The Imitation Game: Teaching Dogs to Do What You Do!
Presented by Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CDBC, KPA CTP, VSPDT, CBATI, VSDTA Faculty
Are you a training junkie? Do you and your dog spend hours together playing training games? Have you taught your dog dozens of cues, not to mention a whole bunch of markers beyond the clicker? If you recognize yourself in this description, this is the workshop for you! We will be exploring one of the most complex of concept training tasks: repeating a behavior performed by a human.
In case you are shaking your head in disbelief, let’s take a moment to look at the facts: Both anecdotal evidence and scientific research indicate that dogs are capable of some fairly complex tasks. Dogs have been taught to choose objects based on color or size, distinguish left from right, avoid obstacles that present a problem for a human they are guiding—even though they are not a problem for the dog—and much, much more.
In recent years, it’s become clear that one complex skill dogs can learn is repeating a behavior they see someone else do. Dogs can be taught to repeat other dogs’ behavior, and they can even learn how to repeat a behavior demonstrated by a human!
Learning to repeat behaviors on cue is a fun cognitive challenge. The skill can also be useful in future training. For example, a dog who knows how to repeat a person’s behavior on cue can be taught to go through a tunnel by watching the person crawl through the tunnel first. Repeating behaviors is most useful when the exact “look,” or topography of the behavior, is not that important. This makes the concept of repeating human behaviors particularly effective in training dogs for service tasks and dog sports, among other things..
This workshop will give you a blueprint for training your dog to repeat your behavior on cue. Over the course of the two days, you will learn a step-by-step method for teaching your dog the concept of repeating what you do, even if your behavior is something the dog has never done before. (NOTE: You probably still won’t be able to teach your dog to sing the Star Spangled Banner, but then, most people aren’t very good at that either.)
The general principles taught at this workshop can be applied to teaching dogs other concepts (so if you want to work on left vs. right or big vs. small, you’ll get useful information on that type of training as well), but the specific steps taught will be geared towards repeating human behavior. The ideal canine participant is a dog who has a strong background in positive reinforcement training, and has been encouraged to think creatively through shaping and other higher level tasks. If your dog already has a background with other concepts such as large vs. small or over vs. under, that’s even better.
There are only 6 working dog spots available. Only 24 auditor spots are available. Due to the nature of the training process, working dog teams must attend both days of the workshop.
To get the most out of this workshop, working dogs must have at least three different behaviors on cue that a human being could also perform (e.g., down, give paw, and spin). Working dogs should also have a solid settle on a mat or “wait” behavior. Working dogs should also be able to settle quietly either in a crate or on a mat between training sessions.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR WORKING DOG TEAMS: Dogs will need to settle quietly between working sessions, so working dog handlers should bring a crate, or plan to tether their dog on a towel or other mat, during human learning portions (some tether stations are available). Dog handlers should also bring food toys or other things to occupy the dog between training sessions. In addition, dog handlers should bring a water bowl and about one thousand treats cut up very small (pinky nail size for average size dogs; smaller or slightly larger for smaller or larger dogs).
INSTRUCTIONS FOR AUDITORS: Auditors will also need to settle quietly between working sessions, but we will provide chairs!
About Our Speaker:
|Irith Bloom has been training animals since the 1980s, and has worked with everything from chickens and rabbits to dogs and horses—not to mention humans. A biologist by training, Irith is fascinated by the science of learning, and loves taking part in conferences and seminars. She is a sought-after presenter, and her writing has been published both online and in print.
Irith is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge & Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA), a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT), and a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI). She is faculty at Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior, as well as DogBiz’s Dog Walking Academy, and is also certified in TAGteach, a positive-reinforcement method for teaching humans.
Irith is Chair of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Education Committee. She also volunteers with National English Shepherd Rescue, as well as the Los Angeles County 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families Coalition (a One Health initiative aimed at improving the health and well-being of people and their pets throughout Los Angeles County), and Wallis Annenberg PetSpace.
Irith is the owner of The Sophisticated Dog, a pet training company based in Los Angeles.
|The target audience includes individuals experienced in dog training, who have a basic understanding of learning theory concepts (operant and classical learning) and familiarity with at least basic concepts of behavior modification. We will not be covering learning theory or b-mod basics in this program.
Dates: Saturday & Sunday, May 4 & 5, 2019
Time: 9AM to 4:30PM each day
Light breakfast and snacks provided
Location: BADDogsInc Family Dog Training & Behavior, 170 N. Maple St, Suite 109, Corona, CA 92880. We are conveniently located ¼ mile north of the 91 freeway at the Maple Street exit.
Registration fee: $275 for working dog teams (1 human and 1 dog), $175 for each auditor
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations up to 45 days prior to the workshops will be refunded in full. No refunds given within 45 days prior to the workshop.
IAABC and CPDT CEUs pending