Friday, November 12, 2010

Reinforcer Terminology

Has anyone else noticed that people use different words to describe food reinforcers?

Treats: This is what I usually say. I try to say "reinforcer" when talking about everything in general, but when we're talking about a specific activity and the owner is using food... "treat." Or I'm specific "Feed a piece of the cheese".

Cookies: This is one I've heard forever but I don't like to use. Maybe it's because I can't bring myself to put hamburger and tuna into the same category as chocolate chip cookies. I also think this has more of a negative connotation in some ways... yes we all like cookies... but the term also means "don't eat more than one or two..." [I personally don't follow that rule!] and "it's not the most healthy thing to eat." In reality a lot of the dog treats we use are health or at least not unhealthy.

Snacks: This is one a 4-H'er used... "Do I give him snacks?!" And it took me a moment to realize he was talking about his treats. Everyone knows snacks are important and they can be healthy or unhealthy... so maybe it's a better term?

Candy: This is a new one for me... the student was also a bit worried about feeding her dog, getting small enough reinforcers,and using a high rate of reinforcement. Not a term I will often be using but it did let me understand more about how she's feeling about reinforcement.

How else do people talk about treats?

I have stories about Thundershirts, placement of reinforcer, manners minder and agility, and multiple books I finished reading.


Robin Sallie said...

I use reward, but "candy," a new to me term, made me smile.

Megan said...

A lot of people at work say "cookies" but a few say "treat." Of course, this is a said with a high pitched voice, so I'm not sure the dogs differentiate anyways.

I think I tend to say treat, if I say anything at all. I'll have to think about that though.