Playing The Dog Training Game
While I don’t usually teach dog training as game play when doing private lessons, I do think of it this way when I am training dogs.
Playing the dog training game starts by using a speedy method of showing what is wanted with a food lure, then rewarding the desired behavior. Food Lure and reward training will also incorporate behavior shaping into the learning process.
Getting Ready to Play the Dog Training Game
What you need before starting your online learning and offline practice.
In following pages are some of the supplies you should have before you start playing the game of dog training. Yes dog training is a game. Training your dog is the ultimate interactive game and it’s useful too. Dog training encompasses all the elements of an interactive game with the added benefits of developing a real collaborative relationship with your in game partners. Dog training can be a game of both competition and cooperation. By outsmarting your dog not only do you win but the dog ends up the winning too. The dog training game involves skill development, timing, social capital, self control, new behavior collecting quests, and the challenges of slaying undesirable behavior.
Here is a definition of a game by a well know online game developer
“A game is a structured experience with rules and goal that’s fun.”
How dog training is approached determines whether it’s looked at as work or as fun. Usually when dog training is done to avoid some aversive aspect of the dog’s behavior it’s thought of as work. When training is done for a desired positive outcome it’s often thought of as fun. Thus teaching a dog to go to its bed and wave high as people enter the house is usually thought to be more fun than teaching a dog not to jump on guests. It’s interesting that by teaching the dog a behavior incompatible with jumping like going to its bed, sitting, and waving you are also teaching it not to jump when people enter the house.
The difference is your motivation. In general training will be more fun if you want to teach a positive behavior and less fun if you want to teach the dog to not do a behavior.
Game currency and points system
To maintain good health your dog will need a source of energy. This energy comes in the form of calories. We can also think of calories or something related to acquiring calories as the primary point system in the game. In general the one who controls the point system gets to make the rules. The ones who control the points in this game are you and other humans in the household.
Your dog will earn game points by correctly performing certain behaviors and will not earn any game points for other behaviors. Game points just like currency can come in different values. When the game gets more difficult the value of the game points or currency can increase too. The energy based economy will be the focal point and uses calories and taste/scent as the primary currency. The primary type of energy based currency will take the form of food rewards.
You can develop any number of game point values but I will use three common types of classifications
Low = Copper = dry dog food
Medium = Silver = biscuit type treat, puppy food,
High = Gold = liver, jerky treat, dried chicken, etc…
Low = $5 = dry dog food
Medium = $20 = biscuit type treat, puppy food,
High = $100 = liver, jerky treat, dried chicken, etc…
To keep the game interesting there are other types of rewards or bonuses that need to be considered. Two common bonus prizes are social rewards and play rewards. While the play and social prizes are very powerful they often require a higher level of game play skill on the humans part to properly implement. Even though these more advanced game points do require higher levels of skill to use this program does teach how to use them.
During game play choose a currency (food reward) based on the level of distraction you will be working around. If you are sitting at your computer a lower value currency (food reward) such as regular dry dog food may be appropriate.) The value of the game points will to some extent be governed by how many free points (free food) the dog gets during the day. If you have a finicky dog, use a currency (food reward) that the dog values more highly. You may also want to consider cutting back on the free points your dog receives during the day. I usually keep a peanut can with dog food on my desk so I am always ready to reward good behavior. When your game partner performs well make sure it receives its earned points in the form of game points or bonus prizes.
Human Quest System and Point distribution.
Game play for the humans involves collecting various useful and fun behaviors in the dog by properly managing game points. The goal is to see desirable collected behaviors multiply and increase in strength as undesirable behaviors undergo extinction and fade into the past. Humans may first need to successfully complete online tasks before they can collect needed behaviors on the dog. This is because humans often need to first master a skill before it can be used to change the dog’s behavior.
If you need help with your puppy or dog’s behavior
please call today and make an appointment with your
professional dog trainer
Southern California Dog Training