I’ve been to three Chicken Workshops with Bob Bailey and Parvene Farhoody. One of Bob’s more well-quoted aphorisms is: “Click for behavior/action; feed for position.”
There are many applications to this idea. One is, if you’re shaping for forward motion, click for any indication that the animal is moving forward. Then feed out in front of the animal in the direction it’s already going (or slightly off if you want a turn), making sure you’re far enough ahead that you don’t cause the animal to hit the brakes suddenly.
Another is if you want the animal to turn its head, for example, click for the turn and then feed it where you want its head to be. Or tossing the treat away from the mat to set the dog up for another try at finding the mat.
The one that smacked me upside the head today is this: I’m working with my horse, Atticus, on color discrimination. I’ve set it up to be the same as we did with chickens in my first Chicken Workshop. (See my previous blog on that here.) I had been having some trouble with this and I’ve varied several things in order to make it more clear to Atty. Then suddenly, an image from the Discrimination Workshop appeared in my head. Feeding the chicken over the correctly colored disk when the bird pecked it! Gosh! Why didn’t I think of that before!
After a long hiatus on this project, I started up again a couple of days ago, reverting back to my original plan (duplicating the chicken set up). Then today I had that revelation about feeding Atty at the correct soccer cone. This did seem to help a lot and we’ll check again in our next session.
Related Blog: Color Discrimination