• Feb 26, 2020

In training of dogs we can tell about a positive reinforcement when the dog as a result of commission of "a good act" receives something important and valuable. For example, the dog lays down on command, and we award her with delicacy. In many countries (those which we call civilized) the positive reinforcement became the basic long ago if not by the only acceptable method of training of animals, including dogs. Than this method is good?

 runs the route of dog agility of a photo

Photo: google.by

For what it is possible to use a positive reinforcement?

In due time E. Torndayk formulated "the Law of Effect" according to which those reactions which led to content are fixed in the same situation with other things being equal better. Also the idea about communication of behavior with consequences was developed by the founder of operantny learning B.F. Skinner.

The method of a positive reinforcement is based that behavior which is supported, shown even more often . And its main plus is that satisfy motivation dogs.

And the positive reinforcement has no restrictions in the sphere of use. That is we can use it to teach a dog (as well as any animal, in principle capable to study) to anything and even to correct problem behavior.

What arguments are adduced by opponents of a positive reinforcement and why these arguments are insolvent?

The positive reinforcement has both supporters, and opponents. The main arguments against use of exclusively positive reinforcement:

  • " the positive reinforcement is a bribery of a dog".
  • " the positive reinforcement does not form stable skill".
  • " the positive reinforcement is a permissiveness".

However any of these arguments is not any well-founded.

If to speak about bribery, then opponents of a positive reinforcement substitute concepts . Bribery is when you show to a dog delicacy or a toy and call up. Yes, during training that the dog understood what from her is required, we, certainly, teach it to run up on a tasty piece or a toy – but only at an explanation stage. And if you called a dog, without beckoning her, praised at the moment when she turned away from other dogs or from interesting smells in a grass and ran to you and when ran up, play with her or treat - it is not bribery, but payment.

So about bribery the speech definitely does not go.

Those who speak "We tried a positive reinforcement, but it does not form stable skill" probably made mistakes in training of dogs . And one of such mistakes – sharp complication of a task.

For example if you worked team in the apartment, and asked a dog to execute it next day in the bustling street in crowd of strangers, among cars and a set of other irritants, most likely, the dog will be too lost that to execute it.

Before passing to the following stage, it is necessary to be convinced that the dog understands a task. If a task to complicate gradually, to do not pass important grade levels and it is correct to choose a way of motivation, the dog will show excellent result when training by method of a positive reinforcement, and is stable.

Besides, in a positive reinforcement the method of "a variable reinforcement" is used by when the award is given not every time, and the dog does not know whether she will receive a bonus for command execution. The variable reinforcement is more effective, than delivery of a prize after each team. Certainly, this way is used when the skill is already created, and the dog precisely understands what you want from her. It provides stability of implementation of commands too.

One more argument of opponents of a positive reinforcement is "permissiveness". "The dog will mount upon a neck!" — they are indignant . But the permissiveness is when the owner does not interfere with behavior of a dog, and it does that wants (wants – catches cats, wants – gnaws footwear, etc.). However, using a positive reinforcement, we train a dog, we explain rules of cohabitation and we help to adapt to reasonable restrictions, prompting how she can satisfy a target="_blank" rel= "noopener noreferrer" the requirements – simply we do it humanely. That is with permissiveness the positive reinforcement has nothing in common too.

In what advantages of a positive reinforcement?

The positive reinforcement has a number of valuable advantages in comparison with other methods:

  1. the Dog becomes initiative .
  2. the Dog learns to think , itself suggests the necessary actions to draw conclusions and often.
  3. The distress (a destructive stress) in the course of training disappears, occupations bring pleasure to both the owner, and a dog, so, the contact between them becomes stronger.
  4. the Dog works with huge desire, "undertakes" responsibility and is motivated to carry out "the part of work".

What is necessary to use a method of a positive reinforcement in training of a dog?

The method of a positive reinforcement can be applied with all dogs so from a dog only enough health is required to be able to study in general and to master these or those skills, in particular.

From the person who made the decision to use a positive reinforcement in training of a dog it is required:

  • Understanding, what is encouragement for a specific dog "here and now".
  • Definition of the exact moment of encouragement . If, training a dog to sit down on command, you encourage her when she gets up, then you teach her to get up, but not to sit.
  • Patience . Sometimes it is necessary to give to a dog the chance to think.
  • Sequence . In life of a dog there have to be rules, and the behavior of the owner has to be predictable. If you use a positive reinforcement today, and tomorrow use a stranglehold or beat a dog with current, she will not know what to expect from you – it will undermine confidence to you, and you will hardly achieve success.

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