Lately, I’ve been reminded of the success that you can get from your dog when you use a “jackpot” of treats instead of one, single treat to mark and reinforce specific behavior that you’re asking from your dog. To your dog, jackpots can really be like several exclamation marks after a statement that you’re making to him. I use them periodically with dogs, and I find that they really help speed things up when I’m training something difficult.
For example, if I am training something new with Rugby, and I can tell that he is feeling frustrated or he’s having a tough time figuring out what I want from him, when he does get it, I will often offer him a jackpot of treats to mark the behavior. Generally, I offer one tiny treat when he gets something right. But when I give him a jackpost, I offer him 3-5 treats in place of the one, single treat. Instead of giving him several treats in my open palm, I quickly feed him one treat right after another in very quick succession, and his little eyes nearly pop right out of his head! Believe me, I have his attention when he gets five treats all in a row instead of one!
If you feel like you’ve hit the wall with your dog, a well timed jackpot can shake loose the logjam in your dog’s thinking and help him understand clearly just exactly what you want from him. A jackpot can help your dog go from giving you the specific behavior occasionally….to consistently producing the behavior every single time you ask for it. After I’ve doled out a few jackpots for a given behavior, I find that Rugby is pretty solid and consistent with producing what I want, and then I can go back to offering one treat again. I will offer a small jackpot now and again when Rugby works really hard and I can tell that he’s trying more than usual.
That’s the fun of using a jackpot! You can make some random fun for your dog when he’s working hard, and he won’t be expecting it, so it can have a really great impact on your training sessions!
I’m a big believer in jackpots!! I just lubs them! Sumtimes, when the Mama starts to fade the cookies after I has really learned sumping and I doesn’t hasta fink about it very much any more, she gives me jackpots every once in a while instead of one treat every time. Sumtimes I gotsa do sumping four or five times in a row, but then she gives me free or five lil treats all at one time instead of one treat each time I does it. It makes me keep working really hard, on account of you just never know when those jackpots will show up!!
When I has a skirrel up one of the trees in my back yard, I likesa tell everpawdy about it, so naturally I’m yelling it all over the neighborhood. The Mama usually makes me come inside, and lotsa times when I come inside right away she likesa give me a jackpot for leaving the esciting skirrel and coming to the house when she calls me. Anytime there’s sumping esciting in the yard and I come when she calls me, I know I’m getting a jackpot! I’m almost ten years old, and she’s been doing jackpots like this since I was a lil pupper. But I always come when she calls me, on account of she’s very consistent and I know ezactly what to expect!
The one fing the Mama is really good about doing when I work is making sure I getsa good paycheck. She always sayes that when Uprights pay their dog well, their dogger will work hard all day long!!
Are you giving a really good paycheck to your dogger? Would he like to has a raise?