Sunday, January 25, 2009

Good Memory For Bad Things.

One thing I have noted with my animals is that I can try to teach them a trick, or train them in some way, using positive reinforcement and so on, and sometimes the effort seems to take forever for them to finally catch on. But if you screw up just once and something bad is the result, they remember it and act accordingly from that moment on. Renner is a prime example of this. I worked with him quite a while to get him to bow on command. Now he does is very well and will even do it in tandom with the other dogs. I am not sure how long that took to teach him but it was more than 5 minutes I can assure you.We also have a media cabinet in our family room and there is a dog bed in front of it. Renner enjoys laying on that bed and 95% of the time there is no issue with that. However, he is a retired racing Greyhound and is quite tall, so we always make sure we shut the door to the cabinet so that when he stands up he won't hit himself on it.One night my OH was doing something in that cabinet and left for a moment to get something. He didn't close the door. Coincidentally Renner got up (and Ren never gets up slowly, he usually bolt up off his bed to go do whatever...) and hit the edge of the door quite hard with his back. This freaked him out just a bit because he couldn't figure out what happened and what hurt him. It didn't break the skin or anything, but from experience, I know how it hurts to bang into something and still not bleed from it. We were concerned about him, but physically he was just fine. However, the incident stuck with him and now any time someone walks over to the media center and even looks like they are going to open the door he takes off and you find him clear into the kitchen laying down on the rug out there. It went from weeks of training him to do something we wanted him to do, to just taking a second to learn that if that cabinet door is open it could hurt him.We try to even more careful with it now and usually,if we are going to open the door, we move the bed first. Still it is amazing how there was such a different in 'learning times' when one situation is getting continual 'goodies' until you do it right, then the goodies are reduced to just one if you do the trick correctly and a second of real pain. Of course this is not just true for animals, but I still leave the kitchen cabinet open and then turn around and bang my head on it. Which, I guess, would make Renner quite a bit smarter than I am huh....

No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Directory for Minnesota