Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Timing is important - but so is reward placement

Regardless of what venue I am training in I have noted a lot of emphasis on the timing of the reward. Timing is important but often the location of the reward source is often overlooked.  I worked with a handler who had an obedience heeling problem. Her dog lagged. She was unaware of her habit of reaching behind her to reward - guess where dog's heel position was? Half a step behind her. Another dog bounced VERY high in heel position sometimes hitting the handler in the face. Handler was rewarding her high in order to keep her up.

Similar to detection training. If we always provide the reward at the source of the odor - the dog will stay at the source of the odor. It is not about fooling the dog into thinking that the reward comes from the source. Dogs perform a great many behaviors knowing that the reward comes from the handler. However if he learns to expect the reward at the source of odor that is where he is going to stay. A detection dog who wont leave the source of the odor ~ what a problem to have!

In addition to proper timing, it's important to remember:
Dogs will learn to go to the place where their reward will be received.

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