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Rootbeer -

A few years back the new buzzword in obedience was using cues. I didn't understand it completely then, and I don't think I still do. I'm not sure why I have a mindblock on this.

I think I'm still somewhat confused about how the command to come set up (say for a retrieve over the high jump) becomes a cue. I'm thinking I'm still confused because once I ask the dog to set up, it should automatically become a cue that we're going to do the retrieve over high jump. So the dumbie and jump become the reinforcement to the cue? So the idea behind the cue is that the dog should want to come set up because the dog knows what comes after is the fun (the reinforcement for the set-up)?

Do I also want the cue to set up to be reinforcing in itself? I think I do. LOL :rolleyes: I don't even know if I'm making sense.

Oh and Chase does think he's allowed to jump and grab at the dumbbell whenever he wants, I'm having problems with this with him. Walking to set up for a retrieve, he's jumping all over me to get at the dumbbell so I guess he views the dumbbell as a cue? Ugh, (sigh) LOL

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I'm thinking I'm still confused because once I ask the dog to set up, it should automatically become a cue that we're going to do the retrieve over high jump.

 

Since I am not familiar with the exact setup on this for competition obedience, would you mind if I use an example with which I am more familiar?

 

In Rally, there is an exercise where the dog is set up in front of a jump, but offset - several feet over. The handler is on the other side of the jump, facing the dog, lined up with the dog. So picture a dog and handler standing about 10 - 15 feet away from each other with a jump in between, but offset several feet.

 

For this exercise, the dog is to run to the jump, take the jump and then come to front before the handler.

 

Now, sometimes a judge will throw a challenge at a team by setting up a recall right next to a jump, so the dog has to run by the jump as he recalls to the handler. This can look to the dog exactly like an offset jump exercise.

 

So, how does the dog know whether to take the jump or run past it in a straight line to the handler? The cue.

 

For the offset jump exercise, the handler might say "out, jump!" And for the recall, the handler might say, "Dog, come front!"

 

The cue is simply the word, term, or signal that tells the dog what he or she is to do at this point.

 

Yes, the presence of the jump gives the dog information. But if the dog cues off of the jump, you might get one and only one behavior associated with the jump. That's OK if you only ever want your dog to do one thing, but if you want the dog to be able to do different things, cues will give the dog the information needed to do what you want when you ask for it.

 

So the dumbie and jump become the reinforcement to the cue?

 

That depends on the dog. For a dog that LOVES interacting with the dumbell and jumping, then association between the interaction with the dumbell and the jump can make the cue to do so reinforcing.

 

But suppose the dog were indifferent to interacting with the dumbell and jumping. One could use a reinforcer that the dog loves (sniffing, access to a toy, food, permission to look at birds, etc.) to make both the behavior and the cue for that behavior reinforcing for the dog.

 

Does that make sense?

 

So the idea behind the cue is that the dog should want to come set up because the dog knows what comes after is the fun (the reinforcement for the set-up)?

 

The idea behind making the cue reinforcing is that when the dog hears the cue to come set up, he responds like the Manwich person in Geonni's example in the other thread to pork rinds, or whatever it was. SET UP!! YES!!

 

To what end? When the dog gets to this point, the cue to set up becomes a reinforcer in and of itself. It's more than that the dog likes it or thinks it's fun. It can actually be used in the ring as a reinforcer in the way that food or toys can be used outside the ring.

 

Make sense?

 

Do I also want the cue to set up to be reinforcing in itself? I think I do. LOL :rolleyes: I don't even know if I'm making sense.

 

Yes. I think I explained above. If it's still confusing, just let me know.

 

Oh and Chase does think he's allowed to jump and grab at the dumbbell whenever he wants, I'm having problems with this with him. Walking to set up for a retrieve, he's jumping all over me to get at the dumbbell so I guess he views the dumbbell as a cue? Ugh, (sigh) LOL

 

You could say that. He sees the presence of the dumbell as a cue to play.

 

I'd utilize the heck out of that kind of enthusiasm to train a bunch of stuff! :D

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Thanks Root Beer. Your explanation definitely helped. I was thinking about it some more and was thinking of ways I might be using cues in my training.

There is an exercise in obedience where the dog must run straight down the middle of the ring, between 2 jumps and to the other side of the ring, without taking the jumps (he takes them with direction from me once he gets to the other side of the ring). How I tell him he's not taking the jumps is while I'm lining him up, I tell him to get ready to "kick it" (which means go between the jumps to the other side of the ring to the stantion and kick it until I tell you to sit and give you further instruction to jump). So I focused him on the stantion at the other side of the ring, and not on the jumps and I think my "kick it" command is the cue. Right?

(Well, it's a work in progress because he loves to jump so sometimes he makes a mistake and takes a jump on his way out :rolleyes:)

I think it sounds like what you described in your Rally example.

 

Trust me, I do use Chase's enthusiasm to my advantage :D I love to see a dog work happy that way and I work hard at keeping that enthusiasm. That's probably why Chase still jumps for the dumbbell while we're setting up. I haven't impressed upon him that he must practice self-control until I tell him to fetch it. Since I'm not sure if he'll ever compete in obedience, I don't think it's important for him to have the self-control right now. In any case, as he matures and we practice he is showing more self-control on his own.

Thanks, again.

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