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Leo's First Lessons

Introduction to Platform Training

Introduction to the Front Foot Platform


{ Betti Gefecht } at: August 25, 2011 at 4:09 AM said...

Can't stop watching!!! =D

{ Livindol } at: August 25, 2011 at 5:27 AM said...

I love him..

{ Elletee } at: August 25, 2011 at 12:34 PM said...

Question please Miss Mal..... I know absolutely nothing about dog training.....

Are the lessons here designed really to teach him to stand on those platforms for some reason, or are they to teach him that if he does what is wanted of him, he gets a click noise and a treat?

{ mostly a lurker } at: August 26, 2011 at 4:35 PM said...

Hi Elletee, thanks for the question!

Leslie (my trainer and the one in this video with Leo) uses a very different paradigm in training her dogs than other organizations I'm familiar with.

First off, notice that there is no correction when he does something she doesn't want, only reward when he does the behavior she does want. You'll not hear her say "no."

Also note that he's not on a lead or restrained in any way, nor does she use force or lure to put him into a position.

The flat platform is there to denote an area for him. It's a way to gradually train him proper position and placement with regard to a human body. Collies in particular want to look into a human's face, so they naturally want to stand facing her, as he does here. He's also a retiring show dog, so that behavior has already been encouraged.

However, for service work, he needs to stand to one side or the other of his partner, and she will gradually work him to where he is comfortable at her side.

Both platforms, but more specifically the front foot platform teaches him to be aware of his feet. Dogs are generally not aware of their back feet/rear end unless encouraged to do so. With the front feet platform, she is teaching him to be aware of his back feet, but also how to position his rear end without moving his front end.

Watch carefully as she slightly repositions her body to make him change his into the alignment she wants. When he does, he gets the reward of click/treat. When he doesn't, he's met with silence and has to try something else to earn the reward.

She wants her dogs to think for themselves, to sort out what's needed from them and volunteer behaviors. When they do, and it's proper/useful, they get rewarded so they build confidence and try more things, rather than simply following commands by rote.

This way, when they're in service, they're more likely to intuit a need of their partner that might arise that's outside the bounds of their training.

Make sense?
Did I answer your question fully?

Watch the puppy videos for more of this technique – once they get the game with two paws, she stops rewarding them so they'll try something else, like 3-4 paws. Nell is a particularly excellent example of this as she demands a reward when she thinks she has it, but doesn't, then works to figure out what she has to do that will earn her the reward when Leslie ups the game.

{ Elletee } at: August 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM said...

Mostly, thank you.

Why the clicks though?

{ mostly a lurker } at: August 26, 2011 at 7:11 PM said...

I don't honestly know. I do know clicker training is a popular training method in general. (Peter's training included a clicker, as did my mom's companion dog.) And it's only used in training, not later or in service, so at some point it's phased out.

If anyone knows the reason, please add a comment because I'd like to know, too!

{ Mingo } at: August 27, 2011 at 8:04 AM said...

What a beautiful dog. I have never owned a dog, and am intrigued by the videos that you have posted thus far. My family is talking about getting a golden retriever fairly soon, so I'm watching the training videos with interest because although I know that it is a completely different type of training, it's very interesting watching a dog trainer at work.

I am going to send the link to my sister though as she has a Blue Merle Collie.

Fascinating :)

{ Fantasymother } at: September 18, 2011 at 4:06 PM said...

The clicker is immediate feedback for the animal, telling them they've done something correctly and that a treat is about to follow. Because you can hit that clicker very quickly it allows the animal immediate recognition of the correct behavior.

Clicker training was originally developed for training dolphins. It's since moved on to training dogs and horses. I've used clicker training when I had horses. I've a very effective positive-reinforcement training technique.

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