Reward Training M-4

Written By: Jim russell - Aug• 03•13

Reward training is one of two methods used to train dogs to do tasks on command. The dog must learn how to get a vocal reward or a petting reward by performing a task. Learning is a change in behavior due to practice and not associated with fatigue or maturation. Vocal and petting rewards must have value to the dog for reward training to be effective. Socialization of dog and dog handler in initial training is designed to gain reward value of both vocal and petting praise.
Reward training is one way of allowing the dog to learn right from wrong. When the dog makes a correct or near correct response, it gets a reward. When the dog does not respond or makes an incorrect response, it does not get a reward.
Reward Schedules:
(1) Continuous Reward Schedule (CRS). A reward (vocal or petting praise) is given immediately when the dog makes a correct or near correct response. Helping the dog to assume a particular stance is allowed, but remember to reward the dog while it is in position. Dogs initially making near correct responses are rewarded as they make subsequent responses nearer and nearer to the correct response. Shaping the dog to make the correct response requires a slight delay in giving your dog a reward. An excessive delay of a reward does not help the dog learn a task and may lead to frustration. Be very careful with the reward delay time period.
(2) Extinction Schedule (EXT). No reward is ever given when the dog makes no response or an incorrect response. Using this schedule with the continuous reward schedule in initial training provides information to the dog; the dog learns the right response from the wrong response. If the reward is of sufficient value to the dog, the dog will select the right response to get the reward.
NOTE: The dog must do each task with 100 percent accuracy before proceeding to the fixed ratio and variable ratio reward schedules.
(3) Fixed Ratio Reward Schedule (FR). A reward is given to the dog after it makes two or more correct responses. The two or more responses do not necessarily have to be the same responses. To start a dog on this schedule, every second correct response is rewarded. When the dog consistently makes two responses to get a reward, three responses can then be required. By increasing the number of responses one at a time and allowing the dog to perform at each level with 100 percent proficiency, a high fixed ratio reward schedule can be reached. If the proficiency is inadequate at any time, decrease the number of responses required by the dog to get a reward. Then proceed as before, adding one response at a time and require the dog to perform at each level with 100 percent accuracy.
(a) Example 1. Continuous reward schedule correct response = reward. Extinction Schedule: Incorrect response = no reward.
(b) Example 2. Fixed Ratio Reward Schedule:
2 correct responses = 1 reward
3 correct responses = 1 reward
4 correct responses = 1 reward
NOTE: The dog must perform each step at the 100 percent accuracy level before going on to the next step. If a dog does not perform correctly on a four or three response requirement, return to a two or one response requirement.
We will continue reward training in the next module, i realize it appears technical so i will break it up as much possible, as not to overload you with too much at one sitting. See you then.

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