BARKS presents session details from PPG’s 2020 Summit and Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona
Presenter: Emily Larlham
Session Title: Foundation Training Skills to Prepare Dogs for Future Learning After Adoption
Session Type: Arizona Humane Society Workshop (1.5 Hours)
When working with a shelter dog, we always hope that the people adopting the dog will not only provide a safe loving home but also teach their dog skills to help him thrive and fit in with the family’s lifestyle. A skilled trainer can easily teach a dog new skills and complex behaviors even if the dog has the personality to become easily frustrated, over-aroused or perhaps is harder to motivate than most. However, a lot of the time, adopters who have the best intentions don’t have the best training skills. As such, we may see them struggling to keep their dog from barking, whining, or throwing 101 behaviors at them, but when the trainer takes over, the dog is suddenly the star pupil. Instead of trying to create amazing trainers out of each person who adopts a dog, the presenter believes it is a good idea to teach dogs certain skills and concepts to set them up for a lifetime of learning in a not-so-perfect world, where sometimes reinforcement will be slow in coming, too much will be asked of the dog, or the dog will have no clue what their handler wants.
In this workshop, the presenter will show how to lower or build arousal for reinforcement so that when the dog goes into his new home, he will not be revved up by training or, conversely, disinterested by it. She will discuss what behaviors are the best behaviors to train first depending on the dog’s personality. Dogs can become easily frustrated by the lack of information they are receiving from a new adopter and start to offer “dog behavior” when they do not know what to do. By teaching the dogs that when the handler is fumbling and distracted it is simply the cue to wait, it can save a lot of problem solving for the new adopter. Attendees will have the opportunity to work with the shelter dogs on teaching default behaviors.
The presenter believes one of the best ways to train new behaviors is by training in small achievable steps with a one-to-one rate of reinforcement. An adopter, however, might raise criteria too quickly while teaching a new behavior and have 5 incorrect responses before giving up and problem solving. The dog has offered 5 behaviors with no reinforcement…. For this reason, the presenter considers it important to teach shelter puppies and dogs the concept of working on a variable ratio of reinforcement right from the start, so that when there is a hiccup in a future training plan, the dog can take it in stride.
- Learn about building or lowering arousal for reinforcement used in training.
- Learn first behaviors to teach a shy vs. an overly enthusiastic dog.
- Teach default behaviors for waiting for a cue, waiting for reinforcement or for when confused about what is being asked.
- Teach working for duration and performing multiple behaviors without frustration before going to live with a newbie trainer.
PPG Summit 2020 will take place in Phoenix, Arizona and offer two unique programs:
Program 1: The Four-Day Summit
Program 2: The Four-Day Summit + Daily Off-Site Workshops at the Arizona Humane Society
Dates: Friday, September 18 – Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Event theme: Collaborative Care and Enrichment – Creating Partnerships for Positive Results