Grow the Value
Some of you have noted that what was valuable to your dog as a puppy is not the same today. That is great actually, since most of what was valuable as a puppy with my Border Collies involved chasing things away from me and that isn’t conducive to effective training!
Time for each of you to review your list of reinforcers after playing some of the games I have posting recently. Chances are the value has changed for your dog. Hopefully you have been able to grow your list of A rewards. That is the goal and here is an easy way to grow your value.
If your dog loves running in the woods but doesn’t care much for food, have him eat something really tasty (the highest ranking food reward you have to start) from your hand before you unclip the leash to let him run. If he is too wound up to eat the food move back away from the woods and try again.
Keep moving back if the dog refuses to do what you want, each time making the distance twice as far as the last. Even if you have to get back to your car or in your house. When your dog finally decides to eat the piece of food reward him but saying “Okay lets go ________” (whatever it was he was wanting to do in the first place).
Once the dog realizes he must do what you want or he doesn’t get what he wants, you can lower the value of the food you feed at the beginning of this process. This game actually works to increase the value of any of the food you use since the value of the fun activity the dog can’t wait to do gets transferred into the food that precedes the fun activity.
What you are doing is “Premacking” the value of one activity into something you want your dog to do. I call it “Transferring the value” and it works like magic. You have to be unemotional when the dog’s choice is “don’t wanna, don’t hafta”. Just offer the reward once and if the dog doesn’t want it, move further away from what has got him aroused.
Give it a try and let me know.
Today I am grateful that my sisters and I where able to convince my brother Brent to buy all of his required furnishings yesterday!