Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Training with Beers (Part 1)

I've decided to practice my clicker training and try to teach Winnie to fetch me a beer.

Hey, they're cheaper than birds! Plus, I'll be honest, I'm hardly ever mowing the lawn and sweating, wishing someone could run inside and grab me a cool, refreshing chukar.

A quick search on YouTube confirms that many dogs are taught this trick. Though I couldn't find any instructional advice. That's okay though, even though I'm very new to clicker training, I understand the basic principles. I think we can do it. (Disclaimer: I tried this years ago with my German Shorthaired Pointer. It didn't go well, and after consuming several of the retrieval subjects we both lost interest. But that was before I knew about clicker training!)

In Part 1 above you can see it really click (pardon the far too obvious pun) and when she realizes that touching the top of the can with her nose is the behavior that gets a click and reward, I can hardly reward her fast enough! Two sessions of about five minutes each got us to this point. Next I'll try and see if I can get her to pick up the can. Stay tuned!


Laila said...

Winnie, after all of that hard work, you deserve a nice cold beer (yummy, yummy!). Just make sure your dad gives you a new one because that one got knocked over a little.


Ed. said...

Yeah that one got all slimy and shaken up and has fur all over it!

Her and Gromit watching it roll away is my favorite part of that video. I had to leave that in!

hwvizsla said...

Excellent start Ed! Now start to raise your criteria before clicking (ie.she must mouth or attempt to pick up the beer before you click).Be really patient and let her "think" and try things to work it out for herself. And since she already knows the "fetch" command, if she gets stuck... its ok to use that word to prompt her a little.
She will progress rapidly once she does the "pick up" part. Nice job so far!

Anonymous said...

OMG Ed, you are too much!!! Winnie sure does know what the click means!! Isn't clicker training wonderfull...and with those results 'YOU' will be rewarded for your hard work(with the beer)!!!!, and Winnie looks like she is enjoying her rewards!

Ed. said...

Carolyn, thank you. Regarding raising the criteria, I got a glimpse of that yesterday. At one point she touched the can with her paw and I rewarded her. But then next time she started batting the can around I decided I didn't want that to "count," so I didn't click. She immediately went back to the nose touch and was even more deliberate at that point. Really neat to watch.

Ed. said...

That's right, Chris. It's about time *I* got rewarded for my hard work with her!! :) This was accidental because Gromit simply can't be contained in any way, but with him being there, I think Winnie was even more attentive to the treats she was getting. A little competition goes a long way!