April 23, 2006

Training Plans

Jo Sermon has been reminding us of the importance of having training plans, so that we know just what, exactly, has been taught.

Melissa Alexander has usefully set out the steps in training various behaviours:


Cue: Initial cue - verbal "sit." Fully-shaped behavior will have a hand signal.

Description: On cue, Pax will drop into a competition-quality sit. Verbal will be used for non-competition situations, so a "sloppier" response is acceptable, though not encouraged.

  • Behavior specifics: Tucked, square.
  • Duration: Up to five minutes.
  • Distance: Respond to cue up to fifty feet away.
  • Latency: Immediate.
  • Position: Assume position from stand, down, or walk. Pax should not change his position
  • elative to me, except in specific situations where that is specifically trained. I should be able to be in any physical position.
  • Locations: Everywhere.
  • Distractions: Anything and everything. Especially distractions common in a dog show or performance environment. Must maintain the sit when being touched by strangers or sniffed by strange dogs.
  • Other: Must maintain even when I'm out of sight.

Training Plan: (Accomplish each level in multiple locations of gradually increasing distractions.)

  • Get the behavior.
  • Add the cue.
  • Shape for tucked.
  • Shaped for tucked and square.
  • Add the hand signal and proof.
  • Reduce latency.
  • Add duration of 15 seconds.
  • Add distance -- me leaving him while he maintains the sit - of 20 feet and out of sight.
  • Add distractions - holding sit while a ball (or bumper!) is thrown, while a dog or person walks past, while cars and other vehicles go by, when food is tossed, when a stranger comes up and touches him.
  • Increase duration.

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