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joie de vivre
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you use no reward markers (NRM) in training?

I've found NRM to be a godsend in weave work but I've talked to people who refuse to mark errors and would rather ignore the mistake to avoid any potential negative feedback for the dog. I'm just curious because I do heavily favor positive training techniques and I don't view NRM as negative feedback. I see it as simply giving the dog more information about what they're doing, however there are others that feel a NRM is negative feedback no matter how neutrally it's delivered. Just curious about the forum's thoughts.
 

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I do the opposite in weaves. I say YES when they make their entry. I can use an NRM with Flirt or Gabby. I cannot use one with Havoc no matter how neutrally delivered :)

I'm not consistent with an NRM with Flirt/Gabby but it does pop out sometimes (oops is what I say).
 

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joie de vivre
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I use reward markers for when Fiona enters and exits and sometimes if she almost pops out but catches herself then I reward mark it as encouragement and acknowledgement. But I found Fiona's consistency shot way up when I started using NRM when she'd make an error. And she immediately returns to me and waits for the command to go again.

I've found Fiona knows when she makes an error whether or not I mark it but at first when I didn't mark it she would just blow off the rest of the weaves. (I think she probably didn't completely piece together what the weaves were at that point.) As she started to get her head around weaving when she'd make a mistake she would look back at me, slow way down, and keep going but continue making mistakes because she wanted some kind of assurance from me like, "yes, do that" or "no, try again." It all started really clicking when I started NRM with her. I think it gave her the rest of the information she was wanting about that particular obstacle to clarify what to do vs what not to do.

NRM would have hurt Tali's feelings a year or so ago but she sees agility as such a game now that half the time NRM just spur a zoomie rush and jumping into me or she'll spin and then play bow at me, nub wagging. But that's with jumps surprisingly. Tali nails contact equipment and the weaves. LOL They're nice and slow and precise, just the way she likes 'em. But she really lets loose and runs for jumps and half the time that turns into a party for her. She just gets excited to be running next to me and she'll start running around jumps squealing and jumping into me. LOL

I think Tali's lost her mind in the last 6-months - in a really good way. I don't think she sees agility as work like she does obedience. She approaches agility with more the attitude Fiona had as an older pup, like, "Oh man! Things get crazy when you and I get together out there! Who knows what will happen tonight?!" (I imagine she's Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock when we're at agility training. It feels like it.) She's very silly at the moment. So NRM don't really tell Tali much right now because she doesn't want me harshing her agility buzz so she ignores NRM. LOL
 

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Holier Than Now
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I use NRM.

I agree with you, that it gives the dog more information, and marks the precise moment that they made the error.

The group I work with does not "believe" in them, and I get fussed at, which I consider as them using NRM...with me :p

I tend to politely do what I think best for my individual dogs, though.
 

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It just occurred to me it might also depend on how you are teaching them. I used channels and Flirt flew from day 1. Every now and then she might pop out at 10 but she’d be flying to fast for me to marking and running trying to catch the ball I didn’t throw! And sometimes I didn’t realize she’d even missed a pole until I saw the video.

flirt weave 2 in miss last.AVI - YouTube
 
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I use them often. Just a simple "eh". I don't see the problem with negative feedback, I mean it's not like you're screaming at your dog and kicking him in the gut or something... it's just a little thing to say "no, keep trying"
 

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I say "try again" if something is close but not quite, and Elka seems to appreciate it. I use "excuse me" for things like leash pulling, barking, etc. If she straightens out right then, though, she will be rewarded. So maybe I'm confused. She's typically all right! (though yesterday I asked her to sit and she looked at me like she didn't have a brain in her head. I the asked her if she got brain damaged on our walk.)

I will use "No" if something is full-stop not all right.
 

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Back Off
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I use "eh-eh" or "nope" depending on the circumstance. My trainers and everyone who trains with me uses them as well. I agree with Kevin, it's definitely not like beating the dog or anything, and for my dog, it means 'try again' or that's not right.
 

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Vicious Bitch.
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I make some sort of noise at Juno when she's flying between obstacles or not focusing. Its either a hissing sound or "ah" "hey" or some horse terms thrown in LOL. I use "ho" for slow down. Which, I guess can be derived as NRMs.

But then again, I go over the top happy yay rewards when she does something correctly. LOL, I look like a nut when doing so.
 

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I use it, but if Chase gets confused as to what Im trying to ask of him, I walk away or physically put him in a sit (gently) so he can cool off.

I say 'No' for when he is half ass-ing a heel, or is trying to throw ten behaviours at me before I ask a command. I cant say 'No' more than once, he gets very anxious, and starts to whine, lick his lips, and even shut down.
 

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Like a Ninja
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I use NRM's rarely because Jones is one of those dogs that shuts down easily, even if I say something in the happiest voice...
If he screws up I just have him try again I don't say anything I just call him to me and send him over a couple obstacles before the one he messed up....
Typically the only time I use NRM's is if I am getting completely blown off, or he isn't listening to me and needs to calm down a little or refocus.
 

