Not a barking clue

I believe the second step in back chaining an indication must be the most difficult.  We are asking a dog to run away from the person with all of the toys and the fun and go bark at a person that only barks commands back.  Perhaps we are not practicing enough and the dog just isn’t making the connection?

Poor Grom only wanders away from the fun person holding him and sniffs at the ground for a while before deciding to bark.  Once he does, he sprints back to the toy holding chump for play.  I am constantly going back a step.  (He barks on command and gets rewarded from one person.) He does this perfectly.

Possible solutions?

  • Run backwards and act really fun when asking for the bark command
  • stand right next to the person with the toys when asking for the bark
  • reward only for one bark or even a whine then increase criteria
  • immediately put the dog up if he starts to sniff around instead of running to handler, try again later
  • Do a search on the net for other possible answers
  • ask the rest of my team for ideas

I have found one good article on training from a group in Houston.  From what I can read so far, it appears that the dog is barking at the found person as opposed to running back to the handler and barking.  It does offer excellent advice on training with context and distractions in mind.

http://www.swsdogs.org/Articles/ShapingtheBarkIndicationforSearchDogs/tabid/59/Default.aspx?PageContentID=4

In other news.  Always remember, when a dog is singing “Prelude to Puking.”  Putting him in the shower is a fine idea.  When he vomits up parts of one of his toys, that toy needs to find its way to the trash ASAP.  Do this before you forget or you will be dancing to the hurling song on a regular basis!

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2 Responses to “Not a barking clue”

  1. I got a reply already for the problem. Check this out!

    HAHA- this is a COMMON issue, that ALL dogs go through- so first and foremost, your dog is not broken, or a dud, or anything you might have worried.

    Possible solutions:
    1) train with an operational handler. We’ve been there, and we’ve successfully overcome it. D or I are avail during the week, you just got to coordinate.
    2) this works – Run backwards and act really fun when asking for the bark command.
    3) Never reward a whine.
    4) immediately put the dog up if he starts to sniff around instead of running to handler, try again later.
    The reasons for his behavior are something I would need to observe. Perhaps he’s already done the exercise too much? Maybe he’s hungry? has to pee? At this point, you really need to be with an operational trainer when training.
    ~~Also, you have to do this step correctly for it to work. NO anger- no words. Just gather the dog up, leash it, pull it to the car. While the dog is being carted off, the subject comes alive and taunts the dog with the toys. Keep taunting the while he’s in the crate. Just for 2 minutes. Then, pull the dog out of the cage. Take the dog to the subject (toys hidden away when Grom can NOT see them.) Try again.
    5) you have a toy. Show Grom the toy, but do NOT let him have it. he’ll run to you, bark for it, and you say in that FUN voice- Show Me Boy! And the subject comes alive BIG TIME. Sell it., b/c you’re lying to him, essentially. You’re NOT giving him the toy, but when the subject comes alive, he’ll probably forget you had a toy, and race off to collect his paycheck.

    IF his enthusiasm is not there, then stop training the sequence. There are things you need to do to increase his drive. More crate time, only coming out to train and pee. Or, timing of training- training when the dog is hungry. Training when you come home is a great time. Pee him, crate him immediately and show him the toys. Then take him out and set him up for success- when he’s done. Back into the crate.
    You can let him out to roam around the house, but give him 30-min or so after training in the crate to think and replay the scene in his little doggy mind.

  2. Thanks for you comment on my SAR blog and for letting me know about yours. As a volunteer myself, I know how much work it can be (in a good way) … but I really admire those of you who train and handle SAR dogs, because that’s even MORE of a time commitment. I look forward to reading about your progress and SAR adventures.

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