Types Of Reinforcement In Dog Training:
There are two types of reinforcement in dog training; positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Wait. What about punishment? Proper training does not have room for punishment. In this post we attempt to clarify the differences.
There are two types of reinforcement in dog training.
A positive reinforcer is anything or any action the dog enjoys that, by itself or in combination with others, will increase the likelihood that the dog will perform the desired behavior again. Sometimes referred to as motivators, they can include food, play with a favorite toy, verbal praise, or physical stroking. The motivator must be favorable to the dog. If, for example, you were training a dog that doesn't like to be stroked (yes, there are some), then petting the dog when he has performed the desired behavior would work against your training.
When the dog gives you the desired behavior, particularly in the early stages of teaching a specific exercise, positive reinforcement should have the following component parts:
- Verbal praise. Make it genuine and enthusiastic.
- Stroking or petting the dog – if the dog enjoys it.
- Food tidbit or play with a favorite toy or ball.
Negative reinforcement is an action or stimulus that the dog interprets as unfavorable, which by itself or in combination with other reinforcers will increase the likelihood that the dog will perform the desired behavior again or will reduce the possibility that he will perform an unwanted 78behavior again. Select a negative reinforcer that will manipulate the dog into correcting an unwanted behavior by substituting it with a wanted or desired behavior. Here's an example of negative reinforcement. If your dog is pulling on the leash, you quickly step to the side and pop the leash and collar so that you slightly off-balance him. To avoid discomfort, the dog stops pulling on the leash and, instead, walks with a loose leash. Note that the dog has control over this situation. He can avoid the discomfort merely by correcting his actions, in this case, by walking at your left side and letting the leash go slack
What about punishment?
There is no place for punishment in dog training. The term negative reinforcement is sometimes used interchangeably with the word "punishment." However, in dog training, they're not the same thing.
- Is usually dished out after the fact.
- Usually has a negative emotional component, carrying frustration or anger.
- Usually fails to give the dog a way out. He cannot correct his behavior to stop the discomfort.
Punishment neither increases desired behavior nor decreases undesirable behavior. It's a useless training tool and has no place in dog training. Unless an exercise specifically requires that you take the dog off-leash, keep your dog on a leash at all times while training.