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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chicken Camp, Day 3

I've been asked "What have you learned at Chicken Camp?"

First, let me tell you a bit about those attending Camp. They're from all walks of life. Some have dogs, some have cats (and successfully train them), some use Camp mechanics in TAG Teaching for humans, some simply want to be in the know on this science and for some, this is how they chose to spend their vacation.

For me, I've been using the methods and mechanics of Clicker Training for well over a decade on dogs. While the animal training concepts aren't new, I'm self taught and came to work on precision, criteria choices, chaining and more. With that said, I'm certainly not bored at camp and love the fact that I have two different types of chicken personalities, not to mention that Terry Ryan is an amazing trainer and teacher.

Another added benefit is that we get to coach our partners and be coached by them. It is always good to have an observer and it is a luxury I don't have at home.

Looking back on my notes, here were the points that mean the most to me in clicker training/shaping behaviors/luring/discrimination training, etc. from the Chicken Camp I - Discrimination.

  • All animals/humans come with habits. We teach a new habit with association.
  • Dog Training is a combination of Science, Art & Mechanical Skills.
  • You can teach the difference between Discrimination vs. Generalization.
  • Law of Effect. If the effect is good, it increases the intensity of repetition.
  • Rewards drive behavior!
  • Rewarding early is better than rewarding late.
  • Late rewards are more powerful than missing a click/reward.
  • Be sure to define your criteria before a training session.
  • Different types: Capture (wait for action) vs. Shaping (small baby steps).
  • Three Steps to Success: Timing, Criteria, Rate of Reinforcement.
  • Do shorter sessions (1 minute for example, set a timer).
  • Increase Rapid Reinforcement when starting a behavior.
  • Type of Reinforcement - Rapid Reinforcement, Variable Reinforcement, Differential Reinforcement.
  • Click for action, feed for position.
  • Discrimination Training - Hot target, feed. Cold target, don't feed.
  • Extinction - remove hot target and wait for extinction burst and then reintroduce the hot target.
  • Once a behavior is at 80%, then increase the criteria.
  • Premack Principle - behaviors become reinforcers.
Tomorrow is our last day of camp and we'll be moving forward with discrimination exercises. So far one chicken has moved on to spinning in a circle (the brown chicken) and the other has moved on to discrimination exercises.

The discrimination exercises started with us rewarding our chicken for clicking on a circular target. Next we switched to a hexagon (same color as circle) and rewarded all pecks on the hexagon, which will be the rewarded shape. Next we introduced a triangle. If the chicken pecked on the triangle, we did not click and treat. To encourage extinction, if the chicken pecked on the triangle (the cold target), we took the hexagon off of the table (the hot target) and let them peck away on the triangle without reward. It was common to get an extinction burst and afterward we reintroduced the hexagon and rewarded when the chicken clicked on it.

I should also mention that during the entire 1 minute training time we are moving both the hexagon and the triangle randomly around the table. Next we introduced a third shape, a heart. Since this chicken has been used previously, I'm certain it was rewarded for pecking on the heart. That means I'll have to 'undo' the positive association of the heart and use rapid reinforcement to increase the value of the hexagon. Then I should be able to add them all together for a successful discrimination...in theory!

Wish me luck, or is that cluck? : )

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! Chicken camp sounds like a lot of fun.

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