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 again...no 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!