The "SOUND" Option on Spray Commander
First, use the “sound” feature (secondary reinforcement) on the remote control just before you say GOOD to congratulate the dog. The dog is rewarded (primary reinforcement: treat, affection) during or after having heard the SR “SOUND + GOOD!”. Theoretically, any object can be used as secondary reinforcement (a whistle, a noisy, a clicker, etc…), but nothing works as well as “the sound”. The advantages of using a sound are:
- The dog hears the sound even from a distance.
- The sound remains the same in any circumstance.
- The sound differs completely from other sounds in the environment.
All that matters is that the dog understands the meaning of secondary reinforcement (the “correct” message), and that the master uses it well. According to researchers, the “sound” approach is the most efficient. “GOOD!”, is used with the sound for a specific reason: once you stop using the spray collar and the sound, “GOOD!” can be used as an already conditioned secondary reinforcement.
When you educate your dog, a clear signal is needed to indicate proper behavior. The SR “S OUND + GOOD!” must be given at the same time the action occurs so that it may be specifically associates with the desired action. Sometimes, rookie trainers wait too long to give primary and secondary reinforcements.
The trick is to understand what reinforcement means, and everything that goes with it. Notably, most behavior patterns on your dog’s part are attributed to reinforcement. You must be able to discern behavior that is innate, and that which has bypassed it. Indeed, problem behavior also comes from reinforcement, often unconscious, brought on by the master. One cannot overestimate the power and the speed of reinforcement. The following examples serve to illustrate how a master can reinforce bad behavior without realizing it:
- The dog jumps, and the master pets the dog to introduce him to somebody.
- The dog begs for , and after a while, the master yields.
- The dog growls at a stranger on the street; the master, wanting to reassure the dog, crouches down next to him, pets him and says gently, “It” s O.K. Rex