Positive and negative reinforcement: Techniques and learning methods

positive and negative reinforcement

We discover how to improve the relationship with our best four-legged friend through the learning techniques of positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement

Techniques and methods of learning

In the past there was a tendency to punish your dog for bad behaviors, often unwelcome to man, but natural and instinctive for our four-legged friends. Therefore the idea was: if the dog pees in the house, I can make them obey by rubbing the puppy’s nose in it, scolding and whacking him with the infamous rolled-up newspaper. The dog may learn from this type of punishment, but the relationship between human and dog will never be the same.

If we add inconsistency to these learning methods (typical of us humans), then at that point, in the eyes of the dog we will never be the pack leader but we will be a figure much closer to the “village idiot” or more properly the “idiot of the pack”.

Let’s do a very simple test: When you are at home, relaxed on the couch in front of the TV and your dog is not around, call it; if he comes, it means that your relationship with him is ok, if it takes a while and you will have to recall it sometimes means that you have to improve upon it. This test you will have to make to call the dog, simply by calling his name and not adding the famous “I have a treat for you!”

positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement and Learning Techniques

To improve the relationship with your dog, you must start learning the concept of positive reinforcement. That is what learning technique through which you can promote a particular dog behavior. A typical situation may be that just described: call the dog and only give him a treat when he arrives.

In other words, we must bring the dog to think, “if I do what they ask, I get something nice“. The opposite of punishment is therefore positive reinforcement aims to increase a particular behavioral expression. Take into account the fact that dog learning methods are based on the consequences of his actions. Therefore your four-legged friend will repeat the given action only if you previously got something pleasant (the treat), rewarding (a game), accrediting (i.e. the consensus of the group) (“Good boy!”)

methods of dog training

Negative reinforcement and methods of dog training

Among dog training methods, in addition to positive reinforcement there is also the negative reinforcement. The latter aims to avoid rewarding the dog for an unpleasant situation, for example to loosening the leash when he stops pulling. In any case, it is always advisable to use positive reinforcement, because the dog learns very quickly. If you want to thus improve the relationship with your furry friend, start with positive reinforcement and lots of tasty treats. You will see that with a lot of patience and perseverance in dog training, at the end, when you call him, he will come to you even without the treat, as that action reminds him of something nice and he will be happy to accommodate you.