What is an example of using operant conditioning as it applies to dog behavior?FamilyPet
Operant conditioning is also known as stimulus-response conditioning. An animal forms an association between its behavior and what happens to it afterwards. Thus, when the dog behaves in a certain way, the consequence is good or bad.
Operant conditioning is composed of several specific techniques. Most handlers use a combination of these techniques:
• Positive Reinforcement: With positive reinforcement, the dog receives a good consequence or reward– certain foods or cookies, play or praise– for correct behavior. As a result, the dog repeats the behavior to receive additional rewards
Positive reinforcement builds trust and bonding between the handler and dog. The dog is willing and happy to perform the behavior, and there are no important consequences if the handler’s timing is off.
• Negative reinforcement: This is the removal of something positive when the dog does a behavior. The timeout can be an example. For example, if the dog does something unacceptable, you simply leave the room. The dog wants to play with you, so you are the reinforcement. When the dog stops the unacceptable behavior, you return to the room and play. In this case, removal of play was the negative reinforcement. The dog now knows that a specific action won’t get attention.
• Positive Punishment: When the dog chooses the wrong behavior, positive punishment is introduced; an example could be silencing a barking dog by squirting it with water. Dog trainers almost never use this, because positive reinforcement is so effective. This could end up creating mistrust, break bonds, or establish fear of everyday things, like water, hands or newspapers (if the dog is smacked.)
• Negative Punishment: Negative punishment involves removing a negative stimulus. An example could be a choke chain, used by many owners. When the dog pulls, the choke is yanked and the pulling stops. Here’s the disadvantage of this: The dog just might perceive this as “nagging” and just tune out to it.