Variable Reinforcement: Casino Anyone?
you have ever visiting a casino and heard the bling, bling, bling of the bells
and the clatter of coins you have no doubt experienced a bit of Mr. Pavlov’s
powerful feature of the slots for encouraging desired behavior, is the
reinforcement function. Payouts, which comprise the primary fortifying element,
occur at unpredictable intervals and are of variable sizes. Play is initiated by
of winning big". Gamblers "are not dreaming about small,
relatively frequent reinforcement. The lure is hitting the jackpot." But,
once begun, interest is kept up by the variable interval reinforcement of the
modest returns. "This 'schedule-induced behavior' is so potent,"
Professor Tom Creedmore of
machine is an EXCELLENT example of variable reinforcement in dog training your
are rewarding with a treat marker, especially, you should begin to reward less
and for only the BEST sits, downs, stays, etc.
By withholding a treat marker and replacing with a verbal marker, or
giving a less desirable treat, and then JACKPOTTING your dog when he does an
perfect down, you are using what is a simplified version of variable
fair, you should never quit treat markers “cold turkey” but using Variable
Reinforcement (VR) you can wean your dog off of treat markers, rewarding only
for the VERY best execution of the command given.
of a VR schedule looks something like this:
week, start your dog on a VR for commands such as sit, down, 'watch me', and
stay (to increase duration).