Course Title: Differential Reinforcement Workshop 206
Instructor: James O'Heare, MLBC, AABP-CABC
In this practical, mechanical skills development course students will apply the principles of behavior, and the techniques of animal training learned in previous courses to address a complex training task involving differential reinforcement. The training task will involve training an animal to target with a nose or paw touch a specific object on cue in the presence of two objects and then extinguish the targeting, while differentially reinforcing targeting of the other object, transferring stimulus control to a verbal cue, followed by generalizing the performance to different settings (including away from home) to meet specific response criteria. Differential reinforcement is often used to resolve problem behavior situations. In this course we train our own innocuous "problem behavior" (targeting the one object) so that we may practice this training strategy in a safe and ethical manner. The assignment will involve reporting on the training process to demonstrate insights and proper application of principles and techniques. The assignment is not graded based on whether you meet the specific training goal but rather the demonstration of learning new training behaviors in yourself from the experience and on understanding of concepts and terminology in learning and training.
You may find a product called the Touch It, available through http://www.nosetouch.com valuable in this and other targeting training tasks.
The objective of this program of study is to measurably expand the student's repertoire of behaviors in relevant areas of focus for the program of study. To complete this course of study, the student will:
- Apply principles of learning and training techniques to actual training projects
- Develop and implement a formal training plan
- Describe what behaviors and training objectives differential reinforcement is most appropriate for
- Transfer stimulus control to a verbal cue
- Generalize performance to new environments
- Effectively deliver reinforcers
- Deliver reinforcers with effective timing
- Establish and maintain a conditioned reinforcer
- Improve flexibility in training
- Communicate about training tasks
- Getting Started Clicker Training For Dogs by Karen Pryor (Recommended but not required)
This course will be evaluated by short essay assignments that will reflect and demonstrate mastery of the course topics and achievement of the learning objectives. The final grade will be the mean average of the assignment grades.