Training a Cat to Present a Paw in 9 Days
From Jill MacKay on August 15th, 2017
Training requires a lot of patience and attention to detail, two talents I've never had. Over 9 consecutive days I ran 1-2 short (less than 10 minutes) training sessions with my cat Athena to train a 'present paw' behaviour. In this short video you can see Athena's improvements over time, and my own, as we go through the training. I make plenty of mistakes in this video, so feel free to use it for a teaching example! I've highlighted the obvious mistakes, but there are plenty I haven't pointed out.
Questions You Can Ask:
What type of reward schedule is being used?
Answer: Continuous reward, you might then later ask is this the best form of reward? Should the trainer move to a variable ratio reinforcement now the behaviour is learned?
In the earlier sessions, the paw was being lifted by the owner. Was this appropriate shaping?
Answer: No. Ideally, the behaviour should have been rewarded on spontaneous paw-lifts.
What are the next steps?
Answer: Variable reward ratios and encouraging more exaggerated paw lift.
Music: "Inspire" by Kevin MacLeod, CC BY 3.0, www.incompetech.com