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joie de vivre
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I use NRM.

I agree with you, that it gives the dog more information, and marks the precise moment that they made the error.

The group I work with does not "believe" in them, and I get fussed at, which I consider as them using NRM...with me :p

I tend to politely do what I think best for my individual dogs, though.
I'm the same way. I listen to what others in my club have to say and then I do what works for my dogs. I think some in my club that are so against them have such soft dogs and that's why they think NRM are bad, because if they used it with their dog their dog might fall apart. That's not Fiona. LOL Nothing phases her. It's all just communication in her mind and she's very neutral in how she processes it...mostly. Sometimes she flat out disagrees with me and then we have that conversation, but she doesn't shut down.

It just occurred to me it might also depend on how you are teaching them. I used channels and Flirt flew from day 1. Every now and then she might pop out at 10 but she’d be flying to fast for me to marking and running trying to catch the ball I didn’t throw! And sometimes I didn’t realize she’d even missed a pole until I saw the video.

flirt weave 2 in miss last.AVI - YouTube
We learned first with the 2x2 method but lately we've been using guides to work on speed without allowing her the opportunity to pop out. She's really pretty consistent with the weaves lately, but I'm using guides to get her really moving through them to find her rhythm. Sort-of a muscle memory thing with how she moves through them. The 2x2 method has worked for both my girls but I'll probably never train it that way again. I really like the speed and efficiency that comes with guides and I find the 2x2 method can be kinda clunky somedays.
 
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I use no reward markers all the time with my dog. I think communication is a two way street and the dogs need both types of feedback.

With my dog, if he gets frustrated he will default to his first order of learning behaviour which is intense focus on me, and it doesn't break unless I use the NRM.

I don't put emotion into it, it is just a simple no and it helps to reset him.
 

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Get the bunnies!
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I use NRMs with Elsie, especially when shaping and she is really going down the wrong track... just to get her to focus and offer something else, also at the moment we are doing jumping lane exercises where jumps aren't in a perfectly straight line, so use a NRM when she skips around one. I usually just use "oh no! try again!" and don't give a treat or play tug, and indicate for her to try again.

Elsie is a reasonably soft dog (can not handle being told off in a grouchy voice), but can handle NRMs fine and will keep trying... Have found the sighthounds I have worked with mostly can't handle NRMs and will shut down, wheras the border collies will just keep trying until they get it right... So really depends on your dog IMO.
 

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I use NRMs with Pula, and as long as I do it matter of factly (no tone), she understands and it does help her understand what is not ok. I use an oops, or eh-eh and get her back and start over.
She is rewarded for many things as well.

She will shut down if I use too much tone or don't keep her engaged. We made a breakthrough a few weeks ago with her on her start line behavior. We have been trying many things, and now have hit on something that seems to work.

I need to remember to have someone video me at practice. The last couple of classes we have been starting to get a good team feel (the same is true of the other dog- so I think it is me just crossing some agility learning milestone).
 
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Kyrah is a soft dog and will shut down quickly if harshly/over corrected. I will tell her in a neutral voice..."uh-oh" ; "yuck" or "lets try again". I have been with two instructors in my last classes that prefer to ignore mistakes and on the weaving I noticed a change in Kyrah. She didnt seem to worry as much if she messed up and would keep going. Kinda like what brw1982 said she seems to know when she messes up and comes back to redo it. IMO she understands better if I say uh-oh and have her redo her mistake. When its mine... I tell her sorry lets let mommie try again and give her lots of praise and pats. LOL
 

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Get the bunnies!
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One of my friends has a VERY soft border collie that just kept getting slower and slower weaves... Once she stopped the NRMs when the dog went wrong, weaving started getting fast again!
 
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#1 Stunner
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I use them. I agree, seems to me that they help the dog better understand what's being asked of them. I just use a short sound that sounds like "aht." Java seems to appreciate it, if anything, and pick up on things faster. Violet has some can't-be-wrong frustration issues where she will shut down/start frustration barking if she gets something wrong - but she does that with or without a NRM, she does that even if I just ignore it, so that's another matter.
 

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i use them - but i am a firm believer in telling my dog when they are right, when they are wrong, and when they are trying but just not correct but still giving effort. i use NRM's for effort mistakes, but not for disobedience. if my dogs are disobedient, i correct. if they are trying just get something wrong, i will break off an exercise and reset them

the only exception is teaching heeling - because i teach heads up heeling, and i wont correct a young dog learning while in heel position, AND i wont heel without heads up, if my dogs are wrong i don't physically say anything, but i break myself out of heel. as they progress i will let them hit the end of the leash but hopefully they never get that far out of heel. when learning, i will just lure them back and start over.

cherry gets corrected verbally for sniffing. but she also breaks heel position so i break off and reset her. Cb - YouTube

chill gets a legit correction here - i grab his face and tell him to leave it. his mother is extremely clapping reactive and we've worked on this in the past with chill, so when someone else clapped and it caught his attention, i corrected him. Chill3 - YouTube
 
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