tratto da  K-949: Training for Humans with Dogs

I loI Love this example  ” I switched from cheese to bacon and he cut his time in half”

10014679_614971738571529_1782081972761964989_n Reinforcement is defined by your dog.

Just because you give your dog kibble when he/she performs a behavior – or even something you *might* think is high-value, such as chicken or cheese – your dog ultimately is the one who makes the decision whether that reward is reinforcing or not. If the behavior you are rewarding is not increasing, then the treats (or whatever reward) you are using may not be reinforcing the behavior you want.

Reinforcement only occurs if the dog’s behavior increases in the future. For example, if you ask your dog to sit for a piece of cheese and he begins to offer sitting behavior more often, then he did find your cheese reinforcing. If, however, you offer him kibble for the same behavior but you do not notice that he begins to offer a “sit” more often, perhaps the kibble isn’t a high enough value reward.

If you give me $5 to go to the gym for a half hour, there’s a great chance I won’t bother going. But, if you offer me $100 to go for a half hour, I’ll be there with bells on.

Remember, our dogs define what they find reinforcing, and keep in mind that this can change – sometimes I would jump through hoops for lobster, other times I find lobster unappealing and I want steak instead (sorry, vegans).

Always be aware of what your dog will optimally work for in any given scenario, and use that as a reward to teach new behaviors. If your dog begins to offer the behavior you are rewarding more frequently, then he/she does, in fact, find the reward you are using reinforcing. If the behavior does not increase, try a different reward.

I had a stunning Staffie in one of my classes who wouldn’t work for anything but apples. Yep…no amount of meat-based treats or any toys motivated this angel – just apples.


Every dog is different. What is your dog’s most favorite treat, and are there times he/she prefers to work for something different?


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