FE310: Training with Remote Reinforcement

Instructor: Deborah Jones

Course Details

 Training with Remote Reinforcement

Remote reinforcement devices (such as a Treat & Train, Manners Minder, or Pet Tutor) can offer some unique advantages to your training program. While these devices are often used for behavioral issues such as separation anxiety or crate manners, we are going to focus on teaching and reinforcing specific behaviors.   Having reinforcement provided at a distance is highly beneficial to train a variety of obedience behaviors (drop on recall, signal exercise, go outs, directionals, out of sight stays, etc) and a variety of agility skills (contacts, weaves, send aways, etc).  

We will begin with the initial introduction to the device and recommendations for the first behaviors to teach.  Then we will shape a variety of behaviors (some of which your dog may already have on cue) with props.  Next we will cover getting multiple repetitions for a single reinforcement, how to refine behaviors, when and how to use jackpots appropriately, how to increase duration, and how to teach simple discriminations. We will also consider when this type of reinforcement is appropriate and useful, and when it is better to provide reinforcement directly from you.  We will alternate between these in our training.  

As a bonus, training with a remote reinforcer is simply great fun for both you and your dog!  It offers your dog a distinctive type of mental and physical challenge while offering you a fresh way to train!   


There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.

Registration begins 10:30am PDT.

Enrollment limits: 10 gold, 10 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze level spot you can sign up any time during the registration period.


Training With Remote Reinforcement

Pre-class shaping exercises:


These exercises are designed to help you “jump start” your dog’s shaping abilities.  Our use of a remote reinforcement device is based on the dog understanding that his behavior leads to reinforcement.   I would recommend using a clicker as a marker for this practice.  


Here are a few exercises to practice before class begins:


1.   Body movement shaping

2.   Prop shaping

3.   Speed shaping


Week 1:  Introduction to the Machine:


Initial behaviors:

   back up

   target (nose touch)

   lie down


Treat toss releases


Week 2:  Introduction to Props (1):


Down mat

Sit platform

Stand square


Week 3:  Introduction to Props (2):


Go around a pole

Paw touch an object

2 on / 2 off


Week 4:  Duration & Distance:


Delaying reinforcement (duration)

Send aways (distance)


Week 5:  Criteria & Cueing:


Increasing position duration & distance

Cueing (verbal & signals)


Week 6:  Discriminations & Chains:


Introducing 2 behavior chains

Verbal & signal discriminations

Reinforcing from more than one location

Prerequisites and Equipment

1)  Gold students will need a remote reinforcement device such as a Treat & Train or Pet Tutor.  Please familiarize yourself with the basic functions and operation of the machine.  

Note:  If you have not yet introduced the machine to your dog, please wait for lesson one before you do so.  If you have introduced the machine and have seen any issues (such as mauling the machine or fear of the machine) then please stop using it until we have a chance to condition a desirable response and establish proper behavior around the device.  

2)  Plenty of treats that will work well in your machine.

3)  A variety of easily obtained props such as a freestanding target stick, a mat or bed to lie on, a platform for sitting, a jump standard to go around, a target for a paw touch, and a carpet square or foam tile square for stands.  

4)  A dog with shaping experience will make much faster progress than a dog without.  I will provide some pre-class shaping exercises to help you get started.  

Course Testimonials

A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ....

The course was really helpful in learning how to introduce and use the T&T.  I'm glad I took the course.           

This classed seemed like it would be so simple but I got so much out of it!

I've had my dog for 5 years now and I thought he pretty much knew the basics but re-learning them with the machine really helped solidify the commands. He's so much more clear and enthusiastic about them now and for some reason the machine wore him out way more than our standard training sessions. Plus I could do it all from my couch in the air conditioning!