dog breed a z Dog Obedience Training

Dog Breed A Z
Response Cost. If positive reinforcement strengthens a response by adding a positive stimulus, then response cost has to weaken a behavior by subtracting (withholding) a positive stimulus. After the response the positive reinforcer is removed which weakens the frequency of that response. Trainers say we reward behaviors we want and ignore what we don't want. What this really means is we use the primary reinforcers for those behaviors we want and withhold primary reinforcers when we get behaviors we don't want.

CLASSICAL CONDITIONING. Classical conditioning involves simple stimulant response reactions, ie Pavlovian conditioning takes place. Pavlov's dogs came to associate metronome clicks with food and began to salivate (drool) on hearing the clicks in expectation of being fed. The dogs didn't have to do a thing for the food. The only behavior that was positively reinforced was the expectation of being fed having received the stimulus. The stimulus didn't reinforce the drooling - that was a natural reaction to the expectation of being fed - it was a sign that the stimulus was working. Conditioning is the learned association or connection of one thing with another.

Dog breed a z

OPERANT. 'Operant' means a behavior that operates on the environment. So when you see the word 'operant', substitute 'behavior' to make the meaning more clear.

OPERANT CONDITIONING. B.F. Skinner, who spent a whole career documenting the contingencies of reinforcement, outlined the principles of 'operant conditioning'. Operant conditioning means using the concepts of positive and negative reinforcement and punishment or correction by association. It is an extension of the Pavlovian conditioning but in operant conditioning the dog has to actually do something before the stimulus, the secondary reinforcer ('click', event marker, etc) is given which in turn is associated, through conditioning, with the primary reinforcer, eg a treat, praise, toys, etc.

PRIMARY REINFORCERS. Primary reinforcers are those things which directly positively or negatively reinforce behavior eg a treat or praise, food, water, shelter, warmth, sex, status, power, etc. Praise depends on who gives it and how it is given (voice tone, pitch, etc). If the dog doesn't respond positively to praise, the praise words aren't praise or primary reinforcers. Well timed Praise is a very powerful training tool, particularly when it is used as an event marker.

SECONDARY REINFORCERS. Secondary reinforcers are those things which, through operant conditioning, are associated with the primary reinforcers, eg 'click', verbal event markers, feedback, etc. For humans, money is a secondary reinforcer because money is associated with the primary reinforcers, food, shelter, security, sex, status, etc. Secondary reinforcers have no value in them per se, a 'click' is just a momentary audible sound, money is just paper or metal - secondary reinforcers promise or point to a primary reinforcer, they reinforce only because they are associated with a primary reinforcer.

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