Teaching McKee to “Match to Sample” – The beginning

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to start training “match to sample” with McKee. I have an overall basic outline but I’m not quite sure of how I want to approach some of the logistics.

To start I want to have McKee standing in front of me about 3 feet away. He needs to be able to stand while I present an item, then go touch the matching item and then come back to our starting stance, lined up in front of me.

I’ve decided to use a small board, on which he can place his front feet, which will serve as a spot marker; he can leave me to go touch or pick up an item and then return to this board.

Another reason I choose to use a wooden board is because McKee has been taught to go find a scented mat and paw twice.  I really don’t want to mess up  that behavior so I’m choosing to use a surface which is distinctly different.

McKee already has a strong auto-stationing behavior, so this part is pretty easy for him, but I want to give the board a specific cue for this behavior. To that end, tonight I started to use the verbal cue “Step up” as he went to station on the board.

I asked him to do several other behaviors and then cued him to go “step up” on the board. I think this part of the training should go pretty quickly, but since it’s such foundation behavior for the trick, I don’t want to gloss over this phase either.

More to come…


About clickertraininghorses - Peggy Hogan

I teach people and train horses using positive reinforcement. The horses I work with are given choice, the freedom to volunteer behavior. The joy is that they strive to volunteer what works for both of us.
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