Saturday, February 23, 2019

Behavior Principle #2: Behaviors that get rewarded/reinforced get repeated.

Principle #2 is the basis for operant conditioning.  We apply it every time we train or handle our dogs.  Simply put:
    1. We give a cue to our dog (the Stimulus)
    2. The dog does something we want him to do (the Response)
    3. We reward the wanted behavior (the Reinforcement)
This can be tricky for two reasons.  First, what we define as a reward or reinforcement may not be what that particular dog experiences as a reward or reinforcement.  Second, timing is essential.  Rewards/reinforcements must be delivered while the behavior is occurring, and within three seconds.  (Read more about using reward/reinforcement to shape your dog’s behaviors in Chapter 2: Training with Lures, Reinforcers and Positive Punishment and in Chapter 16: Stopping Unwanted Behaviors.)

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