It is more than just cookies

Positive Reinforcement is more than just cookies. Positive reinforcement is actually one of the 4 quadrants of operant conditioning first defined by B.F. Skinner. The remaining 3 are positive punishment, negative reinforcement and negative punishment.
Reinforcing a behavior you like with something of value to the learner is positive reinforcement. That reinforcer for our dogs can be cookies, toy play, petting, free time or anything else that pleases your dog. There is a large body of evidence supporting the success of positive reinforcement and learning or maintaining behaviors. That same body of evidence shows us that punishment doesn’t work as effectively.
Imagine this: you are paid for your work and treated fairly by your boss and colleagues. Likely to return to your job every day? Sure! Now imagine that your boss and colleagues are verbally and physically abusive. You’ll do your job but I bet you’ll be looking for a new one with every spare minute you have. Why would our dogs be any different?
Mistakes need to be corrected, but rarely does it need to be done through punishment. If we use positive reinforcement and positive punishment together we create what is known as a “poisoned cue.”
Using a similar analogy to the one above, you’ve been called into the boss’s office several times. Each time you are given praise and a raise. You begin to understand that the call to the office predicts something good. But the next time, you are yelled at and my pay is cut. Whoa! Is it Jekyll or Hyde in the office? That cue is now poisoned because it’s been proven ambivalent to you. Our dogs are the same way. When “heel” previously was rewarded with a treat and now it receives a pop of the collar we’ve poisoned the cue.

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