that 30 min. TV show :)

He is definitely calmer.

For the purpose of showing others, you might take it the next step, as petpeeve suggested, and transfer the cue to the opening door (or knock at the door), as the signal to go to the mat... b/c I think other people would like to learn how to do that.

Also, if it is simple and you have dubbing tools, you might add a quiet narrative of what you're doing and what the dog is doing, and why.
 

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Thanks for the feedback, that's useful. My voice is boring and monotone, like Jamie from mythbusters, so it might make people fall asleep watching the video, but yes I definitely agree, spoken narrative will explain why I do what I do.

I think this would make more sense if I had video of his default behavior, from without any training. His default is to bark his head off and jump at the door. If you saw that video, it'd be more clear why the priority is to first condition him to people at the door than to do the automatic go to mat thing.

If I could control all of the variables my way, I'd have 10 people come over everyday and just knock without entering, and I'd condition him to that first before letting people in. As it is, that's a bit cumbersome asking people to do that, so I just work on it as a chain. It's not ideal, but based on the video evidence, it's able to work. As for how well it works, we'll see when a new set of people come over this week. If his initial response to somebody is calmer, then it shows he's learning.
 

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I like it. It is so hard to make videos, and I think people learn better when they see mistakes, and how you correct them. "Perfect" training is never realistic, and I think people get less motivated when their dog doesn't obey perfectly, like they saw on that 30 min. TV show :)

Eh, the more I watch the show, the less impressed I am. I see the same 3 techniques over and over and the same nonsensical descriptions of his methods. Plus, they have the benefit of video editing, slow motion, and emotional music.
 
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