Category Archives: Operant conditioning

The Girl with the Paper Hat (Part 1 of 2)

Once upon a time there was a girl who decided to teach her dog some tricks. She figured out that if she gave her dog something he liked after he did something she liked, he was liable to do the … Continue reading

Posted in Cues, Dog training hints, Operant conditioning, Positive Reinforcement | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

It’s Not Painful. It’s Not Scary. It Just Gets the Dog’s Attention!

Some dog trainers who use tools such as shock, prong, or slip collars, or startle the dog with thrown objects or loud noises, claim that these things are done only to “get the dog’s attention.” They may further insist that the dog … Continue reading

Posted in Cues, Human and dog misunderstandings, Operant conditioning, Punishment culture, Reinforcement, Terminology | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

16 Behavioral Cues that I Didn’t Train (But are Still For Real)

When most of us think of cues, we think of the verbal ones we teach our dogs. “Sit,” “Down,” “Here!” Perhaps we have taught them some hand signals as well. To teach a cue we go through a set process … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Cues, Discrimination, Operant conditioning | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

Discussing Negative Reinforcement Responsibly

I didn’t give today’s post a cute title, because this situation makes me very, very sad. There are some strange claims going around the dog training community. They are not being made by shock trainers, although I am sure they appreciate … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Escape/Avoidance, Negative Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Terminology | Tagged | 51 Comments

Why Not to Respond to that FaceBook Post While You’re All Fired Up

Thanks to Scott Beale on Flickr for the photo.  This post may not about what you think. There are several obvious reasons not to rush off the deep end with a critical FaceBook comment, first among them that you may … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Escape/Avoidance, Human psychology, Operant conditioning | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Leaving the Scene: Clarifying the Science of Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is really, really easy to get mixed up about. Recently I read something that quite bothered me until I did a little research and figured it out. I’d like to share what I learned with you. What I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Dog training hints, Fear, Negative Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Positive Reinforcement, Premack Principle, Reinforcement, Terminology | Tagged | 17 Comments

But Isn’t it Punishment to Withhold the Treat?

Lots and lots of people think that if you withhold the treat you are punishing the dog. Some will ask the above question in a gleeful, challenging way, feeling certain that they have caught the positive reinforcement based trainers in … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Extinction, Operant conditioning, Punishment, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 26 Comments