by Kay Laurence
Written by ClickerExpo faculty member Kay Laurence, Teaching with Reinforcement explains reinforcement patterns and the many types of positive reinforcement training as applied in clicker training, first learning, instinctive behaviors, and lifestyle management.
Reinforcement is a fascinating topic that threads through all of your interactions with your dog. Your conscious and unconscious reinforcement strengthens or weakens behavior. By understanding and recognizing reinforcement patterns you can teach with ease, removing a lot of stress from communication and increasing the joy in your relationship.
There are many different types of reinforcers available. Your training success depends on your skill in using those reinforcers appropriately and effectively—choosing the right reinforcer that maintains or increases the behavior.
In time, what is easily learned—such as your puppy walking by your side or sitting at the door—can change as your puppy grows and his or her priorities change. You will need to alter your reinforcers in order to meet the needs of a specific behavior. Sufficient reinforcement can only be measured by the maintenance, strengthening, or frequency of the behavior.
This book explains why it’s important not to take good behavior for granted. Once you have worked hard at re-balancing a behavior you will begin to realize it is much easier to maintain what you want, rather than assume it will stay the same.