Sunday, August 8, 2010

Petting as a Reinforcer

Over the last day we've been running an experiment of sorts. Any sticky targets or head-on-ground (when within my arm reach!) will get some petting/scratching. Sometimes I will pet for a long time, usually just a quick scratch, pause, and re-scratch if head is still in position.

And what has happened? Sticky targets have increased. By a lot! Griffin is coming over and his first interaction is to sticky target my arm or lap. It's especially adorable if he's standing and does not sit/down first.

Petting is more reinforcing than I expected. Griffin is learning how to solicit attention. And he is asking for it more often.

I don't expect this to be effective at the park or out in public and probably not even outside. But it's adding to what we have available, increasing our interactions, and adding to the reinforcement history for sticky targets. And it's just cute.

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