Reinforcers And Punishers In Dog Training

In everyday life we receive punishers and reinforcers as human beings. If you were told that you MAY be paid at the end of the month for going into work would you still go in everyday?

That feeling of glee when we purchase something in a shop and get a deal is a significant reinforcer and is exactly why we repeat that behaviour. We are creatures of habit and as much as we don’t like to think so, we are programmed and conditioned.

So when it comes to your dog bear in mind that when you are training him you are employing some serious science to do so. When you employ a trainer they must understand learning theory in order to be able to modify your dog’s behaviour accordingly.

A punisher can be described as something that will lessen certain behaviour.

Example: you are less likely to touch a hot pan again once you have been burned. A reinforcer can be described as something that will increase certain behaviour.

Example: you go to work you get paid or you play by the rules and you are allowed to stay on the team.

So when it comes to our dogs we need to consider that the same applies.

Using a food treat to pay a dog for a sit or wait is a positive + reinforcer and will increase the likelihood of the sit or wait happening again. Using an electric collar and correcting a dog when they bark is a positive + punisher and makes the behaviour of barking less likely in the future. Choking a dog until they sit is a negative – reinforcer as it makes the behaviour of sitting more likely in the future. Ignoring the dog when they jump on you is an example of negative - punishment and it makes the behaviour of jumping up less likely in the future.

So when you are seeking a trainer to work with your dog aim for one who employs

  • Positive Reinforcement = using food, treats and praise
  • Negative Punishment = ignoring, time outs

Related Products

Company Of Animals Coachies Dog Treats Company of Animals Coachies Dog Treats are great positive reinforcers. Give these to your dogs to encourage their best behavior. These dog treats are wheat, gluten and gm free so that they are good for his health as well as his doggie manners.

Return to Dog Care Tips >>

© Equipet Retail Ltd 2018