As dog trainers we need to be sensitive to the concept of pressure.
As our dog gets better at learning or when the skill we’re working gets stronger we need to move to a variable reinforcement schedule. 2 behaviors for 1 cookie. 2:1… 3:1… 20:1 depending on where we’re at in the development of this skill.
Criteria is an extremely important component of dog training, possibly the most important. Setting clear and appropriate criteria allows the handler to teach the skills we want our dogs to learn quickly and efficiently.
Traditional positive training says that we should shoot for 15-30 rewards per minute for learning and tough challenges. That’s a cookie every 2-4 seconds. A high rate of reinforcement of success creates a snowball effect. It becomes easier and easier to succeed. Successful performance of a behavior becomes habit.
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.
The definition of an Operant animal is an animal that understands behavior affects consequence.
A Positive Marker is an excellent tool for communication. Pinpointing and isolating the action that is to be reinforced gives us a tremendous boost in understanding and dramatically speeds up the learning process. The positive marker is used to communicate the exact moment that a behavior was correct.
These are standard Positive Training principles with a little Pawsitive Vybe flavor added to them – and the mindmap is just really cool. It’s a work in progress and a tool I’m using to organize my thoughts. I thought I’d share…
Be sure to check out the ‘Outline’ format, and if you’re interested… Download X-Mind, an awesome mindmapping software. Here’s a larger version.
Understanding Criteria for success before we go out and try to achieve succes is vital to said success. That should be a no brainer. But speaking for myself, I know that I often go out and train without a clear set of criteria. If we go out and train without a plan, the key is to get our criteria set quickly. Essentially freeshaping our session. Get an idea of what you are looking for then grab it. Set that criteria … Read More »
Rhythm has a tendency to explode into the environment when he’s asked to work – marking everything, sniffing everything, hustling up on people, etc – essentially working everything but his handler and Frisbees. The environment is extremely stimulating for this little guy…
One of the goals as a professional dog trainer is to have a simple, accessible philosophy that can be communicated easily and applied fairly simply by clients that are new to dog training.
One of the ways we do that as Positive Trainers is to speak very loosely and throw the words cookie, reward and reinforcement around and help our clients understand that this positive dog training stuff is simple.
“Mark for behavior, reward for position.”
“It’s simple, but not easy,” I often say to our clients as their dogs respond magically to most things that Apryl or I ask of them, “we just mark for behavior and reward for position.”
After a while this need for simplicity changes. Our clients start to dial things in, the dogs become little learning machines and the criteria required to deliver clear communication and understanding through marker … Read More »