*YES! CLICK! HIGH FIVE! CAPTURING BEHAVIOURS!
RM=Reinforcement/ Reward Marker, Event Marker, Bridging Stimulus, Conditioned Reinforcer:
WHEN dogs are LEARNING something NEW, using a consistent signal...whether it's audible, visual, tactile ie...sound from a clicker, whistle, your voice or gesture like a hi-five, peace sign, even a facial expression helps the dog pinpoint that moment in time to take note!
Then pair what you liked with a primary reinforcer; something the dog LOVES without you having to condition them to LOVE it makes the LEARNING CURVE faster.
Pair 'Yes' , "click', "high five" I LIKE what you just did! ie... sitting patiently, eye contact, a rocket recall or settling with the unlimited number of things your dog enjoys. Reinforcement like; let's play ball, snuggle, go for a car ride, have a tasty treat, go say hello to your favourite dog pal!
This very sharp, quick sound "Yes" or Click from a clicker identifies a snap shot in time.
Mechanics of timing is important:
1-Silence please BEFORE you deliver the RM or CUE. It helps the dog cut through the verbal cacophany of words in a sentence and focus on the task at hand.
2- The SECOND you see them COMMIT to a behaviour
3- Say "YES!", click, thumbs up
* important not to add any movement or hint of what they'll be getting as a reward when you say "YES!" that way it will be a surprise. Surprises create anticipation and they'll look forward to engaging with you and repeating the behaviour.
4- WAIT a second THEN deliver the reinforcement/ reward.
Eye contact and sit/stay rather than jumping up at my hand which has food in it. You can practice this exercise with an icecream cone, a ball, a piece of pizza...no jumping means that behaviour will be rewarded.
*Your RM is to be completely separate from praise. Praise would be in the reward category AFTER you've marked the behaviour.
*body language plays a key role in determining whether or not the dog finds your reward, rewarding :) Praise and cuddles are AWESOME rewards but sometimes if you notice the dog backs away from you or tries to avoid your cuddles when they are excited, it may not be as rewarding in that situation. What I like to do is scan the environment, and notice what the dog would LOVE to engage in and use that as a reward.
examples of environmental rewards:
Daizy, working her way to go for a walk :)
Group recall mixed in with fun;
Daizy working on distance positional cues and rewarded with some thing she LOVES to do.
I LOVE the fact that I am encouraged to say "thank you" by using rewards to communicate when I like something my dogs have done or are eager to learn.
Sometimes its the littlest things in life that make them happy. Learning to look out for them...will make you look like a superstar in your dog's eyes.
"THANKS" for doing something polite; cute, calm, and in most cases, completely NOT what they'd prefer to be doing ...like "off" the couch, "don't' eat that steak off my plate, "come" to me instead of continuing to play with your favourite furry pals, "walk right beside me' instead of sniffing and racing around to their heart's content...
It is humane, compassionate and just all around feels good giving a gift or doing something for someone else, furry or human that you know they'll appreciate and enjoy. ie..Someone doing the dishes as a "Thanks" for me cooking up a storm', Someone helping me with the groceries as a "Thanks" for going out and doing the shopping, giving someone a hug as "Thanks" for being there when they needed someone to cheer them up, our bosses give us a paycheck...as a 'thanks" for all the hard work....We say thanks all the time. Why would we leave our best furry pals out? The more creative you get with they way you express your appreciation, the more people and your furry pals enjoy your company, and reciprocate.
Beauty is it could be any number of things for dogs at any given time.
Favourites for my guys:
food = chicken, steak, zucchini, cauliflower, apple, blueberries, cheese, pumpkin cookies, carrots, cucumber, really anything that is not toxic...vanilla ice cream...
toys = air Kong, small squeaker balls, Skinnez tug animals, Chewber Frisbee, thick sticks to throw in the water or jump up to grab...
adventures = hiking, going to the river, digging in sand or dirt, car rides, agility, hanging out at the beach, walking around the city....anywhere they get to sniff around and explore with their noses!
games = any and all that I can come up with...which actually promote impulse control!
cuddles = on their chests, ttouch massage, kisses on the side of their face, belly rubs...sitting on my lap, cuddling into me while I am on my laptop....
performing tricks = I've lost count, pop = jump in the air like popcorn, sit,down,roll over,bang,jump over, through =using different parts of my body, back up, spin, turn left/right, go around something, sneak on the ground, put your head on my lap, wave, yoga, bow.....to name a few...they LOVE learning new tricks that in itself is a reward!
Those are just off the top of my head. Really the list would be endless...which is the beauty of using rewards or rather....saying 'Thank you".