Thursday, May 2, 2013

Conditioned Reinforcement With Your Dog - Dog Training Tips

Training your pet can be a very rewarding experience because you're are communicating and bonding with each other. Some can feel discouraged with training their pet because the animal is not understanding their commands as fast as they would like. This can cause the person to get upset which will discourage the pet.

Even this face can learn roll over, trust me human.

Making training a fun and positive experience is key. Your pet only wants to please you and they will love learning new tricks! Think of your pet as a human who doesn't know english and you have to communicate a command to them. If you think of it like that it seems like a very daunting task! This is why some trainers use a conditioned reinforcement.

Conditioned Reinforcement: A sound, an expression, or motion that is meaningless to your pet. With proper introduction however it can be used to teach the animal that at the exact moment they received the conditioned reinforcement they were doing what was being asked of them. By doing the correct action they will receive a reward for the wanted behavior.

For example: Clicker Training is a condition reinforcement. The trainer clicks the clicker which tells the dog it did the correct task and they will now receive a treat for it.

An easy introduction to Clicker Training.

You have conditioned reinforces all around you. You love getting tons of Facebook notifications even if most of them are game notifications. You had a teacher in school that when you raised your hand and answered a question right you got a piece of candy. This made you raise your hand very eagerly all the time even if you weren't sure if your answer was correct.  

In the video above I explain how it's important to 'load' the clicker. 

Loading The Clicker: Teaching the pet that after the conditioned reinforcer (In this case it's a click) the pet will always receive a treat. The pet will do anything in it's power to make the clicker click to receive the treat. That is when you can ask for the pet to perform commands to make the clicker click.

Tips with Clicker Training

  • Use the smallest amount of a treat as possible. Don't give the entire treat! Save them for big accomplishments. Make sure the treat is very yummy!
  • Never click the clicker without giving a treat! It will demotivate the animal making the conditioned reinforcement meaningless.
  • Always end the training session with play time. 
  • Training should be enjoyable for all parties. 

Your conditioned reinforcement does not have to be a clicker. It can be a whistle to free your hands or a command like 'Good boy/girl'. The reason Clicker trainers do not use a verbal command is because our tone of voice can vary drastically without you purposefully meaning for it to. Using a controlled noise such as a clicker or whistle helps bridge the language barrier. 

Alex Gaudino ft. Taboo - "I Don't Wanna Dance" - Work It Kitty

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© Faris Jaclyn I Littlest Pet Shop Photography

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