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Partial rewarding during clicker training does not improve naïve dogs' learning speed and induces a pessimistic-like affective state.
Anim Cogn. 2021 Jan; 24(1):107-119.AC

Abstract

Clicker training is considered a welfare-friendly way of teaching novel behaviors to animals because it is mostly based on the positive reinforcement. However, trainers largely vary in their way of applying this training technique. According to the most, a reward (e.g., food) should follow every click, while others claim that dogs learn faster when the reward is sometimes omitted. One argument against the use of partial rewarding is that it induces frustration in the animal, raising concerns over its welfare consequences. Here, we investigated the effect of partial rewarding not only on training efficacy (learning speed), but also on dogs' affective state. We clicker-trained two groups of dogs: one group received food after every click while the other group received food only 60% of the time. Considering previous evidence of the influencing role of personality on reactions to frustrated expectations, we included measurements of dogs' emotional reactivity. We compared the number of trials needed to reach a learning criterion and their pessimistic bias in a cognitive bias test. No difference between the two groups emerged in terms of learning speed; however, dogs that were partially rewarded during clicker training showed a more pessimistic bias than dogs that were continuously rewarded. Generally, emotional reactivity was positively associated with a more pessimistic bias. Partial rewarding does not improve training efficacy, but it is associated with a negatively valenced affective state, bringing support to the hypothesis that partial rewarding might negatively affect dogs' welfare.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Clever Dog Lab, Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, Vienna, 1210, Austria. giulia.cimarelli@vetmeduni.ac.at. Domestication Lab, Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, 1210, Vienna, Austria. giulia.cimarelli@vetmeduni.ac.at.Clever Dog Lab, Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, Vienna, 1210, Austria.Clever Dog Lab, Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, Vienna, 1210, Austria. R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Scotland. Scotland's Rural University College (SRUC), Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Scotland. UMR PRC, INRA, CNRS, IFCE, Université de Tours, 37380, Nouzilly, France.Clever Dog Lab, Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, Vienna, 1210, Austria.Clever Dog Lab, Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, Vienna, 1210, Austria.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32897444

Citation

Cimarelli, Giulia, et al. "Partial Rewarding During Clicker Training Does Not Improve Naïve Dogs' Learning Speed and Induces a Pessimistic-like Affective State." Animal Cognition, vol. 24, no. 1, 2021, pp. 107-119.
Cimarelli G, Schoesswender J, Vitiello R, et al. Partial rewarding during clicker training does not improve naïve dogs' learning speed and induces a pessimistic-like affective state. Anim Cogn. 2021;24(1):107-119.
Cimarelli, G., Schoesswender, J., Vitiello, R., Huber, L., & Virányi, Z. (2021). Partial rewarding during clicker training does not improve naïve dogs' learning speed and induces a pessimistic-like affective state. Animal Cognition, 24(1), 107-119. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-020-01425-9
Cimarelli G, et al. Partial Rewarding During Clicker Training Does Not Improve Naïve Dogs' Learning Speed and Induces a Pessimistic-like Affective State. Anim Cogn. 2021;24(1):107-119. PubMed PMID: 32897444.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Partial rewarding during clicker training does not improve naïve dogs' learning speed and induces a pessimistic-like affective state. AU - Cimarelli,Giulia, AU - Schoesswender,Julia, AU - Vitiello,Roberta, AU - Huber,Ludwig, AU - Virányi,Zsófia, Y1 - 2020/09/08/ PY - 2020/04/30/received PY - 2020/08/28/accepted PY - 2020/08/24/revised PY - 2020/9/9/pubmed PY - 2021/1/27/medline PY - 2020/9/8/entrez KW - Clicker training KW - Cognitive bias KW - Domestic dog KW - Operant conditioning KW - Partial rewarding KW - Personality SP - 107 EP - 119 JF - Animal cognition JO - Anim Cogn VL - 24 IS - 1 N2 - Clicker training is considered a welfare-friendly way of teaching novel behaviors to animals because it is mostly based on the positive reinforcement. However, trainers largely vary in their way of applying this training technique. According to the most, a reward (e.g., food) should follow every click, while others claim that dogs learn faster when the reward is sometimes omitted. One argument against the use of partial rewarding is that it induces frustration in the animal, raising concerns over its welfare consequences. Here, we investigated the effect of partial rewarding not only on training efficacy (learning speed), but also on dogs' affective state. We clicker-trained two groups of dogs: one group received food after every click while the other group received food only 60% of the time. Considering previous evidence of the influencing role of personality on reactions to frustrated expectations, we included measurements of dogs' emotional reactivity. We compared the number of trials needed to reach a learning criterion and their pessimistic bias in a cognitive bias test. No difference between the two groups emerged in terms of learning speed; however, dogs that were partially rewarded during clicker training showed a more pessimistic bias than dogs that were continuously rewarded. Generally, emotional reactivity was positively associated with a more pessimistic bias. Partial rewarding does not improve training efficacy, but it is associated with a negatively valenced affective state, bringing support to the hypothesis that partial rewarding might negatively affect dogs' welfare. SN - 1435-9456 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32897444/Partial_rewarding_during_clicker_training_does_not_improve_naïve_dogs'_learning_speed_and_induces_a_pessimistic_like_affective_state_ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-020-01425-9 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -