Although we are inclined to train through a behaviour-centric process by focussing our skills and abilities on the changing, modifying or building of behaviour, the dog is a consequence-centric learner – what are you going to pay me with, when can I collect it and how will it be delivered?
We learn to use a rich and varied series of rewards that involve different types of pleasure for the dog: anticipation, consumption, quantity, activities, interaction, innate behaviours. By having a range of protocols at our finger tips we can select what is appropriate for this behaviour, at this time, for this individual. This ensures we match the reward for the right type of effort and ensure future repetition of the selected behaviour with a beneficial emotional response. A re-generating motivation that keeps us and the dog in the game.
“Shopping” is a protocol of using food station (s) where the dog is rewarded from a source not carried or worn by the trainer. It blows apart the “three second rule”, and extends the value and the experience of pleasure for the dog.
By giving space around the reward delivery we can begin to see so much more as the dog returns to continue the training. Can we see the increasing engagement and energy or is fatigue beginning? Is the dog performing because of the potential of reward or the presence of rewards?
We can train without needing to wear food or be food dispensers, we become companions in the collection process.
The dog learns new skills of travelling with us to their reward station and learns to by-pass other potential opportunities. It teaches great focus, connection and a deeper understanding of separating the reward from the behaviour.
This is a key concept for dogs who will need to work without the direct or immediate rewards, whether food or toys we can build delayed reinforcement without stress or uncertainty.
Truly delicious – Harrods, Waitrose, take your pick, this is shopping that you will enjoy!
Participants will learn how to prepare the environment, select the appropriate rewards, teach the concept to the dog, build the process, evaluate what learning is taking place and adapt the learning to new conditions.
The course will be hosted on the Learning About Dogs virtual site. Additional log in details will be sent out on Jan 1st. The lesson begins will begin at 1800, 6pm (GMT) and continues over two weeks, with an addtional week for collation of material. You can upload videos for feedback during the two weeks.