Dog Myth Nr. 1: Clicker Trained Dogs Only “Work” for Treats

Traditional so-called “balanced” dog trainers and other old-school trainers pooh-pooh clicker training, saying that the dogs will only work for treats. Well, just because they say this, doesn’t mean that it’s true. There is a difference between: Teaching a behavior – using the +R and only if necessary the -P operant conditioning quadrants to introduce and establish a behavior. +R means adding a reinforcer (=reward=anything the dog likes, not necessarily food) after the behavior so that the probability of the behavior being repeated is increased. -P means taking away something after the behavior so that the probability of a behavior being repeated is decreased. +R (reinforcer) is given when the behavior was successfully completed. -P (punishment) is applied – for example the withholding of an expected reward – if the behavior was not correctly performed. and Training a behavior – once taught (see above) using a fixed schedule of rewards, one practices by on the one hand decreasing the quality of rewards and gradually the frequency of rewards, using vocal bridge motivations like “good job!”, “great”, “yes” instead of actual rewards. Since the dog has learned that these are positive in nature, they are not found to be -P punishments by the dog. The goal is to reduce the frequency of rewards to the point that bridge words are usually enough (praise) with only sporadic treats or play rewards actually being given. This films shows the results of this teaching and training in a

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