Category Archives: Reinforcement

Let’s Talk about Using Aversives in Training. I’ll Go First!

Today’s post is about being  thoughtful about the use of aversives. I write about that frequently, so how about if I describe what I mean by “thoughtful”? I am going to present a description of an aversive method I used to use. I am … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Escape/Avoidance, Human body language, Negative Reinforcement, Punishment, Terminology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

How Did The Aversive Get There? A Call for Honesty

I am mystified by one particular argument of those who use protocols for fearful or reactive dogs other than desensitization/counterconditioning (DS/CC). These other protocols often use negative reinforcement; if not that, then sometimes desensitization without counterconditioning; sometimes extinction; sometimes habituation. People … Continue reading

Posted in Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Escape/Avoidance, Extinction, Fear, Negative Reinforcement, Terminology | Tagged , , , , | 48 Comments

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

Just a Trick?

“Crossing over” is a phrase dog trainers use to refer to the act of giving up training that uses aversives and changing over to training that uses principally positive reinforcement: becoming a Humane Hierarchy trainer, a force-free trainer, or a … Continue reading

Posted in Dog training hints, Fun, Handling and Husbandry, Toys and Play, Training philosophy, Tricks | Tagged , , , , , | 32 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

“Respect” Is SO Last Year

Shhh, don’t tell anyone!! I don’t know for sure, but I kind of think my dogs don’t “respect” me. But that’s OK.  Dogs probably don’t do “respect” anyway. It’s a human concept, and it depends on human cognition and social mores. When … Continue reading

Posted in Dog training hints, Human and dog misunderstandings, Multiple dogs, Positive Reinforcement, Toys and Play, Treats | Tagged , , | 47 Comments

Thresholds: The Movie

I have made a movie about thresholds in dog training. It gives a quick overview of the work that I presented in my webinar for the Pet Professional Guild. (Click here for a script of the movie; there is a lot of … Continue reading

Posted in Behavior analysis, Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Dogs' perceptions, Escape/Avoidance, Negative Reinforcement, Stress Signals, Terminology | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

How I Count Out Training Treats for Three Dogs

When questioned about possible weight problems from training with food, we R+ trainers always say something like, “No problem! Just subtract the training calories from your dogs’ daily meals and it will work out!” For me, that’s not as easy … Continue reading

Posted in Dog training hints, Positive Reinforcement, Treats | Tagged , , , , | 23 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

Who Was Resource Guarding? And Why We Need to Take it Seriously

What is it with me and contests/quizzes, anyway? The Curse of Knowledge got me again! Because of the way I made a guessing game out of two pictures of my dogs,  I may have led people to believe that resource … Continue reading

Posted in Dog body language, Resource guarding, Toys and Play | Tagged , | 4 Comments