Resource Management

Positive trainers manage their dogs resources and dole them out consequently dependent upon behavior. Good behavior earns access to resources bad or unwanted behavior leads to nothing.

Your job as a handler is to manage the resources your dog wants and grant access to those resources based upon your dog’s behavior. You tell them when you like their behavior with the positive markerA Positive Marker is a signal that is used to communicate the exact instant that a behavior is correct and that predicts a positive consequence. A click of the clicker is a Positive Marker in clicker training. A verbal Positive Marker is also commonly used,”Yes!” being the most popular. Usage of a Positive Marker great speeds up learning and also... and then grant them access to a resource they desire as the consequence. If you don’t like their behavior you withhold the resource they want until you get an acceptable behavior.

When the dogThe Dog is a player archetype defined by The Dog. There are always a few canine athletes that really separate themselves from the pack. Many great disc dog teams have relied a great deal on The Dog, and many people build an entire style around that unique, once in a lifetime athlete. Any player archetype who executes should, in theory,... realizes that pulling toward the tree doesn’t work, but eye contactUnsolicited eye contact or Attention is a great way to hook up with a dog. If you have something the dog wants he should give eye contact in order to get access to it. This quickly becomes akin to asking permission for things that the dog wants. If your dog offers Attention when they see something they want, most dog... and a nice sit get him there every time, then the dog stops pulling for the tree and instead offers a sit and eye contact.

When the dog realizes that bolting throughA Through is a set up move where the dog runs between the handler’s legs. The dog can move from front to back or side to side and can even weave. A Through can be done in both the clockwise and counter clockwise directions.... an open door doesn’t lead to the freedom of outside, but sitting and eye contact get him out every time, the bolting behavior stops and the sit and eye contact happens instead.

When the dog realizes that holding on to the disc is a behavioral dead end but dropping on cue makes the nextNext is an important feature in a fast paced game. Everything hinges upon Next. If you like the game, then Next is important to you. When a dog loves to play disc Next, the next trick, opportunity, or movement, is  a great motivator. Next can be a Cookie. Next can be offered consequently, as positive reinforcement for good behavior, and... disc fly, the dog spits the disc out on cue.

The resources that you want to manage are the ones that your dog finds attractive. You do not get to choose what motivates your dog, but you do get to choose how to use those things that do motivate them.

In the above situations You reinforced the good behavior with access to the resource the dog wanted at the time leading them to believe that their good behavior earned what they wanted in the first place, but you can also substitute a resource they desire in exchange for the resource they are expecting. You can reinforce the sit with eye contact with a cookieA Cookie is traditionally thought of as a food treat given as positive reinforcement. In that definition, a cookie is a discrete piece of food reinforcement. In many dog training discussions, the idea of the Cookie is a bit less discrete and encompasses more types of reinforcers than food. The term Cookie is often verbal or metaphorical shorthand for dog... even though all they really want is to pea on the tree. You can reinforce with a bite and tug for sitting and giving eye contact at the door. It doesn’t matter that the dog really wanted out and only gave you the eye contact to get out the door. All that matters is that good behaviors create the opportunity for good consequences.

Your dog should wind up believing that their behavior creates and affects their opportunity. Good behaviors create opportunity for the dog to earn reinforcement. Dogs don’t earn the right to a cookie so much as they create the opportunity that earns the cookie.

In the game of disc, access to the handler, the energy level of the game, to a bite, to chase, or catch, access to the next trick are all valuable resources and can all be used to motivate and reinforce our dog. You need to manage these resources and dole them out for good behavior.

The Path to All That’s Good Runs Through the Handler