This week in ORCA we watched a really neat video of a dog learning to match objects. We often don’t think of matching as a complex skill because we are very familiar with matching and have had a lot of practice with it. However, it’s pretty complicated! Matching can also be a hard skill to teach a dog because, if you’re not careful, the dog will learn that it’s easier to watch other environmental cues (such as your body language or eye gaze) rather than actually matching the objects.
However, like many other complicated animal training tasks, we can teach a dog to match similar objects using clicker training. This video is a great example of matching because the trainer does an excellent job of breaking the task down into smaller component skills that will be needed for the final task. For instance, she first teaches the dog first to stay on the mat, pick up the objects and look at the object she is holding. Sometimes, we have trouble during training because we’ve forgotten to teach an important component or foundation skill that the animal needs to understand first.
So, check out the video below and let me know what you think. I would love to try this with one of the horses, as I’m sure that the horses could also do it!
Also, my latest post with shaping Ginger generated some interesting discussion on facebook and in the comments. I copied some of the discussion from facebook into the comments section of that post. I’m really interested to continue this task now, to see what happens with the licking!