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    1. #1
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      Hillmann Traffic Cop Update

      We're now doing bumper/duck tosses land and water with a hey-hey. She's staying right by my side. So far so good. The next stage, according to the DVD will be a shot and toss. I might add an extra step with a Dogtra duck-quack that always juices her up. (It's the electronic release box that normally goes with a Zinger-Winger.) Then when that is working, the quack and a shot.

      Hillmann says if you're doing Traffic Cop because you've got a "self-employed, independent contractor" for a dog, it will take thousands of repetitions to get their SIT fixed. I've calculated we're around 1500 by now.

      On these hot summer days we're in the park before 8:00 AM and evening after 6:00 PM doing drills designed to sharpen line behavior. Heel-No-Here-Push-Pull etc. She's getting sharper and sharper. She front-ends me, but knows she has to put herself in Nose-over-Toes position before she can go. So she's adjusting herself. Maybe soon she'll just naturally assume the right position.

      So tedious. It's all stuff she knows but she knows to do them with the pro. I didn't realize she and I would have to start from scratch getting it together to work as a team.

      But it's working. (Big sigh!)

    2. #2
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      I still don't understand how the e-collar in this program is positive reinforcement. If he were buzzing and then rewarding with food, maybe? You could use a clicker in the same way. I watched the video once a while back (borrowed from a friend) and recently watched part of it online (it was like a preview or something). I don't think it is positive reinforcement, definitely not +R training, but adding an additional link to the behavior chain that hopefully makes the dog pause and think after you say "sit". Asking the dog to sit over and over when he is already sitting is weird to me; not something I'd personally do in training.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's working for you! I do like that he is taking the sit out of the marks (not lumping) and slowly working toward difficulty, which is a +R method and a smart way of training that a lot of people don't use (instead of people overfacing their dogs and lumping then punishing them for not being able to perform).

    3. #3
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      You could be right. To tell you the truth, I've read the +R, -R, +P, -P QRSTUV stuff and I understand it when I'm looking at the page (that is to say it makes good sense as a learning construct) but after that... pffft. Right out of my head.* So, I am inclined to agree with you, or certainly defer to you.

      Here is why it might be +R, but I don't know. Rocket Dog is insane to retrieve. She MUST run. She MUST snatch what she's looking at up in her mouth. She MUST deliver so that she can run and snatch the next thing. She wants to do that more than she wants to breathe. It is undiluted joy for her. So... (here is where Hillmann might fit into the +R category) when RD figured out that the vibration meant that she was doing the right thing and that doing the right thing would result in a retrieve... I saw her begin to relax and be less panicky.

      She was breaking because, in my simple minded way of thinking, she figured she better get the bird quick because ultimately I might not let her. Rather than take the chance on being deprived... BOOM. She was gone. NOW, using this method, she's like... "Oh, cool! Really good stuff (the retrieve) happens when I'm getting the buzz."

      Would connecting the buzz with this powerful reward (release/retrieve) classify as +R?

      If you recall, I once tried to describe how I'd never feel confident I had the timing right with the clicker or the cookie to really follow some of the +R demos I've seen. Motor moron here. Since the timing between buzz and release/retrieve is not immediate... maybe that disqualifies the Hillmann method to true +R status. But, ultimately, I see it as more similar to +R than the other categories (to the degree that I understand them.)

      It sure does have one thing in common with +R. It's incremental and tedious! And you absolutely cannot give in to frustration.

      * BTW. Evan Graham does a really good job of explaining the meaning of +R, -R, +P, -P. I think if I got his DVD out again and listened carefully to it, I'd get it.

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      You could be right. To tell you the truth, I've read the +R, -R, +P, -P QRSTUV stuff and I understand it when I'm looking at the page (that is to say it makes good sense as a learning construct) but after that... pffft. Right out of my head.* So, I am inclined to agree with you, or certainly defer to you.

      Here is why it might be +R, but I don't know. Rocket Dog is insane to retrieve. She MUST run. She MUST snatch what she's looking at up in her mouth. She MUST deliver so that she can run and snatch the next thing. She wants to do that more than she wants to breathe. It is undiluted joy for her. So... (here is where Hillmann might fit into the +R category) when RD figured out that the vibration meant that she was doing the right thing and that doing the right thing would result in a retrieve... I saw her begin to relax and be less panicky.

      She was breaking because, in my simple minded way of thinking, she figured she better get the bird quick because ultimately I might not let her. Rather than take the chance on being deprived... BOOM. She was gone. NOW, using this method, she's like... "Oh, cool! Really good stuff (the retrieve) happens when I'm getting the buzz."

      Would connecting the buzz with this powerful reward (release/retrieve) classify as +R?

      If you recall, I once tried to describe how I'd never feel confident I had the timing right with the clicker or the cookie to really follow some of the +R demos I've seen. Motor moron here. Since the timing between buzz and release/retrieve is not immediate... maybe that disqualifies the Hillmann method to true +R status. But, ultimately, I see it as more similar to +R than the other categories (to the degree that I understand them.)

      It sure does have one thing in common with +R. It's incremental and tedious! And you absolutely cannot give in to frustration.

      * BTW. Evan Graham does a really good job of explaining the meaning of +R, -R, +P, -P. I think if I got his DVD out again and listened carefully to it, I'd get it.
      I did not see in the video that he was saying sit, buzz, retrieve. I felt like there was no clear path for the dog to receive the reward, in fact. It was sit, buzz, sit, buzz, sit, buzz, pat, sit, buzz, good dog, sit, buzz, sit, buzz, sit, buzz...retrieve. I was confused and this is where I don't get that the e-collar is tied to the reward (retrieve). If it was sit, buzz, retrieve...then yes, it's +R as long as the e-collar was not adversive to THAT dog and the retrieve was rewarding to THAT dog. You never click, wait, reward. The click is the precursor to the reward. You can wait between the cue and the click for a behavior like a hold, stay, etc. where you are incrementally increasing time, but you'd never wait between the click and the reward. So, how would the dog see the buzz as a reward? You should ask him because I am super curious!

      +R is incremental, but I don't find it tedious. I don't see dogs being trained by +R trainers taking any more or less time than similarly experienced traditional or balanced trainers. Anyway, currently you are rehabilitating, not training, which always takes much longer than doing it right the first time, regardless of your method. I've been there myself!

    5. #5
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      Yep. My NEXT dog... I'll do everything right! (Sure.)

      I see what you mean. Maybe this is a hybrid approach. Hmmmm...

      I was confused and this is where I don't get that the e-collar is tied to the reward (retrieve). If it was sit, buzz, retrieve...then yes, it's +R as long as the e-collar was not adversive to THAT dog and the retrieve was rewarding to THAT dog.

      OK. There is some lead up to this stage when you're looking at Hillmann's method. I don't know if you've had a chance to see his video Training the Retriever Puppy. He lays the groundwork for (1) Getting the puppy mad about retrieving... (I think RD came from the womb that way, but she's uncommon in many ways)... and (2) getting them to "enjoy" the vibration. Maybe "enjoy" is not the right word, but view it as confirmation that they're doing the right thing and anticipation of good things to come. When he's establishing that relationship, I think the retrieve is almost immediate. He also says that with some dogs, you have to scramble around and find out what motivates them, initially. A squeeky toy, a treat, whatever it is. It's been a while since I watched that DVD, so I'm relating this from kind of way back in the memory box.

      That was, I think, the big revelation for RD and me. When she got the Ah-HA realization that the buzz was a GOOD thing, (not punishment) I saw a change in her behavior and response. She's still crazy. But she is no longer frantic and panicky.

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