Category Archives: Positive Reinforcement

Latent Learning: The Original Definition

Latent learning has a precise definition in learning theory and it’s not what many people think. It’s not magic learning that happens during downtime–at least not in the way people assume. It is not a sudden better performance after a … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Positive Reinforcement | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

If You’re Loving It, Why Leave?

Is “choice” a code word for negative reinforcement? It can be. Seems like that’s the context where I see it pop up the most.  I’ve written a lot about choice. Two of my major points are: Many people are confused … Continue reading

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Posted in Choice, Escape/Avoidance, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Reinforcement | 9 Comments

Go Sniff! Then Please Come Back!

Please share this post whenever you see someone suggest to an inexperienced trainer that she use sniffing as a reinforcer on walks. Hey. You know that thing that seems like the perfect solution to problems with your dog when walking on … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog training hints, Positive Reinforcement, Scent work | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

6 Myths about Positive Reinforcement-Based Training

Positive reinforcement-based training is subject to a lot of misunderstanding and misrepresentation. Many people genuinely don’t understand how it works, and others seem to deliberately misrepresent it. Some of these misunderstandings and misrepresentations are very “sticky.”  Misunderstandings, straw men, myths–call them … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Critical Thinking, Positive Reinforcement | 25 Comments

But I’ve Seen Stressed-Out Dogs During Positive Reinforcement Training Too!

Thank you to Jennifer Titus of CARE for Reactive Dogs for editorial advice. All errors and awkward moments are mine alone. Citing “stressed-out R+ dogs” in an argument is an old chestnut that comes around regularly. The writer usually describes a training session he or she witnessed where a … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Escape/Avoidance, Negative Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Positive Reinforcement | 10 Comments

What Does Shower Mold Have to Do With Dog Training?

Am I really reaching today, or what? You be the judge! There is a series of articles in the behavioral psychology literature that questions whether the distinction between positive and negative reinforcement is important.* These papers are often quoted by people who … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Escape/Avoidance, Human psychology, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Reinforcement | 37 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

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

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Posted in Dog training hints, Human and dog misunderstandings, Multiple dogs, Positive Reinforcement, Toys and Play, Treats | Tagged , , | 49 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

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

Summer Punches It

I have learned a lot in the last three months. Yes, that’s how long it has taken for me to get Summer’s target behavior where I really wanted it. Back in September I published a post about the many ways … Continue reading

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Posted in Clicker, Cues, Dog training hints, Examples for Teachers, Positive Reinforcement, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments