Thursday, April 9, 2009


If you are not a member of the Susan Garrett e-mail list, I suggest you subscribe. During the month of March SG shared a tip a day. This month she shares a podcast. I had a chance to listen to it last night.

The key point:

Reinforcement builds behavior.

Such a no brainer and yet how difficult is it to remember?

People are so quick to stop when an error is made. People reward ENDS rather than tough, good choices.

I am so lucky that my primary agility trainer (Katrin) works this philosophy.

I think EVERYONE can benefit from listening to this podcast, but particularly those who train complex behaviors. Sometimes when we are running a course or sequence in class (the optimal time to make mistakes) we get tunnel vision about finishing the sequence - it is SO much more important to stop and GIVE YOUR DOG A COOKIE (as Katrin would yell) when they do something right.


Katrin said...

STOP and "give your dog a cookie" the be all and end all of my agility training program! :-P haha.

Jules said...

It's a key point!! And people get such tunnel vision - hence the need for a bullhorn. Oh, Nancy....

Diana said...

Yes we have all been to class where the instructor is yelling, "reward the dog". But I dont know if this happens in your class ,but sometimes people still keep going. Maybe they are so focused on what they are doing they dont here the instructor. I dont know, but I find it weird. If they dont hear the instructor,are they listening at all? Diana

Jules said...

yes, I see it happen in my classes too. I think they just can't hear because they are so focused. One of Katrin's students has a bull horn (her husband was a Police Officer). We often joke that Katrin needs to borrow it again (Nancy did lend it to her once!).

I think though that a lot of students don't *get* why they should be stopping and rewarding (the BIG picture). So maybe it is selective hearing. It seems simplistic, but if they *got* it - they would train themselves to do it. Although I can attest the retraining oneself doesn't happen overnight! :-p

That is why they should all be listening to this podcast!

101mutts said...

I know I had to read about rewarding and upping the rate of reinforcement a lot to "get it" and then it was easy to concentrate, okay, yeah, three good jumps, treat, etc. Being told to reward didn't quite do it for the long term. Reading a few stories helped. But also when I applied rewarding more frequently and it actually worked very well immediately... well, that made the behavior of rewarding easier on my part.