“Hi Natalie, my dog will only listen if I have treats. How do I get them to listen without treats?”
“So, do I always have to use the ecollar for forever?”
“Hey Natalie, my dogs still jump on people even though I correct them for it. Why?”
These are typical questions we trainers get in our inbox on a daily basis.
And the answer (partially the answer) comes down to: what is your reinforcement schedule?
👉🏽If your dog relies on treats to be present in order to complete a behavior, it may be because you have used a CONTINUOUS REINFORCEMENT SCHEDULE for too long.
This type of reinforcement schedule is necessary to TEACH behaviors but NOT to maintain them. Stay in this phase for too long and your dog will become trained to only complete commands when food is present. If not they go “no food? I only do this with food because that’s how it’s always been.”
👉🏽When people ask me “do I have to use the ecollar for forever?” There are a lot of different responses. However, typically what I say to people is: it depends on how consistent YOU are. The ecollar is a training AID. If you don’t utilize the ecollar consistently enough, your dog will be able to participate in poor behaviors. Gaining reinforcement by doing so and therefore keeping the behaviors we so desperately want to remove.
👉🏽Which is a great segway into why your dog may still do behaviors even if you correct them. Chances are a major factor is going to be that you are not correcting them EVERY time. Behaviors like barking, jumping, counter surfing, trash diving, etc are self rewarding behaviors. We need to put these behaviors into a continuous non-reinforcement schedule until the behavior has gone so long without reinforcement that it is extinguished from the behavior repertoire.
So if you want to have more reliability in behaviors without having to need a treat in hand, lessen the use of the ecollar and remove problem behaviors, ask yourself “what reinforcement schedule am I using?”
For more education on which reinforcement schedule is best to use, how to use them and more information on each one, check out our online training platform. Sign up below for a FREE 7 day trial!
Please watch: "I drove 20 hours to train this Goldendoodle! (vlog)"