Sunday, February 3, 2013

Clicker Expo 2013: Ken Ramirez: Love It!

This was a lab for which Chimera and I had a working spot, but I was disappointed that we only "worked" twice. A few other dogs were asked to come up front a demo toward the end, but that was it. The rest of the lab was lecture, since it was a stand-alone session rather than lecture + lab afterwards.

focus today on two types: teaching novel reinforcers, using natural reinforcers

reinforcement substitutes, aka conditioned or learned reinforcers, eg, clapping, toys, tactile, play

establishing training currency
developing useful substitutes for food
like money in our society
and just like money, its value must be constantly maintained (if money suddenly couldn't buy you anything, you would no longer value it)
trainers have problems when value disappears from oy or play

3-6 months to turn novel stimulus into reinforcer
1. just pairing (with food)
2. pairing during training session, not as part of reward process, just between behaviors ("treat is as a behavior", after one c/t, do clap+treat, then continue training as usual)
3. use as part of reward process and pair after easy behavior (easy behavior, click, clap, treat)
4. use (paired) after more difficult behavior
5. eventually use without primary/pairing, then next behavior gets primary reinforcer
6. use more often without pairing

think of it as a behavior
animal remains calm as you offer novel stimulus
reinforce it often and well

incorporate into training
continue to use it and strengthen it
continue to treat it as a behavior for the animal's life

toy is secondary reinforcer
what they get to DO with the toy is the primary reinforcer
get paired with primary reinforcer of fun activity

pair short game of tug with long game of tug if dog likes longer game rather than short reps
same method

animals develop expectations about reinforcers based on how and when trained (ie, always rewarding a particular behavior with food, animal won't want play as a reward)
can be changed systematically

During our working session, we first had the opportunity to pair a novel stimulus with a primary reinforcer. I did a thumbs up and paired it with chicken. During the second session, when we were talking about play as a secondary reinforcer, Ken asked us to do a regular play training session with our dogs, and he went around and selected a few to demo good examples of play as a reinforcer. (Elissa Cline and Habbit demoed his crazy jumping for the ball hanging from a rope.) Cai was willing to play with me for just a few seconds at a time and then he would disengage and look around, so I let him do that and focused on relaxing myself and having fun with whatever he wanted to do. And that was it for our working spot...

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