Thursday, December 9, 2010

Training Myth: Clicker training is one way of training

I'm surprised how often I hear this objection to clicker training. Some people are concerned about being limited to only one way to train, with one training plan, and what may happen if this doesn't work.

The more I learn, the more distressed I get because there are so many ways to teach a behavior and I don't know which is the most efficient in general, let alone in specific scenarios.

Regardless of how 'positive' someone wants to be, learning good clicker training skills can only make a person a better trainer and more efficient. It's about learning to make a training plan (and follow it). Having good timing. Go step by step, one little piece at a time. When things don't go well, make it easier or adjust the environment. Reinforce desirable behaviors. Have a plan for how to respond to errors.

But I just don't know how to respond when I hear that clicker training is "just one way" of doing things.


Let's see how many 'clickerly' different training plans or training variations we can come up with for the behavior "Go to mat/bed/something." I've been meaning to do this for months and it's just not been a priority, yet at the same time I'm continually wanting to reference numbers of variations for a behavior (...or more technically a set of behaviors here...). Be as brief or as detailed as you want.

I'll start with: Shaping, tossing the reinforcer away from the mat after each click.


Crystal said...

What do you mean by "clickerly"? Dog-friendly? "Positive"?

I generally think there are three "clickerly" ways to teach a behavior: lure, shape or capture, but some people are adament that luring doesn't count as "clickerly."

Kristen said...

Clickerly: Using a marker of some sort.

Luring, shaping, and capturing are three ways we can get the behavior.

I'll add in two more variations on shaping:

- Aim for it
- Reinforcer put on the mat after the click.

Kristen said...

And I guess it goes without saying... a list that's not R-/P+/P- suggestions.....

Kristen said...

I wish there was a way to edit comments....

Crystal said...

Me too. :)

Capturing: Put your dog at one end of the hallway, the mat in the middle, and you at the other end. Call your dog.

Put both of you on the same end of the hallway, the mat in the middle, toss a treat or toy (that's sort of luring, too, I guess).

Put the mat in your dog's crate or other preferred resting spot.