Primary reinforcers are the things that animals need for survival....the one we mostly utilize in training is food*.
Secondary reinforcers are anything else that can be reinforcing, often they are things we pair with primary reinforcers.
We worked on introducing a few different things as secondary reinforcers. For each one we said the word/did the action and then fed the dog five tiny treats. We repeated this 3-5 times for each one, enough so that I could see the kids were using the correct order.
- 1+ "magic words"
- Gently holding the collar
- 1+ types of specific petting (specific location, duration, intensity, number of pats)
And then we did a super short session on how we incorporate these into 'real' training. For behaviors the dogs know well (sit, down, shake, etc), the order of events: Give the Cue. Dog does the Behavior. Secondary Reinforcer. Primary Reinforcer. Again, we did it enough times so that I could see that the kids had the proper order of things.