Some trainer I am ...
|Cookie can hunt for mice for hours every day.|
What is intermittent reinforcement?
It simply means rewarding the performed behavior only some of the time. Sometimes a sit gets a treat and sometimes it doesn't. Simple enough. But why would one want to do that and why would it work? Wouldn't it just discourage the dog from working?
When teaching something new, reinforcement should come as quickly as possible and every time the dog does the behavior you want.
This makes them learn faster.
Once the behavior is learned, though, skipping the treat every so often IS actually enforcing the behavior. That sounds very counter-intuitive, doesn't it?
Intermittent reinforcement actually makes the dog respond faster and more reliably. But why?
Some people compare intermittent reinforcement to casino slot machines. The fact that they might spit out some money eventually is what makes them addictive.
Works on people but would such concept work on dogs?
But it already does and has been since ever!
It finally clicked in my brain, watching Cookie mouse hunt.
She can spend hours doing it. Day after day after day. It's what she loves doing most of all things. She doesn't catch one every time. She catches one every now and then. (She'd probably be more successful if she eventually wasn't called off to go home) Her drive is amazing. She'll keep searching, pursuing, digging ... doesn't get tired of that.
Now, hunting is something that comes with the genes. But obviously she doesn't have to hunt to survive; I think it's the greatest entertainment for her.
We inadvertently use intermittent reinforcement all the time, to our disadvantage.
Does your dog pull on the leash?
Dogs pull on the leash to get to where they want to go and to get there faster. To train a dog not to pull on the leash, the principle is simple - if it doesn't get them to where they want to go, they'll stop doing it.
If it NEVER gets them to where they want to go. Duh!
But SOMETIMES it does, doesn't it? It is difficult to be hundred percent consistent with this, particularly if you're trying to get to the same place they are, just not fast enough. And yes, I'm guilty of this too. Sometimes just there isn't time to keep stopping or turning around if you need to be somewhere. Or is that just an excuse?
But I understand that until I work up to hundred percent consistency in my feedback to my dog, I can't expect them not to keep trying.
Does your dog beg at the table?
Does your dog EVER get a piece of yummy something during dinner time? Even just once in a blue moon? Then they'll keep trying. We actually did get this one worked out. Our dogs get their dessert after we're done eating and never during the meal. And they wait patiently. But the smallest slip and you have a dog begging at the table.
|In the kitchen, stuff often "falls of the counter," making the guys very keen on helping.|
Does your dog bark for attention?
Do you ever give in because you can't stand it any more? Did that teach your dog not to give up because you'll fold sooner or later, at least sometimes?
Intermittent reinforcement teaches persistence, whether you wanted that or not.
Now, when I finally wrapped my brain around this idea, I better put it to work for ME. What about you?
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat
Observation Skills Of Dogs
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone?
Dog Training And Emotions
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy?
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT)
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Who Is In The Wrong?
Your Dog Wants To Follow You. You Just Gotta Be Going Some Place
We Still Have Two Dogs: A "Pilot Study" Part Two
Early Winter Safety: Exploring New Territories
Cookie Is Okay. We ... Might Be, Eventually. (Don't Try This At Home)
One Thing I Love About Winter: I See What They "See"
Give Your Dog What They Need, Get What You Want
Cookie, The First Of The Great Hunting Rottweilers
Distance Is a Relative Concept
Dog Communication: Be Good to Cookie or She'll Tell on You
The Benefit of the Doubt
Putting The Guilty Dog Look To Rest?
The Stench of Fear: Is There Good and Bad Timing for Vet Visits?
I am a Helicopter Dog Mom
Routines: Easy Come, Hard to Go
Things Always Change: Cookie's Hunting Adventures
The Advantage of Your Dog Not Barking All the Time: Cookie Saves Horses' Asses
"Look at That" (LAT) Game and Barking at Traffic
The Role of Thresholds in Dog Training and Behavior
Dog Days of Summer: Keeping an Eye on Cookie
Dog Days of Summer: Cookie Gets Her SprinklerThe Evolution of My View on What Is and Isn't Dirty
Not F***ing Cheerios, That's for Sure
Hi, My Name Is "No", What's Yours?
Dogs, Porcupines, Wasps and Learning
Using Food in Training
Extinction and Intermittent Reinforcement