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Lumping and Splitting Criteria- A Dog Training Model Showing Distance, Duration and Distraction

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Lumpers are trainers who tend to ask for too many criteria all at once. criteria all at once The most common criteria considered in training are distance, duration and distraction. Extreme lumpers ask the animals to perform a new behavior with two or three of these criteria together. Unless they are training a very smart and focused animal and one that generalizes well, this sets them up for failure. Splitters not only train one criterion at a time, they also break each criterion into small enough bits so the animal can have a high success rate. In this example, once the basic behavior is trained, distance from the trainer can be added in increments. One foot away, two feet away, three feet away etc. Next, duration can be trained in the same way with no distance involved. One second, two seconds, three seconds on up. Back to the basic behavior and distractions are added, ideally one at a time. There’s no requirement for distance or duration. Once the animal is successful with each criterion separately, the trainer can start to combine two criteria together. Each combination of two is trained together. Once all possible pair combinations have been trained, all three criteria can be added together.So, are you a lumper or a splitter? A great test is to look at how successful your animal is in learning. Does he show signs of frustration or stress? Try splitting your criteria into smaller steps. Practice:What criteria are involved in training a dog to go mat and stay there? To improve your training skills, try training an animal that needs you to split criterion beyond what you currently do. .

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