How & When to Use "Jackpot" Rewards

Because jackpot rewards lead to things like properly shaping a behavior, and random rewarding (a broader version of the concept), I want to leave links to those related resources to expand on the idea. So here are more helpful resources:

In the following video Patty improperly uses the jackpot reward (with an almond) and then properly uses it next with multiple pine nuts. It's honestly great to have live examples of both good and bad usage of the concept. 

Jackpot rewarding (and random rewarding) works much like a casino. You get a little, sometimes you lose a little, but it's unpredictable enough that you think maybe this will be the time I get that jackpot and so you keep playing. This is why gambling is so addictive! This is also why this method is so widely used in show environments to create higher motivation and performance from the animal(s). 

When you use a jackpot at the right time, you are capturing and rewarding that behavior and increasing the likelihood the bird will present it again. If you use it at the WRONG time, you're going to get the exact behavior you don't want. So this is a very powerful tool and can turn into something you're working hard to "undo" in some cases so be very mindful of when and how you use it. 

To this training session as a whole, the 3 things I'd like to see changed for future sessions would be: 

  1. Implementing the jackpot in excellent spots only (for long, immediate flights or immediate step offs) 
  2. Shorter sessions to avoid hesitancy and Morgan ending the session.
  3. Three Reps of 3, watching her video back to make any adjustments, and so on. 

In Patty's next session she implements the concept of random rewarding as well as combining the "trick" she's asking to no longer two individual behaviors (fly to me and step off) but now the entire behavior wanted and treated for is "fly to me, step off" then receive reward and she's giving the reward unpredictably. 

The second you become predictable in your training - you become boring and the bird can really start training you! 

Here are my 3 tips for Patty for her future sessions, what would be yours? 

1. Patty did 8 of the same flight IN A ROW. Variety! Keep the sessions fun and challenging for Morgan by changing it up.

2. Review your sessions and do them in reps of 3, then review, rep of 3, review.

3. Morgan ended the session and Patty ended on her favorite flight to be on a good note, but Morgan still ended the session. End wayyy earlier, on a high note like we did on our last session together (when I was there working with Patty even from the other room. I called that session, but I'd like for Patty to learn when to end it herself.)

If you've missed anything within this series, you can view the previous videos on Morgan's playlist

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