Learn Faster with More Mistakes?

Summer is coming to an end and things are starting to slow down a bit. It’s been a very busy summer with competitions both near and far away (European Open in Hungary), camps at home and abroad and not much time for anything else. We’ve had technical problems with the shop part of the website, so we had to postpone the start of our next Foundation Class Online. We promise to find a solution soon! I’ll also get back with more reports on what Wilco and I are doing. He just turned 6 months.

I came across an interesting article today regarding learning. Trainers often have the idea that error-less learning leads to faster and better results than learning based more on trial and error. While I like to keep my dogs successful, I’m never afraid of letting them try different things and try again when they’re not rewarded. I was therefore glad to come across these studies that suggest that off-target actions can be a key ingredient in quick learning. Even making mistakes happen (applying a force that pushes the action off target) can make learning go faster than striving for error-less repetitions.

Learn Faster with Messy Moves

Of course, we don’t know if this applies to dogs (although I would think so), and I don’t know about the quality of the studies or if there are other studies that suggest otherwise. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or added knowledge on this subject!

Leave a comment