What is the definition of extinction bursts as it relates to clicker training dogs?
Clicker training is a method of dog training whereby the animal performs the desired behavior and then the trainer or owner clicks or says a quick “yes!” as that behavior happens. Then it’s immediately followed by a reinforcement or reward –which is almost always food.
Positive reinforcement dog trainers, who often rely on this method, believe that treating your dog for desired behaviors, will increase the likelihood that your dog will engage in these in the future, rather than just dwelling on the behavior you wish to eliminate.
Concentrate on what you want your dog to do instead of what you want your dog to stop doing, they say. However, be prepared for the “extinction burst.”
You need to understand the progression of this training.
First, there’s extinction: That involves the principal of “non-punishment, non-reinforcement”—basically, ignoring the behavior. A lot of owners unwittingly “reward” their dogs for unwanted behaviors; for example, dogs will continue to pull on leash because it gets their owners to move forward/faster on walks, dogs bark for attention or jump to greet..Often, ignoring the behavior is the best bet; wait the dog out and then reinforce when he offers an alternative behavior (sits instead of jumping, for example). Extinction requires some patience, especially if the behavior has “paid off” for quite some time.
Then there’s the extinction burst: When the specific behavior has been reinforced strongly in past, but it suddenly gets no reinforcement—such as barking, growling or begging—the behavior might actually get worse before it gets better. The dog, in an effort to get back the attention that behavior once brought on, because will perform that behavior over and over again—sometimes it can even be frantic—in the hopes of getting a reward.
It is like an elevator. You might want it to come faster so, even though you know it won’t help, you just keep pushing and pushing that button.