The Power of Reward in K9 Training


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Using the power of reward to improve your police dog's obedience performance, includes how to deconstruct certification routines and break down exactly how to implement reward into your training to improve overall attention and response from your K9.

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The Power of Reward in K9 Training

  1. 1. The Power of Reward <ul><li>Jerry Bradshaw, Instructor </li></ul><ul><li>Tarheel Canine Training Inc. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  2. 2. Reward <ul><li>Definition: The return for performance of a desired behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards can be given (positive reinforcement). </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards can be withheld (negative punishment). </li></ul><ul><li>What do you consider a reward to be? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Reward in Police K9 Work <ul><li>Heavily used in Detection & Tracking……. </li></ul><ul><li>Used in Controlled Aggression work to varying degrees around the country…. </li></ul><ul><li>Rarely used, and if so, generally improperly employed in obedience training. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Obedience <ul><li>Traditionally, reward, if used, comes at the end of a long series of behaviors. </li></ul><ul><li>More typically, some combination of compulsion – i.e., negative reinforcement (to teach) and positive punishment (to maintain) and praise is used, without any tangible reward. </li></ul><ul><li>Typically this same regimen is used no matter the temperament of the dog….soft dogs often break down, harder dogs and dominant dogs often resist the compulsion. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes they resist to the point of biting the handlers. </li></ul><ul><li>Give them an outlet to channel the frustration: Reward. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is the reason for not using reward in obedience? <ul><li>It is assumed that reward-based methods for teaching and maintaining behavior take “too long” to develop the behaviors. </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors have not used reward based methods and don’t know how to use them. </li></ul><ul><li>It is easier to mock something that you don’t understand than open up to learning something new. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Attentive Obedience
  7. 7. Obedience builds <ul><li>Good obedience is not developed by simple repetition. </li></ul><ul><li>Good obedience builds in layers. </li></ul><ul><li>Step 1: Teaching with Lure/Baiting responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2: Rewarding correct responses </li></ul><ul><li>Step 3: Variably Rewarding correct responses </li></ul><ul><li>Step 4: Include compulsion when the response is understood. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Reward Object in Obedience <ul><li>Different from his drug toy </li></ul><ul><li>Reward is presented to the dog and the dog is engaged in play </li></ul><ul><li>All play is at the handler and with the handler </li></ul><ul><li>Comes from the handler and goes back into the handler when finished. </li></ul>
  9. 9. How to play with your dog <ul><li>Tug works the dog in prey </li></ul><ul><li>Tug comes from behind you </li></ul><ul><li>Tug is presented high – drive into the reward </li></ul><ul><li>Play with the dog, adjust his grip, play hard! </li></ul><ul><li>Make him let go on your terms </li></ul><ul><li>Reward his release with another grip </li></ul><ul><li>Frustrate him (misses) to make him increase his drive for the reward. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reward Philosophy <ul><li>Reward specific elements of obedience </li></ul><ul><li>Reward Position & frustrate/withhold when incorrect </li></ul><ul><li>Reward Speed & frustrate/withhold when slow </li></ul><ul><li>You must de-construct obedience into mini-skills….and reward the elements you wish to improve. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Mini-Skills (Example - Heeling) <ul><li>Example: Break down heeling into…. </li></ul><ul><li>* basic position </li></ul><ul><li>* start (from basic to walking) </li></ul><ul><li>* straight line heeling position </li></ul><ul><li>* halts </li></ul><ul><li>* figure 8s </li></ul><ul><li>* turns (left, right, about) </li></ul><ul><li>* pace transitions (normal, fast, slow) </li></ul><ul><li>* recall to heel from sit or down </li></ul>
  12. 12. Mini-Skills: Example – Teaching a green dog to “Stay” <ul><li>Give the dog a reason to stay (food reward) </li></ul><ul><li>Hold position by baiting stay </li></ul><ul><li>Hold position through reward </li></ul><ul><li>Hold position through variable reward </li></ul>
  13. 13. Heeling: Reward Placement <ul><li>You must reward each element you want to see him perform. </li></ul><ul><li>Start with arcs, misses, and rewards, and then flatten the arcs into simple straight lines. </li></ul><ul><li>Add in right turns, soft at first, then more right angles, reward the turns. </li></ul><ul><li>Add in about turns, and then left turns. </li></ul><ul><li>Add in change of pace, and reward the transitions. </li></ul><ul><li>Add in halts, and reward the halt. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Create a Standard of Behavior <ul><li>You must create a firm expectation of performance </li></ul><ul><li>You must hold your dog to that standard at all times </li></ul><ul><li>This means no matter what you are doing…. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Variable Reward <ul><li>When the dog is driving hard for the reward on short straight legs, start varying where the dog is rewarded. </li></ul><ul><li>Vary the placement of the reward from just after the start, to a few steps in, to deeper into the leg and then back to early in the leg. </li></ul><ul><li>When you add in turns, reward on the turns, sometimes make him miss, and reward on the next turn. </li></ul><ul><li>Be strategic in how you reward the dog. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Balancing with Compulsion <ul><li>Not suggesting a completely motivational approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Reward must be balanced with thoughtful compulsion. </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t Matter if your dog has already been trained compulsively, or if you are starting a new dog – reward shows him there is something in it for him! </li></ul><ul><li>Do obedience when your dog doesn’t expect it. </li></ul><ul><li>De-condition him to distractions (Toys, sleeves, suits, decoys) </li></ul><ul><li>Hold him to your exact standard, correct for non-compliance, but reward when he is compliant. </li></ul><ul><li>Reward after you have to correct for compliance. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Some Keys to Reward <ul><li>High on the preference list. </li></ul><ul><li>You have to be fun. </li></ul><ul><li>However, you set the terms of the game. </li></ul><ul><li>Reward releases pressure in obedience, thus allowing more efficient application of compulsion. </li></ul><ul><li>Give the dog the choice: Comply and be rewarded, fail to comply and be corrected, then upon compliance rewarded, and your dog will do what is easiest: comply with your commands. </li></ul><ul><li>Repetition of this standard under varying distractions will condition the response. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Applying Reward in Training <ul><li>Detection: Hide Placement to induce solid search patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Building Search: Decoy Placement to induce clearing doorways, and methodical searching of high probability areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled Aggression: Out, Redirects, Call-off, Military Standoff, Equipment Orientation. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Controlled Aggression & Reward <ul><li>Out on Command </li></ul><ul><li>Redirects </li></ul><ul><li>Call-off (Recalls) </li></ul><ul><li>Military Standoff Exercise </li></ul>
  20. 20. Rewarding the Out
  21. 21. Rewarding the Out 2
  22. 22. Re-Direct & Call-Off <ul><li>Induced by lure then reward and variable reward </li></ul><ul><li>Compulsion is added when necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Quick Time Movie </li></ul>
  23. 23. Redirect & Out
  24. 24. Human Focused Aggression 1
  25. 25. Human Focused Aggression 2
  26. 26. Military Standoff