Saturday, February 12, 2011

High Value Reinforcers

Typically we tell students to use high value reinforcers, especially in class, especially in distracting environments, and especially for super important behaviors. We talk about how to determine what is how value and to be clever and to check and see if your dog actually likes things as much as you think he does.

But then we also need to have Super Special Reinforcers to use sparingly. We can use these for the very best responses, as surprises, and to increase the quality of the response. There's an increase in brain activity when this unexpected reinforcer happens. This can help strengthen the response.

Using high value reinforcers in general can help promote learning and create a strong reinfocement history.

We also talk about using all of a dog's meals for training or in enrichment toys. We talk about how this can increase the value of the food but also help get in more training repetitions. And sometimes people bring kibble to class. And sometimes it's great but sometimes it's not. And what if other food would be higher value? Even though we're getting good responses, what would happen if we're using something even better?

And then there are some instructors who tell you to start out with medium-low level reinforcers and save the best stuff for later. Even if your dog is not doing as well right now. What does that mean? It's good to have something else later, but what happens to your behaviors now?

And I know about all of this and think about it all. And then what did I take to town today when I was training dogs? Kibble and one piece of sausage.

That said, things went well. It was as an exercise and enrichment activity mostly, b ut we did some response to name and recalls with Blaze and Luna, and then Griffin also did some training. Formal recalls and Stand For Exam. And heeling. And stays. He was cute.

It will be almost 60 late next week, I can't wait!

1 comment:

Catalina said...

I wish Tibby would work for kibble. She spits it out and looks at me like, "Why? What did I do wrong?"