For a dog owner, it is very important to offer the best training to his pet. Over a period the experts in the field have found out a number of models of training that can be used to offer effective training to any dog. These models can prove helpful to the pet, owner, and trainer as well. A lot of people wish to know that how operant conditioning forms the basis of dog training. Operant conditioning is a kind of instrumental conditioning by which dogs are trained. It is actually a learning process by which the strength of a particular activity or you can say the behavior is modified either by giving a reward or by giving a punishment. Thus to influence the behavior of dogs either punishment is used which will eventually reduce their behavior or reinforcement is used which will increase their behavior. The positive aspect is about adding the stimulus, and negative aspect is removing the stimulus in both cases. The experts have developed some models which are provided here.
The 4 quadrants of operant conditioning are discussed as follows-
- Positive reinforcement
In positive reinforcement, one needs to add the stimulus so that the behavior’s frequency increases. For example when a dog sits properly or follows instructions then it gets provided with a yummy treat. Thus when you are adding something to the behavior, that will eventually increase its frequency then it is called as positive reinforcement.
- Negative reinforcement
In this reinforcement, the stimulus is to be removed so that the frequency of behavior can be increased. In this case, the example can be when you are teaching a dog to bring things, then pinch the dog’s ear and afterward release it when the dog brings the object you have asked for. Thus here something is getting removed after the behavior which will eventually result in increasing the frequency of the behavior.
- Positive punishment
In positive punishment, the trainer needs to provide a stimulus which will eventually help in reduction in the frequency of the behavior. Like if the dog is not following instructions or is behaving inappropriately then acts like shouting, spanking, using a chain, etc. can act as positive punishment. Thus when something is added to the behavior which will eventually help in reduction of its frequency, then it is called as positive punishment.
- Negative punishment
In negative punishment, the stimulus is to be reduced so as to reduce the frequency of the behavior. For example, if the dog is having a habit of greeting the other person by jumping on him, then this behavior can be reduced by moving away from the dog when he comes to greet. So in this process, the stimulus has been removed after the behavior, and it will eventually reduce its frequency.
Thus these are the 4 quadrants of operant conditioning used for training dogs. You have to decide which method to follow as per the circumstances, and it is guaranteed that your dog will become well trained really early.