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Thought the group may find this interesting. I got it from the Pet Connection Blog:


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In dog training, less may be more
By Christie Keith

July 31, 2008

It’s true, I’m lazy. That’s part of why I have sighthounds, because no one really expects you to do obedience or tracking or anything requiring, you know, serious training with a sighthound.

Which isn’t to say my dogs aren’t well-behaved. They walk quietly on a loose leash, they don’t bark, go to the bathroom in the house, or eat the sofa. And I can easily train a dog to the extent required to trot around a show ring and stand pretty for the judge.

But I happily confess I don’t have much interest in more formal training, and so I’ve been pretty happy sharing my life with a type of dog who doesn’t, either.

Now, researchers in Denmark have discovered that at least one other breed of hound, the Beagle, learns best when he learns least often. In an article published in Applied Animal Behavioral Sciences, the authors found that dogs trained once a week learned specific behaviors better than dogs trained five times a week.

In a nutshell, 18 laboratory beagles were divided into two groups. The dogs were all trained by the same person, in the same unfamiliar room. The training was done using so-called “positive” methods, including shaping and clicker training.

The results of the study show that dogs trained once a week learned the shaping exercise in significantly fewer training sessions than dogs trained five times a week. In addition, weekly trained dogs tended to have higher success rates at the different steps of the shaping exercise than the dogs trained five times a week. The dogs trained five times a week completed the shaping exercise in significantly fewer days than the weekly trained dogs. It is concluded that for dogs learning a given skill, weekly training results in better learning performance than training five times a week, when performance is measured in the number of training sessions required to reach a certain training level.

My sighthounds approve of these findings about their scenthound cousins. You can read the whole article here (PDF).
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My heart just dropped for a second when I got to the laboratory beagles part. I do hope they were all positively trained and that research was the only one they were used for (meaning, nothing medical/research).

On another note, that information is probably correct, as I noticed Chloe's lack of wanting to learn new things more than once every few weeks, unless I have salami in my hand
 

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Heh. I guess that makes sense! I put my pups through varying series of the very simplest of tricks before giving them their treats before bedtime. Sometimes, they forget how to do a specific trick - Bones is very bad about whining and cocking her head when I ask her to roll over, which she's done hundreds of times for me in the past. And about 75% of the time, Spock thinks sit means lie down.
 

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Originally Posted By: Chloe's Mommy
On another note, that information is probably correct, as I noticed Chloe's lack of wanting to learn new things more than once every few weeks, unless I have salami in my hand

Sooooo funny! And soooooo true....
 

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I work with Maggie every day for 5 to 10 minutes either on a new skill or reviewing an old one. She is happy to work for Cherrios and comes running when I rattle the box. The funniest thing is if I say what else can you do? she does another trick. She goes through down, sit, wave, high five, roll over and right and left spin randomly when I ask her what else she can do. She can also do those things with voice command or hand signal. She has learned to take a bow and place (sit by my left side in heel postion) by voice command but does not do those as part of her random performance. Right now we are working on touch, which she really likes because its easy and she gets a treat every time.
 

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LOL.

I guess there is such a thing as information overload for our furry friends. Although, there's no such thing as too much odor/scent for them
 

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Makes sense. Duke caught on really quickly when we were going to classes on a weekly basis.

Jassy, that is so funny, my Cassie does the same thing. If I tell her, What would you do for a meaty bone? she will do every trick she knows on a loop until she gets her treat.

And Duke also will just lie down when I say sit. Not as much anymore, but for the longest time, I made him down after a sit every time and he figured he'd save the extra step and just go down right away! LOL

We're working with Violet now and she is smart, but gets a little scared to do some tricks with the other dogs around. Like she's afraid they'll get her treat or that Cassie will get all dominant with her. But we're getting there!
 
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