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I must be on my 10th book on dog training that dives off the deep end into the details of operant conditioning. I guess I need to figure this out, and I seem to be having trouble especially with the 4 types and how they are different.

I guess I must be a little slow on the uptake, as I still can't fix it in my brain. Anyway is there some book, pdf, image that caused you to get operant conditioning?

Yes, I am looking into dog training as a career.
 

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I must be on my 10th book on dog training that dives off the deep end into the details of operant conditioning. I guess I need to figure this out, and I seem to be having trouble especially with the 4 types and how they are different.

I guess I must be a little slow on the uptake, as I still can't fix it in my brain. Anyway is there some book, pdf, image that caused you to get operant conditioning?

Yes, I am looking into dog training as a career.
Have you read "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor?
 

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I think the problem is that operant conditioning uses words in weird ways. What confused me is the use of the words "positive" and "negative". Unlike normal conversation, where "positive" means "good" and "negative" means "bad", in OC, "positive" means "adding" and "negative" means "taking away". Once I figured that out, it started to click.

Actually, "Operant conditioning for dummies" is a popular google search. This article seems fairly good.
 

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It helps me if I break the words down individually.
Negative = Taking away a stimulus
Positive = Adding a stimulus
Punishment = A stimulus the dog finds unpleasant (aversive)
Reinforcement = A stimulus the dog finds rewarding

With operant conditioning you are always either trying to increasing the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring or decrease the likelihood of it reoccurring by providing consequences the dog finds either aversive or rewarding.

One of the confusing things for me is that it is what the DOG finds aversive or rewarding so it can vary between dogs. For example, one dog might find being squirted with a squirt bottle aversive while another might enjoy it and find it reinforcing.
 

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To add to Gally's comments,

punishment = reduces likelihood of behavior occurring
reinforcement = increases likelihood of behavior occurring
 

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When you would use them:

To increase the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring you could use:
a) positive reinforcement ex. giving a treat when a dog does something desired
b) negative reinforcement ex. relieving pressure on a collar when a dog does something desired

To decrease the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring you could use:
a) positive punishment ex. giving a corrective leash pop when a dog does something undesired
b) negative punishment ex. taking a treat away when a dog does something undesired
 

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I think another part of the confusion is that many situations could be classified as more than one quadrant, depending on how you look at it. For instance, say you have a prong collar on a dog (I wouldn't) and the collar gigs the dog. If it works, is it positive punishment (the act of pulling has been punished by the collar and so is less likely to occur) or negative reinforcment. (the act of walking with a loose leash is rewarded by the collar discomfort being relieved)? It can be seen as both or either, and opposite quadrants (+P/-R or +R/-P) are frequently used together to make the point clearer. (you jump on me, the attention goes away (-P) and then you keep your feet on the ground, you get attention AND cookies! (+R)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is a great thread, glad to hear you all have been stumped in the past, too. I am planning to read "Don't Shoot the Dog" when I get home from a short vacation. Thanks all.
 

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When you would use them:

To increase the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring you could use:
a) positive reinforcement ex. giving a treat when a dog does something desired
b) negative reinforcement ex. relieving pressure on a collar when a dog does something desired

To decrease the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring you could use:
a) positive punishment ex. giving a corrective leash pop when a dog does something undesired
b) negative punishment ex. taking a treat away when a dog does something undesired

Yep.

Operant conditioning isn't that hard. I think people complicate it more than it really is.

In essence, you're either:

Giving the dog something he likes (+R)
Taking away something he likes (-P)
Taking away something he DOESN'T like (-R)
Giving him something he DOESN'T like (+P)

That's really it. Honestly. Even including the "it depends on the dog part" because what the dog likes or doesn't like depends, well, on the dog.

The real key is timing and knowing what behavior you're applying that to so that he's receiving what you think you're telling him and not something completely different. That's where the real "explaining to the dog" happens.
 

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The book to read on Operant condition is "how dog's learn" by Dr. Bausch and Dr. Bailey. That's all the book is about is operant conditioning.

