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Communication with your dog

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It is very common to find with a long talk of trainers which debated for a specific case using positive reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment or negative reinforcement.

To try to attenuate these discussions will discuss some trite definitions of Behaviorism to then go to exemplify with a series of case studies.

Objective and scope

The first objective is to make it clear that it should not be so common listen to arguments on whether it has been used negative reinforcement or positive reinforcement or whatever it is, since this matter is studied in the first subjects of the degree in psychology, being answers closed expected in examinations. Said another way, if someone believes that positive reinforcement has been used in a particular case and another person, he believed that negative reinforcement is used, one of the two is wrong.

I hope to make it clear that these issues are not matters of philosophical arguments, i.e., given a context and a series of actions that take place in that context can be concluded from deterministic mode (Teichroew, 1964) the tools that have been used to influence the behavior of an animal.

How to know that you are using?

Let us now to how to reach that conclusion in a simple way. To know the tool that has been used to modify certain behavior three questions need to be answered in this order:

You need to know the action that you want to act, i.e. the behavior to be modified making it more or less likely in the future. Examples: “bark”, “stop barking”, “jump”, “relax”, “come to the owner”.

 

You must respond to the question of if we want that this action is more or less likely in the future. This will determine if I will use:

Reinforcement: when you want to increase the likelihood that the repeat. Examples: “increase the likelihood that the doggy dans online dog trainer come to me”, “increase the likelihood that dog jump a certain obstacle”, “increase the probability that a particular object porte”.

Punishment: when you want to reduce the likelihood that repeat the action. Examples: “reduce the likelihood that get distracted”, “reduce the likelihood that pull the belt”, “reduce the likelihood that touch a certain object”.

Finally, must answer the question of whether you have added or removed elements of the environment. This will determine if the reinforcement or punishment is:

Positive: elements appear in the context. Examples: pain, appears a toy, it appears food, appears some obstacle that not allows to reach a goal, etc.

Negative: disappearing elements in the context. Examples: pain go away a toy, it disappears food, disappears some obstacle that did not allow to achieve an objective, etc.

Example of positive reinforcement

Suppose that I ask the dog a sitting and succeed in the answer if I take a piece of food from my pocket and give it to you. Let’s look at the example with the steps shown above.

First question: do the action that you want to act? Verb sit

Second question: will be more or less likely in the future? It will be likely, then you are using reinforcement

Third question: have been added or removed elements of the environment? It has added an element not present was the piece of food, then using Positive reinforcement

Example of negative reinforcement

Suppose that through an obstacle of type metal fence gate are preventing our dog reaching a ball that is seeing the other side of the door. In that case, instead of giving the ball without more, Act asking a sitting (is just one example) and if it gives the correct answer, we opened the door and let you play with the ball. Let’s look at the example with the steps shown above.

First question: do the action that you want to act? Verb sit

Second question: will be more or less likely in the future? It will be likely, then you are using reinforcement

Third question: have been added or removed elements of the environment? It has removed the obstacle which prevented from reaching the ball, then use Negative reinforcement

Example of positive punishment

Suppose that, in a walk down the street, a dog barks to a neighbor and to try to avoid it in future occasions receive a belt flip

First question: do the action that you want to act? Verb barking at people

Second question: do you want to be more or less likely in the future? I hope that it is less likely, then you are using punishment

Third question: have been added or removed elements of the environment? It has added pain in the trachea of a correction with strap, then use Positive punishment

Example of negative punishment

The clearest example is shown in some books for the bite inhibition. In a session of play with teether with a puppy, the dog make the mistake of biting us some finger gently, as a consequence of abandonment the game keeping the toy. Let’s look at the example with the steps shown above.

First question: do the action that you want to act? Verb bite me

Second question: will be more or less likely in the future? It will be less likely, then punishment is being used

Third question: has been added or removed elements of the environment? It has eliminated the teether and the game environment, then use Negative punishment…