Don’t Get Burned by Blazing Clickers
Trainers in the Karen Pryor tradition have learned that when a clicker is used correctly it marks precisely the animal’s behavior that controls the reinforcer. Behavior is strengthened when the clicks becomes a reliable predictor of backup reinforcement. This is accomplished by ensuring that every click is followed by a well-established reinforcer.
However, some trainers repeatedly mark behavior without backing up the marker, a practice we call blazing clickers. Blazing clickers weaken the predictive value of the marker, resulting in slower learning, increased aggression, and, sometimes, giving up. In this Session, the science-based rationale for following every click with a backup reinforcer will be reviewed, and we will explore the faulty reasoning often used to support the practice of blazing clickers. With this information, you will be able to teach others why and how to avoid getting burned by blazing clickers.