Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How Do They Learn

I often wonder at how my dogs learn at all. I do understand the concepts of clicker training. I often set up a plan of attack. But I am constantly astounded at how my timing sucks, I don't train often enough, yet my dogs do learn. Dogs are amazing.

Each of my dogs has their own style. They are really different. The things that motivate them are different and the things that cause them stress are different.

Tazz is 5.5 years old. Can't believe he will be 6 in June. He learns at his own pace on his own terms. Tazz is alot about , what's in it for me. He doesn't really see the fun of learning new stuff. He is a bit lazy (might even take after me). If he gets confused at all, he doesn't want to play and will shut down. Tazz does have attention issues. He is easily distracted if he is not motivated. Sometimes the motivation takes over and he can't think about anything else. It is a fine line with my Tazz boy. Tazz is mostly motivated by food. On rare occasion, will work for a toy, but it is usually for a short time and if I try to work the toy too long, he will get stressed.
Maddie will tell you like it is. She is totally a clicker fanatic. The minute I bring out treats and a clicker she is trying all kinds of stuff. Endless energy. If I'm not fast enough or clear enough, boy do I hear about it. Maddie knows a number of tricks, and she is convinced that all tricks start with the ones she learned first. Maddie will NOT tolerate other dogs getting clicker trained if she is not also being trained. No patience. All about Maddie...NOW! Maddie works for food. She'll play, but never really learned that toys = reward = behavior.
Baby Fin also likes clicker training. She is a more thoughtful dog and sometimes sensitive. She enjoys learning and as long as I am clear, picks it up. If I confuse her, she will get frustrated and either bark or get stressed. She can be motivated by toys or food. When she is stressed will run around sniffy and ignore me. My job with Fin is to keep her engaged and watch her mental status to make it short and fun so she stays engaged.

Big Boy Rocks is all about the ball. He also will work for food and will get really excited about clicker training. He learns quickly and is a happy learner. He has improved with age as when he was younger was quite moody and distracted. As he has gotten older seems more inclined to learning new things and less stressed about it.

1 comment:

Trish said...

They each have their own way of teaching YOU new tricks too. Maddies is the best, but they all have it pretty figured out!