Goat Diaries Blog by Alexandra Kurland
#41
yes, there are new studies that say that learning is impaired by training too often per day. Not asking for established, well known behaviour but learning new behaviours and remembering newer lessons.

Going back to easier criteria when we notice the animal struggling helps keeping the flow and the motivation and lowers the risk to re-inforce unwanted behaviour (or behaviour chains) that have krept into the session.
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Sabine from Germany
[Image: zoVgi.gif]

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#42
Twice or even three times a day isn't too often if the "pupil" is engaged. In this case, I think our biggest trouble is the rag. It gets soggy after one lesson and he doesn't really want to carry it around after that. I can't blame him for feeling that way! I'm hoping this week to get into Pueblo and buy a few things from the dog toy aisle that look more inviting for a goat to pick up and carry--things that won't turn limp and soggy after a few fetches.

The other thing I worry about with using a rag is that he could swallow it. It gets cookie crumbs stuck to it so when it's dry it tastes inviting and he wants to chew it. He can easily suck the whole thing into his mouth so there's not much left for me to grab and pull out. If he ever decided not to let go I'd be in trouble--I'd never get it away from him! It would be better to use toys he can pick up but can't swallow such as a ball with a handle, or a length of cotton rope with large knots at either end.

On the plus side, he IS learning the "drop" command, so I didn't have much trouble getting the rag away from him yesterday. I struggled with that a few times during our lesson the previous week.
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#43
it's not about engagement but transferring experiences from short-term into long-term memory.
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Sabine from Germany
[Image: zoVgi.gif]

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#44
Well yes, but short-term memory seems to automatically become long-term memory after they sleep on it for a night or two. I worked on this trick only about once a week, yet Sputnik made tremendous progress from one lesson to the next. He went from putting his mouth on the rag at the end of our first lesson to actually picking it up when I dropped it at the beginning of the second lesson, which was more than a week later. By the end of the second lesson he would walk 2-3 steps and bring it back. On our third lesson a week later I tossed it across the patio and he brought it back to me each time. So it appears that he actually did commit the previous lessons to long-term memory and even made progress without actively working on it. But he was less engaged when I did two lessons in a row, and I think it was more because the rag was wet and he was distracted by the prospect of taking a walk afterwards. Usually Sputnik is good for 2-3 lessons in a day and progresses faster than with once a week lessons, but not every lesson goes quite the way you expect. And I definitely need to get some better toys while he's learning!
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#45
I made it to the feed store yesterday and picked out three very different but suitable-looking fetch toys from the dog aisle. I tried them out this afternoon and it looks like they'll work very well. Sputnik was immediately drawn to the rope toy and picked it up on his own out of the pile of toys I had deposited on the floor. It has a rubber grip in the center that's easy for him to hold in his mouth, but he prefers to grab it by one end so he can flip his head up and down, flinging the toy exuberantly. It's fun to be able to let him play with the toys without worrying that he'll swallow or destroy them.

We didn't get much fetching in today. Sputnik was mostly learning to pick up these new toys and I let him spend time playing, but he did successfully fetch them a couple of times.
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