Monday, 25 May 2009

DOG TRAINING IN PRACTISE: Teaching conditioned reinforcer to the dog

Dog training should be fun but also effective. Using positive reinforcement requires that we can "tell" the dog precisely when it is doing something right. If we use only unconditioned reinforcer (for example food and toys), particularly teaching new things to the dog, reinforcing could be inaccurate and too slow. Trainer rewards the dog always few seconds too late. Conditioned reinforcer (for example clicker, some sound or light) makes dog training much more faster and effective. Utilizing classical conditioning we can teach to the dog that some kind of sound signal predicts a reward.

You can use any kind of reward, however food is often simplest. Play the sound signal of your choice (clicker, good-word, whistle etc.) and then give a reward to the dog. Pay attension that for example your hand doesn´t move until the sound signal ends. Repeat it many times and remember to take breaks. Add some kind of distractions to the learning situations step by step, for example train your dog in different kind of places. Other people and dogs are also good distractions. Remember that when a new distraction comes along, your dog could stay and stare it/those. Deliver the reward still and don´t repeat the sound signal! Finally you can test the signal by playing it when dog is looking somewhere else. If your dog immediately looks at you and comes to you, it has learned the signal.

I speak in next
dog training in practise-articles how to teach your dog some new tricks by using conditioned reinforcer!

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