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Is Intermittent Reinforcement Always Good? with Shannon Riley

Is Intermittent Reinforcement Always Good? with Shannon Riley


August 8, 2024    
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm (ET)


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Webinar Description

Intermittent reinforcement is a common method used in positive dog training. For mot trainers, continuous reinforcement is recommended until the learner successfully understand the behavior that is being cued, then the trainer will often recommend switching from continuous to intermittent reinforcement. Many trainers use the example of intermittent reinforcement being like a slot machine sometimes you get a pay out and sometimes you don’t. The phycology behind the idea is to get the learner to continue to do the behavior even when a reward is not immediately present.

Intermittent reinforcement can be a great method but we also need to look at the other side of intermittent reinforcement. In abuse situations, intermittent reinforcement can also be associated with something called a “trauma bond”. This is where an abuser brings flowers one day and abuses the next. This type of intermittent reinforcement will “bond” the victim to the abused but as positive reinforcement animal trainers, we need to make sure that our training methods are not turning into something aversive.


Learning Objectives

  • Why intermittent reinforcement is commonly recommended in the dog training world
  •  How intermittent reinforcement is “supposed to” work
  • Why intermittent reinforcement can backfire
  • Understanding trauma bond in domestic violence and how it relates to dog
  • Important things to consider when using or recommending intermittent reinforcement
  • Ways to make intermittent reinforcement positive



Your Presenter -Shannon Riley  BA, RVT, CPDT KA, KPA-CTP

Shannon Riley is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Registered Veterinary Technician, Wellness Coach, and Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. Shannon has been a pet lover all her life and a dog trainer for over 20 years. She has spent her life observing, caring for and training animals of all kinds. She has worked in the Bird Department at Marine World Africa USA, and worked as a handler and trainer for an African Serval Cat at Safari West, a private zoo in Santa Rosa, California. She has participated in behavior studies including observations of bald eagles and addax antelope through the San Francisco Zoo and Safari West.

Her education includes a Biology Degree, specializing in Zoology from Sonoma State. She is a Registered Veterinary Technician, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Shannon has also spoken at the Annual APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers) conferences and covered topics such as “Compassion Fatigue” and “What Is Your Dog’s Currency?” In 2021, she spoke at Pet Professional Guilds Geek Week.




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