I just had the pleasure of watching a perfect 20 minute training session using what modern trainers would call the LRS technique, and thought I would share it with the group. It is not new information or insight, just an illustration of effective use of a training method. The animal being trained was Ansel. He is an adolescent GSD rescue from Czech lines that is VERY intense and high energy. He did not get socialized much in his first home, and he is very demanding and easily over-stimulated. We have been working with him for around 6 months now, and he is getting much better, but still can be very pushy in certain situations.
The training session was outside, I was sitting nearby watching while Ansel was bouncing and trying to get the trainer to play with him. He ran up and barked in his face, and the trainer FROZE. No movement, not even an eye blink. Ansel did not know what to do, so he pawed at the trainer, then mouthed him. No response. Ansel tried for a minute and then wandered off. The trainer moved, and Ansel came running back over and tried again. This time he jumped up with both feet and licked and whined and shoved. Again, nothing. This cycle repeated several times, with Ansel being pushy and getting nowhere. Around the tenth time, Ansel quietly sat in front, and immediately the trainer engaged and started playing with him. Ansel got too rambunctious and the trainer froze, looking away and ignoring Ansel. Again, Ansel tried demanding attention, but there was no response. Ansel lay down, and immediately the trainer started playing with him. This time, the play went on for a few seconds, and then Ansel got too assertive. Again the trainer froze. Ansel stepped back, puzzled. He could tell there was a rule here that he was not getting and he really wanted to understand so the play would continue. He lay down and cocked his head. Again, play. This time, Ansel was less pushy, less sure of himself. At one point he got a little too excited, and the trainer gave a gentle verbal cue. Ansel immediately cooled off. Less than 20 minutes had passed, and Ansel was playing appropriately, without biting hard or jumping up. At this point, I ended the session, wanting Ansel to have succeeded.
The trainer in this session was Loki, a 10 year old forty pound Border Collie ) He “knew” that if he tried to correct Ansel, a fight would start that Ansel would win. And he “knew” that the fight would be very rewarding to Ansel. He “knew” that if he ran away Ansel would follow. So he outsmarted Ansel–he made sure that Ansel was not AT ALL reinforced for the negative behavior, and that he was not provoked. At the same time, he made sure that good behavior got Ansel what he wanted. Simple, effective, lovely….