Monday, June 10, 2013

47 Weeks - Jackpots

I am starting Maddie on "jackpot" training.  In the future, especially in obedience, Maddie will need to complete a whole course, several exercises, or a routine without any treats.  My strategy is that I never ever wean my hounds off of treats.  I think they work so much better, are joyful, and put forth more effort when they do not feel under paid and unappreciated.  My performance at work would surely suffer if my boss started to wean me off my paycheck.  So I apply the same idea to dogs.

You hear people talk about their dogs becoming "ring wise" which means the dog has learned there are no treats (and no corrections) in the competition ring and so the dog's performance becomes lackluster.  To avoid that problem, I teach mine that a big reward comes at the end.
The big reward or jackpot is usually something extra special like peanut butter, cream cheese, canned dog food, green tripe, raw meat mixture, yogurt, or cottage cheese.... something I am not going to carry in my pocket.

I cue the jackpot by saying "jackpot" and by taking the collar. You will notice in my videos that I touch or grab Maddie's collar before we head to a jackpot.  One of the problems, that sometimes will crop up is a dog leaving the ring to go find the jackpot.  I teach mine that they cannot have the jackpot until I have their collar so we establish a good pattern having to work with me to unlock access to the jackpot.
Here is Maddie doing some jump work.  As you know, she still has about 6 more months before she will be allowed to climb or jump anything of significant height.  I want to make sure she is fully mature first.  I am pleased that her tunnels are more under control.  They sometimes make her crazy.  I still block her access if we are not using them since Maddie will still play in them.

At this point, my jackpot gets divided up. The reward should equal the work.  The biggest and best jackpots ever created were definitely for Katie competing in Utility obedience.  But a puppy doing a few jumps equals a few licks from the jackpot container.
The heel work in the next video illustrates beginner jackpot work really well.  Maddie has access to the containers (they are even distracting), but she cannot get into them.   Instead of begging her to stay with me, I give her the opportunity to try to get into them.  Eventually she exhausts that attempt and figures the best way into the container is working with me.
Again, you saw me grab Maddie's collar each time.  For seasoned dogs like Seven and Riley, they LOVE collar grabs!


What Remains Now said...

Love watching the videos, particularly with your explanations.

houndstooth said...

That is so stinking cool! I love her attention on you when she's working, too. Are you sure that's Maddie, the cute little puppy you just brought home like, last month? lol

Have you ever showed how you teach your dogs to hold things in their mouths? I have heard it's pretty difficult to do, but it's something I would love to teach our dogs!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Thanks What Remains Now!

Houndstooth, I know! So grown up now! If you look at my series on teaching retrieves (upper left side of blog) you can usually switch them over to a holding anything you offer. I start with toys and then play around with other objects.

When I finally get to something like a dumbbell, I usually have to go through a short period of forcing them to hold... I know there are videos of Maddie doing this. But when they will readily put their teeth on something, but not yet hold it, I will use my hands to force them to hold briefly. This is offensive so they struggle a little, but as soon as they stop, I take the object and jackpot them. You have to keep a careful balance of making sure you do not create a bad experience so I make sure the reward is way over the top so they are left thinking... that wasn't so bad and they are willing to do it again. It should progress quickly.

Ximena said...

I really love the collar-grab idea. Elli has a cue word (via jackpot training) to get her hyped and happy for obedience, which was something I adopted from a more "balanced" trainer. The thing is, I do obedience off-leash/naked and said trainer doesn't, so it works for her... but Elli is free to run to the jackpot (and wait) by herself when cued into work. I may adopt the collar-grab thing just so she can't do that anymore haha.

Maddie looks wonderful - and so big!

Hazel said...

I especially appreciated the picture of her holding her ears up and flopping forward, and her tail being a bit bushy at the curve! Most all of my greyhounds have that bushy tail, but my new grey Power has a very skinny (no bushy) tail. The ears of Maddie make such a wonderful expression!
Great picture with the flag!

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

Lovely. Maddie is progressing so nicely! I love watching your videos with her.

Trina said...

She is progressing! And boy is she beautiful!!! Such an 'adult' now!

Vanessa Joy said...

Thanks for that useful advice Jen :) I am at the stage now where I am starting be able to trial my young greyhound in obedience, agility and rally o... and the main thing I am worried about is getting him to work well when we can't have food in the rings - as I agree with you and don't want to wean him off his treats and think greyhounds are a breed that really need to be paid for their efforts... I had started training the jackpot cue but wasn't sure if I was doing it right, so now I'll be able to use your techniques to make sure it works and we can trial successfully!