Monday, August 4, 2008

Premack is not Magic

I love using the Premack Principle. In simple terms it is the dog doing something you ask and in return letting the dog have something it really wants. For example.... my dog Raygen loves chasing birds. When we still lived in Vista we were able to use a huge High School field for dog training. Sometimes there were hundreds of birds on the field and Raygen loves to chase them. He would run off the instant we set foot onto the field. One day I decided to use the birds as a reward for him performing a simple task. I asked him to sit and took the leash off and told him to go chase the birds. He loved it! The birds were gone and he came back. There are some rules....
  • The environment has to be save (fenced yard, not on a cliff etc.)
  • The rewards have to be save (no injuring or killing animals, no food that can hurt the dog, no disturbing of wildlife)
  • Ask for behavior the dog knows and can easily perform and make it harder as the dog understand the rule (don't ask for a new behavior)
  • Don't call your dog back before he is done getting his reward. Let him enjoy his reward.
  • Reward your dog for coming back.

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