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Each MetPet FlyToy is handmade by skilled artisans with great attention to detail.  They come in the form of bugs, amphibians, mammals and more in three very reasonable price points.

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Pigeons At Work

Using random rewards to train your pet

 

MetPet.com Staff Writer

This is a really instructive anecdote that we heard long ago.  We don't know from where it came from but we're making good use of it.

A pigeon is taught to press a button in order to get a treat.  This is very simple.  Press this button and a peanut rolls down a chute and into his dish.  Pigeon eats the peanut and gets the idea.  Every time he presses the button, he expects and receives a peanut. 

After awhile, the pigeon gets a little bored with this predictable routine.  He will keep pressing the button periodically but with waning enthusiasm.  He's also getting a little stuffed on peanuts.

The situation is then changed slightly.  He gets a peanut only every other time.  He presses the button once and he doesn't get a peanut.  He presses it again and he gets the peanut.  He's both annoyed and interested by this new wrinkle and gets to work with a bit more enthusiasm.  Finally, this routine also becomes rather boring as does all other predictable combinations of buttons and peanuts. 

What is really interesting is what happens when the situation becomes random.  Press a button and a peanut may or may not come out.   Maybe the pigeon gets a peanut on the 3rd press and then the 6th or maybe not.   The pigeon can no longer predict what will happen.  He now presses the button repeatedly without getting bored.  In fact, this situation could make him rather agitated and it's not recommended. 

Can this relate to training your pet?  This is one way to wean him off of treats as rewards.  In the beginning, you can give him a treat each and every time he does what you want.  Then you can make it every other time and so on.   Finally, you can give him a treat randomly although you always give him lavish praise. 

Eventually, you can lose the treats altogether but still maintain his interest.  He will be motivated to pay attention on the off chance that he will get a treat.  Otherwise, he may simply refuse to do things without treats.   
 

 
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