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Operant Conditioning Dog Training | Dog Obedience Training

What is Operant Conditioning?

This is where a dog’s behaviour and the immediate consequence (whether this be good or bad) will shape the future behaviour. Simply put, the dog will associate its specific behaviour or action on how it directly effects them either positively or negatively. So, when placed with the same situation in the future they will make a voluntary and conscious decision to alter the outcome. It’s exactly how we humans learn things – from life experience!

Operant conditioning is primarily broken into FOUR categories. These are Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Punishment and Negative Punishment.

Understanding this framework provides everyone with a really important piece of information. Not just for dog training either as we all operate on it everyday! It’s a really cool thing if you try to understand it. 

Anyway, back to talking about the framework of how we can all train our dogs.

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How does our method work?

The ‘3 Point Sliding Scale’ ™ is based on utilising ALL quadrants of ‘Operant Conditioning’ and is known in the dog training world as a ‘balanced approach.’

Aiming to increase a behaviour Aiming to decrease a behaviour
icon-add-button@2x Something is added Positive Reinforcement Positive Punishment
icon-remove-button@2x Something is removed Negative Reinforcement Negative Punishment

What is a Pure Positive Reinforcement Approach?

Positive Reinforcement simply means adding a reward (this can be given in the form of a treat, a toy or praise) to your dog in order to increase the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated. The Positive means ‘adding’ and the word reinforcement meaning, to ‘increase or strengthen’. There are a number of slight variations of this for example, ‘clicker training’ or ‘marker training’. (This is where particular emphasis is placed on rewarding the dog at the specific time the click or marker is made).

Positive Reinforcement within the dog training world didn’t take hold with the greater community until around the 1990’s, although there were a few trail blazers that began a decade prior to this. The inception of this has been one of the most amazing additions to training a puppy or a dog. In fact, it’s concerning to think that we use to train dogs without utilising this method and only compulsion (forcing a dog to do some action) training existed.

Reward based training uses Positive Reinforcement with variations of the addition of Negative Punishment – Negative Punishment is simply time out in a crate or the withholding of something special to the dog, for example a treat or a toy.

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Is a Pure Positive Reinforcement Approach working for US & OUR Dog?

As I’ve mentioned, the advent of a positive reinforcement approach has been amazing and is the way to teach a dog particular actions or behaviours. I’ve had the satisfaction of training many dogs using a pure reward based method.

Children in this modern world learn from all quadrants of operant conditioning with a helping hand from their parents, school teachers and society in general. We all have a small part to play in teaching them and explaining the workings of life. However, as we grow older and are not protected by our parents, real life can deal out some harsh lessons if we do things incorrectly. These harsh lessons present themselves in the form of a consequence. No one in this world is immune to consequences and in fact I’m glad we have consequences – The world would be mayhem if there were no consequences to prevent people from doing wrong and only rewarded for the good.

What is a Balanced training approach?

Balanced Training means using an approach to dog training or behaviour modification, which involves a combination of reward based techniques and consequences. In short, this means utilising all quadrants of Operant Conditioning. The majority of training that is conducted in this modern world only utilises reward based training and time out – In my opinion and from personal experience, this is a dangerous road to go down as it goes against proven psychology and science.

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Click through to enter your details and get INSTANT ACCESS to our proven training system. The sooner you start, the sooner you can start seeing results.

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