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Thread: Sloppy training - not phasing out treats

  1. #1
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    Default Sloppy training - not phasing out treats

    I have been telling myself I need to phase out treats for basic stuff for ages, but I just haven't done it. There always seems to be some vague reason why I decide to just keep giving treats for everything.

    And today I got reminded about how counterproductive that is for behaviours that have long been enforced. Because I had run out of treats. And when I called Banjo on our walk, she became more enthusiastic in coming to me as time progressed. As if she was saying "Surely THIS time I'll get one?!". She even did a perfect heel without me having to repeat the cue.

    So that's it! From tomorrow (or whenever I'll have treats again) I am focusing on reducing treats from once in every 2 times to once in every 3 and so on until we get to the 'occasionally' stage.

  2. #2
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    Random is good.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  3. #3
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    Instead of looking at phasing out treats, I concentrate on rewarding improvements only once the action is learned. If they keep improving then I keep treating.

    I know I don't like working unless I get paid, but I doubt I'd ask for a pay rise unless I put in more effort. A bonus also keeps me enthusiastic, (most trainers refer to this as jackpots in dog training).

    I know my dog training got so much better when I started to focus on a schedule of improvement rather than a schedule of reinforcement.

  4. #4
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    It could be considered like pokie machine payouts vs vending machine payouts.

    Most people who like these things will quit putting money into a vending machine that has suddently stopped paying out, way before they will quit putting money into a pokie machine that pays out randomly if at all.

  5. #5
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    I have been looking at my training of Pohm recently, and attempting to speed her up.

    Your comment to me about reinforcers needing to be phased out, caught me side blinded. When im treating, im still treating 50% of time with Bernie, and he's four yrs old! lol

    So with feed time. i have 2 bowls in hand, i say sit, bernie's is immediate and fast: reward is immediate and fast.
    Pohm just looks and starts walking backwards, i was just being still no eye contact and waiting for the sit, which produced marker and dinner.
    After your comment, i didnt bother to wait. Just walked off with her dinner. She'd follow, but i would make a point of not feeding for another 5 mins. Then redo exercise (by which time bernie is licking his lips and checking no missed bits of his meal. Again, "sit" to pohm, and guess who sat immediately? Pohm.

    MY timing and frequency of rewarding seriously needed tweaking. Im way to easy with rewards. Time to space it out and not reward for 'average' performance.

    With Bernie, who rarely gets time on a leash these days. I did some leash refresher stuff as daughter said he pulled her.
    I had zero tolerance for pulling, but instead of my previous 'you pull, i stop' i upped the anti and used the here suggested "you pull/i go in opposite direction" so more force i guess. And he knuckled under immediately.

    Im getting very lenient in my old age it seems. And it wasnt helping my dogs.

  6. #6
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    I wouldn't be overly concerned.

    I need to remember to reward average or better ie to a standard or for improvements.

    Sometimes I run out of treats and dog still wants something - so we play / test different command words for pats instead.

    And I have to be really wary of rewarding her for "indicating". I like that she indicates she wants something (like more dinner, my dinner or out the back door - sits and barks), but sometimes she's not getting whatever (my dinner) so she needs an off switch.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernie View Post
    I have been looking at my training of Pohm recently, and attempting to speed her up.

    Your comment to me about reinforcers needing to be phased out, caught me side blinded. When im treating, im still treating 50% of time with Bernie, and he's four yrs old! lol

    So with feed time. i have 2 bowls in hand, i say sit, bernie's is immediate and fast: reward is immediate and fast.
    Pohm just looks and starts walking backwards, i was just being still no eye contact and waiting for the sit, which produced marker and dinner.
    After your comment, i didnt bother to wait. Just walked off with her dinner. She'd follow, but i would make a point of not feeding for another 5 mins. Then redo exercise (by which time bernie is licking his lips and checking no missed bits of his meal. Again, "sit" to pohm, and guess who sat immediately? Pohm.

    MY timing and frequency of rewarding seriously needed tweaking. Im way to easy with rewards. Time to space it out and not reward for 'average' performance.

    With Bernie, who rarely gets time on a leash these days. I did some leash refresher stuff as daughter said he pulled her.
    I had zero tolerance for pulling, but instead of my previous 'you pull, i stop' i upped the anti and used the here suggested "you pull/i go in opposite direction" so more force i guess. And he knuckled under immediately.

    Im getting very lenient in my old age it seems. And it wasnt helping my dogs.
    When my daughter was about 3, I took my previous dog Luna to a trainer for help to try get her roo chasing under control (or rather her roo catching, which was way more unnerving). And one of the exercises the trainer suggested to enforce my daughter's position in the pecking order was for her to feed her and do a similar exercise. Only, without using any cues at all. My daughter would just stand there holding the bowl and not say anything. Until the dog sat and then she put the bowl down. If Luna broker her sit (which she rarely did), she would just pick up the bowl again and get back to standing there being boring. It was just incredibly cute to watch this mime! But I have heard the "put the bowl away if no immediate response" trick too.

    I am guilty of rewarding below average responses too. But now I am determined to not reward every behaviour, I can try to only reward the extra fast responses.

    Banjo sometimes just completely wraps me around her little toe by manipulating rewards out of me. I still have to really watch her with the suddenly launching herself at strangers. So the other day we were at the local shops and I was waiting for my daughter. I had Banjo off leash (I know, I know) and she was just standing next to me. Until she got bored and started walking up to the nearest stranger. So I said "Who's that", she came back to me immediately demanding a treat. And she kept doing this until after a while it was very clear that she only walked up to people to get a treat out of me as she started coming back when I'd only got to the 'Who'. I suspect she sometimes does this with other behaviours too. She triggers a cue to create an opportunity for reward. She is way smarter than I am...
    Last edited by Beloz; 08-17-2012 at 11:22 AM.

  8. #8
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    I change my rewards when my own dogs are past the basics.......I praise average with praise, slightly better with pet and praise, good with a treat if I have one or a more exited praise and pet.....but if we are really training and I get an awesome we do jack-pots...5-10 treats rapidly. And my dogs know when they are amazing, they get the look LOL.....
    I also now do the "promise" treat....When I do some obedience trial prac's and my water rescue training, I place a raw egg on the starting post, I show it to the dog I started by doing really short sessions and lengthened them bit by bit......Now we can do a whole trial and when they finish they get the egg. Two of mine love this anticipation, one does not cope with it. But when it works it works well. I even do it at a trial now. I place the reward box at the entrance and off we go. The only time they do not get it, is if they really blow it and are not trying. But even some mistakes are accepted as long as they are trying. It has made a huge difference with my newfies and Tessa. You also cannot train with food in the water, so I had to teach them to wait for the "promise". Mine get it........ I noticed a Golden person at some of the trials is doing the same

    I am still quite generous with rewards on long distance away from home recalls.......I still rely on those and will always have them with me. But I am finding that my dogs just love excitement and silly play as a reward.

    When I train with people and their dogs I try to get them started to focus on a schedule of improvement rather than a schedule of reinforcement. And I also tell them to keep their dogs forever hopeful for a treat and sometimes treat the unexpected jackpot.
    Pets are forever

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