Frequently Asked Questions
doggiedrawings.net before continuing.
(1) The Four Quadrants of Operant Conditioning. (2) The ABC of Operant Conditioning. (3) The Four Categories of Operant Conditioning
In psychology, "reinforcement" is defined as anything that increases the frequency or intensity of a behavior. "Positive reinforcement" is when you add something to the animal's environment that increases the frequency or intensity of a behavior. Administering some reward to your pet when she does something you want her to do is an excellent way to see that behavior more often! We use positive reinforcement frequently because it is highly effective. We make all reinforcement and punishment choices very carefully, based on the individual animal and circumstances in each case.
Here are some more thoughts on punishment from Psychology Today, Is Punishment an Effective Way to Chance the Behavior of Dogs, and The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, Use of Punishment in Behavior Modification of Animals
We choose punishment and reinforcement very carefully, based on the individual animal and circumstances in each case.
How to Choose a Trainer (AVSAB).
Puppy Mill Red Flags.
- Alternatives to Being the "Alpha:" Better Ways to Interact with Dogs is a web lecture given by our Clever Critters founder, Ellen Mahurin, MA, ACAAB at The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine on March 16, 2010.
- Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS, veterinarian and behaviorist, offers free downloads, a blog, books and fantastic videos about pet behavior and training.
- Dog Star Daily is the informative blog of veterinarian and behaviorist, Dr. Ian Dunbar, DVM, PhD and a crew of other qualified dog professionals.
- Animal Behavior Associates offers free dowloads, a blog, educational telecourses, books and more from Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists Suzanne Hetts, PhD, CAAB and Daniel Estep, PhD, CAAB.
More information about the opinion of our founder, Ellen Mahurin, MA, ACAAB can be found here:
- Alternatives to Being the "Alpha:" Better Ways to Interact with Dogs, a web lecture given at The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine on March 16, 2010.
More information from scientific literature:
- Bradshaw, J.W.S., Blackwell, E.J., & Casey, R.A. (2009). Dominance in domestic dogs-useful construct or bad habit? Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 4, 135-144.
- Coppinger, R. & Coppinger L. (2001). Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution. The University of Chicago Press.
- Hiby, E.F., Rooney, N.J. & Bradshaw, J.W.S. (2004). Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behavior and welfare. Animal Welfare, 13, 63-69
- Mech, L.D. (1970). The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species. Doubleday Publishing Co., N.Y.: Natural History Press.
- Mech, L.D. (1999). Alpha status, dominance, and division of labor in wolf packs. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 77, 1196-1203
- Mech, L.D. (2000) Leadership in Wolf, Canis lupus, Packs. Canadian Field-Naturalist, 114(2), 259-263.
- Mech, L.D. (2001). Standing Over and Hugging in Wild Wolves, Canis lupus. Canadian Field-Naturalist, 115(1), 179-181.
- Van Kerkhove, W. (2004). A Fresh Look at the Wolf-Pack Theory of Companion-Animal Dog Social Behavior. Journal od Applied Animal Welfare Science, 7(4), 279-285.
Other prominent professionals agree that we need alternatives to dominance-based dog training:
- The Dominance Controversy (2010) - Sophia Yin
- The Alpha Fallacy [video] (2009) - Ian Dunbar
- Let's Just Be Humans Training Dogs (2010) - Ian Dunbar
- Assessing the Alpha Roll (2001) - Terry Ryan
- Whatever Happened to the Term Alpha Wolf? - by wildlife research biologist L. David Mech (2008)
- Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals (2008) - Position statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
- Use of Punishment in Behavior Modification of Animals (2007) - Position statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
Alternative approaches to dominance theory for...
- Avoiding dog bites - A video from Dr. Sophia Yin at AskDrYin.com
- Dogs who are aggressive to other dogs - A video from Dr. Sophia Yin at AskDrYin.com
- Dogs who guard their food - A video from Dr. Sophia Yin at AskDrYin.com
- Dogs who are aggressive for grooming - A video from Dr. Sophia Yin at AskDrYin.com
A variety of behavior problems - Information from Dr. Suzanne Hetts and Dr. Daniel Estep
at Animal Behavior Associates