I have learned from Michelle Pouliott (Karen Pryor Clicker Expo trainer) that ending any highly rewarded behavior (as well as ending training sessions) can be very punishing. I cringe at all the handlers who don’t party after their dog finds the last hide and just end a session by standing there talking to the teacher or hustling off to the car while the dog deflates. “What? WAIT!! I was working for food! What the heck just happened? What did I do wrong?” I’ve observed that this is an especially big deal and knows work and I think it’s because the dogs get so intensely involved because they are using a primary sense. That makes it doubly punishing when you quit gratuitously.Working on staying at source actually backfired a bit with Lily. She was SO sticky that taking her off the hide was not only difficult, it was a type of punishment.
This punishment transfers backwards to what just happened before it. That’s why I party and feed all the way to my car. If I’m talking to the teacher in a class at the end of my turn, I’m feeding my dog as my primary job. Just observe at a trial how many dogs show great disappointment at the end of searching when no party is started.
When you teach staying at source, you build duration AND a break out, just like any other behavior. The release gets paid too. And the cue to “find more” becomes a reward. It’s just like training other behavior, there is nothing different just because a dog is following his nose, although some teachers would have you believe it’s magic stuff. >