How to reward your dog – Part 2

Written By: Jim russell - Aug• 13•13

We are continuing the dog training from our last module, and this is the actual military working dog information i was taught when i was an air force dog handler many years ago. After you finish thisinformation you will be able to begin reward training with any dog.

(4) Variable Ratio Reward Schedule. Once the dog has learned to perform on a high fixed ratio reward schedule, the variable ratio schedule is used. The maximum number of responses required by this schedule must have been learned by the dog on a fixed ratio schedule. Select a range of responses required (example: five to ten responses) and reward the dog on a random basis within this range. Example: The dog has learned to respond correctly 15 times on a fixed ratio reward schedule. Reward the dog somewhere between 5 and 10 correct responses on a random basis. The dog learns it must correctly respond at least 5 times but will not be required to respond correctly more than 10 times to get a reward. This reward schedule, once attained, gives you greater control of your dog’s behavior than the continuous or the fixed ratio reward schedule.

(5) Fixed Interval Reward Schedule. A reward is given when the dog is required to respond for a fixed period of time. In initial training, a short period of time must be selected. If the dog does not respond correctly, a shorter period of time must be selected until the dog responds correctly to get a reward. As in the fixed ratio reward schedule, short periods of time (5 seconds), are added to the interval and the dog is required to attain 100 percent accuracy at each interval. If the dog fails to respond correctly for the required length of time, adjust the time requirement of a response to a lower time requirement.

NOTE: In initial dog training, you must attend to a fixed interval reward schedule with a continuous reward schedule, a fixed ratio reward schedule, or a variable ratio reward schedule. You are always on two schedules at the same time. Example: When you ask your dog to “SIT” and he responds by sitting, you reward the dog with vocal or petting praise. In this case, you are using a continuous reward schedule. The reward is given immediately as the dog responds. As you successively delay the reward, the dog learns that the request to “SIT” also has a time limit. The reward given satisfied the continuous reward and the fixed interval requirement.

(6) Variable Interval Reward Schedule. Once the dog has learned to perform any task for a specified period of time on a fixed interval reward schedule (“STAY” in the “SIT” or “DOWN” position for a 3 minutes) the variable interval schedule is used. Select a time range (1 to 2 minutes) and reward the dog on a random basis within this time period. Example: The dog has learned to respond correctly for 3 minutes on a fixed interval reward schedule. Reward the dog somewhere between the 1 and 2 minute time requirement on a random basis. The dog will learn that it must respond for at least 1 minute and will not be required to respond longer than 2 minutes to obtain a desired reward. This reward schedule, once attained, gives you greater control of your dog’s behavior than the fixed interval reward schedule.

So there you have the reward training info. Read it over a few times till you get the basic idea of how each schedule works. It will put you way ahead of most dog trainers if you know this information. Next module i will teach you Avoidance Training and give you a bonus lesson about understanding the mechanics of your dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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