reinforcing a give with a drop

Reinforcing a Give with a Cued Drop

Epic has a pretty crappy give. A few weeks ago that crappy Give cost us more than a few points in a big worldwide contest – “Not Cool, Eppie!” and not cool, Ron… It’s been a problem that I’ve dealt with since we started working and it really isn’t that big a deal to me as I don’t really care too much about Toss n Fetch, the extra 3-5 seconds it costs us hasn’t been worth the effort to focus on the skill – there’s so much more to learn and work on… Well, that’s about to change…

Drop and Give

While Eppie has a crappy Give, he’s got an Epic Drop.

The idea in this session and with this method is to create a high rate of reinforcement and to conflate the Drop and Give. The end result should be rapid fire action as long as Eppie is complying with the cues. If he wants to go fast and have fun, he’s got to do da Give as fast as he does da Drop… Dose are da rules… 😉

Rate of Reinforcement aka: Cookies Per Minute (CPM)

I’m using the term Cookie loosely to mean a reinforcer. It’s a nice, compartmentalized metaphor that is easy to process and simplifies many complex pieces of reinforcement. Discs are cookies. Bites are Cookies. Throws and Rollers are cookies. Chasing the disc is a cookie. Activated handlers are cookies. And Next is a cookie. Next is not only a cookie, it is THE Cookie™.

Next is the cookie I’m really playing on here to make it more likely for Eppie to Give on cue. At this stage of the game I’m just laying the foundation of rapid fire cookies and creating a high rate of reinforcement with many CPM to give him the idea that Giving is Good…

If I simply worked the Give itself, or made long tosses like we’ll actually use in Toss and Fetch, the CPM will be too low to matter. By creating a really high CPM I create a strong motivator – “Do it right and you get Next.” This strong motivator will be thrown off if Eppie does not comply with my Give Cue.

Leveraging the Energy Level of the Game

The energy level of the game is a cookie. It is closely related to Next, but is not nearly as discrete and concrete. In order to leverage the energy level of the game I have to shape and create it through the rate of reinforcement. A high CPM = exciting game, a low CPM = boring game.

Once Eppie has experienced the high CPM game he should want to play it. If he wants to play that game, he’s gotta Give the disc when I ask.

I’ve done another round in this method that we’ll feature in DiscDogger Weekly #12 with a bit of a wrinkle, and will do a few more, after which I’ll try to leverage that high CPM game towards the give with a different approach and structure.

Stay tuned…

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  1. Thanks… We are having a bit of a problem with the pattern train… have to do some proper give work in “off field” situations, I think…