Thursday, January 28, 2010

101 Things to Do With A Box

Paris is a quick study and so fun to do shaping with. She learned quickly to place only her front feet on a small box. Our ultimate goal is to have her walk around the box with her front feet on the box.
After having great success in the feet on I stopped reinforcing the behavior in hopes of getting her to move around the box, what I got instead was a good glimpse of Paris's creative mind.
She offered me the following behaviors in hope of a click treat!
She placed her back feet on the box
She placed one back foot then the other back foot on the box
She stood with all four feet on the box (which had her balancing)
She sat on the box with all of her butt and feet on the box
She sat on the box with her feet on the floor in front of her
She put on front foot on
She put a front and a back foot on the box...
She tried to no avail to get that click treat.
Finally I moved a wee bit while her front feet were on the box and she moved with me, keeping her front feet on the box so I of coure gave her the +R she so wanted.
After 15 minutes of working (and entertaining me) Paris was able to move about 1/4 of the way around the box.
Always a project my Paris!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It has been a long time!

We have been busy busy and so have not taken the time to blog, but the goal is to get back at it for 2010. Not only does it keep you up-to-date, entertained and with any luck inspired, it keeps me on track and forces me to keep training and working our problem areas, better our ok spots and to excel where were are already ahead of the game.
Paris has been working on the shaping game. As part of my course work for the Companion Animal Sciences Institute, I was to come up with a behavior to shape in an animal. We picked a "fun" activity; shaping Paris to place her front feet on a "box" and walk around it-much like the old circus elephant trick.
Paris began her shaping with a target on the floor. Our targets are the lids from butter containers and fun treats.
We started like this. A treat was originally placed on the target and when Paris went to eat it she got a click and I tossed another treat for her away from the target. I replaced the target treat for the first 5 or so attempts than Paris was on her own to "do something" with the target. Being the smart girl she is, she immediately went over and placed her nose on the target resulting in a click and tossed treat. Once she had this under control we moved the target to the box.
Now with the target on the box, Paris again received her click - treat for touching her nose to the target. As she was doing this well, the target was removed after 10 successes.
The absence of the target made no difference to Paris she just targeted the box repeatedly. Each time she successfully touched the target with her nose she got a click and the treat tossed away from the box. I ceased this reinforcement upon 15 successes.
Now Paris had to think about how to get the click-treat. She began offering behaviors IMMEDIATELY when it did not work to touch with her nose. The first behavior she gave was to place a foot on the box-CLICK TREAT! GOOD GIRL! So a foot it was. She worked for a total of 15 reinforcements...
Now to up the ante more CT for a foot. Paris walked away from the box, than jogged over to it essentially running across it. Here is where quick timing pays off! I managed to click as her front feet hit it and tossed the treat. She only ran across the box a total of 3 times before simply putting her front feet on it and looking at me. YES! CLICK-TREAT! GOOD GIRL!
So in 15 short minutes Paris went from a target on the floor to two front feet on the box. Success-- we packed up our clicker, treats and box for the night!
Good Girl Paris!