How long and how often/food reward

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by jbg, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. jbg

    jbg Registered Users

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    Hi there, I've posted on the puppy page but not over here. Maggie is my first puppy that I have trained with food rewards and I think it is going pretty well. Her recall is good during the most distracted times. Still NOT perfect though. I am working on walking at the heel through the neighbourhood now taking her completely off her long lead that has been loose for months. So....my question. With food training. If I am still giving her a reward every 50 feet or so when she stays at my heel is that too much? Is there a point when you start backing off the reward or is this something that trainers just continue with there dogs? I can see the fruits of my labor especially that when we see someone out on a walk now, within a couple of seconds after a greeting from Maggie I can be talking to the person and she is sitting right in front of me looking at me :) When she first started doing this, I would give her kibbles ever few mins to keep her sitting and quiet. The Food reward can wait now the end of the conversation when we are ready to go and I "thank" maggie for her good behaviour and give her her treat. If its a long visit, I still treat half way through :) ANy thoughts or advise is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    There is not really any hard and fast rule on this one, it depends on the individual dog and the behaviour concerned and what you need to do, to keep the behaviour strong and how you want it to look.

    But in general, I would say that it's best to just forget about reducing food rewards as a priority. I think that agenda is a hangover from the whole 'using food is bad' mentality, the idea that our ultimate goal should be to reduce and get away from it. Instead, ask yourself: Would you go to work if you didn't get paid? How would you feel if your boss kept cutting your wage and expecting the same results from you? Money is human reinforcement. We work for it. Food is dog reinforcement, they work for that.

    Focus on getting great behaviours under high distractions and be liberal and generous with your treats.
     
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  3. jbg

    jbg Registered Users

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    "Focus on getting great behaviours under high distractions and be liberal and generous with your treats."

    Thanks Jo! You answered exactly what I needed. Yes because I have never trained with food before I didn't know if it "stopped" at some point. What you said makes perfect sense and I am very lucky in that she still feels that her "kibble" coming out of my pouch is a high reward so it has been very easy for me so far. Thanks again!
     
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