Monday, April 02, 2012

Setting Criteria

As I watch the hours of Webb footage I took I am struck by the need to pick what you want to reward then follow through.

If I watch a dog run and I'm not sure what is earning the reward I wonder how the dog can have a clue. I noticed that even as I am filming I tend to whisper good dog when I see something I like. Drive, contacts, sweet weaving, staying with a handler, start line stay or moving away nicely - the what doesn't matter but the positive feedback does.

It ties to the concept of making errors. If a dog is set up for success every time they do something how can they learn how to deal with an error - or even what an error is? Webb won't let a dog fail more than twice without changing things up a little but mistakes are important. I have always felt errors of enthusiasm were a good thing and now I understand more of the reasons for my belief. Without the ability to make mistakes and learn from them true, complete learning isn't going to happen. 

Without rewarding for criteria with young/green dogs and regular reminders for every dog it's going to be awfully hard to maintain criteria.

Without setting criteria you are way way behind the 8 ball!


Sara said...

I was terribly lax in setting criteria for Oreo. With Chewy, I see its importance, but still have a hard time not rewarding EVERYTHING. I had to with oreo, or he would go into stress mode. Old routines are hard to break.

I just read an article in an educational magazine that listed a bunch of very successful people...all of whom seriously messed up a few times.

The point was, mistakes aren't a bad thing, they are GOOD!

andrea said...

Sara you are so bang on as always - and if you are going to err on one side or the other I personally err on the over rewarding side - I think it's much more motivating for the dog! (and me truth be told)