Also, like Pawz said. It's not how the trainer precieves the training that make things fall into once sector of the OP quadrant...it's how the dog views it. And Postive punishment is not positive punishment unless: the addition of the stimulus stops the behavior....So you do not know after the fact.
 

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Another piece of the puzzle is Extinction - a behavior that is ignored will fade away, potentially going through an extinction burst.
Eating, barking, biting, chasing, digging, sleeping, sex are self rewarding.

Ian Dunbar - http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads comes up with clever operant applications and solutions.

A rough history: Pavlov discovered Classical conditioning, Thorndike applied it to learning, Skinner did the definitive work on 'modern' operant conditioning, and I believe that Bailey studied under Skinner.
(Noam Chomsky did the research that helped re-direct to Cognitive Psychology, and Gagne helped define education psychology.)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
..and when you're done, you can start reading "Reaching the animal mind" by the same author...;)
Its really quite funny as I have both the books on my reading shelf from earlier pondering what to read. I guess I just have been reading to correct the behavior problems with Rosie. Boy is she an emotional behavior junkie.
 

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On a trick training forum, I just stickied a thread about this. It's a confusing concept for most. but it's been well explained here :)

Both books are very good at explaining OC :)
 

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Another piece of the puzzle is Extinction - a behavior that is ignored will fade away, potentially going through an extinction burst.
Eating, barking, biting, chasing, digging, sleeping, sex are self rewarding.
...And the self-rewarding behaviours will not fade away simply by ignoring them.


And Postive punishment is not positive punishment unless: the addition of the stimulus stops the behavior
What would you call hitting a dog on the head while he's doing a self reinforcing behaviour (let's say digging a hole) when the stimulus (hit on the head) does not stop the behavior (digging) ?
Hitting on the head is called "punishment" if it works...and if it doesn't, it's called "cruelty" or "abuse" ?
 

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What would you call hitting a dog on the head while he's doing a self reinforcing behaviour (let's say digging a hole) when the stimulus (hit on the head) does not stop the behavior (digging) ?
Hitting on the head is called "punishment" if it works...and if it doesn't, it's called "cruelty" or "abuse" ?
It means the intensity of the signal did not match or overcome the drive/focus/emotional intensity of the dog. If he's eating off the ground and I just tap his head lightly, I'm not abusing him, but my signal is not intense enough to make him pay attention to it. The same principle as when a cued behavior is not maintained (or performed) in high-drive or high-emotion situations.

If I wanted to, I could hit Wally on the head hard enough to make him stop doing whatever, probably even eating. However, the question is then, is that intensity or that signal one I should use on him?

Of course, hitting him is out of the question for me. But I could give his recall cue, a behavior that's conditioned so strongly that it cuts through his drive and is able to steer him back to me. You could argue that is a punishment unless I reward the act of him coming to me. He obviously wanted to chase the rabbit and I denied it with the recall (you could argue it's negative punishment, I withdrew him from something he liked, though most just call it 'redirection'), but then the act of recalling was rewarded (positive reinforcement), so the end result is that he's apt to recall since it leads to a reward, even if initially it means turning away from something he liked.
 

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It means the intensity of the signal did not match or overcome the drive/focus/emotional intensity of the dog. If he's eating off the ground and I just tap his head lightly, I'm not abusing him, but my signal is not intense enough to make him pay attention to it. The same principle as when a cued behavior is not maintained (or performed) in high-drive or high-emotion situations.

If I wanted to, I could hit Wally on the head hard enough to make him stop doing whatever, probably even eating. However, the question is then, is that intensity or that signal one I should use on him?

Of course, hitting him is out of the question for me. But I could give his recall cue, a behavior that's conditioned so strongly that it cuts through his drive and is able to steer him back to me. You could argue that is a punishment unless I reward the act of him coming to me. He obviously wanted to chase the rabbit and I denied it with the recall (you could argue it's negative punishment, I withdrew him from something he liked, though most just call it 'redirection'), but then the act of recalling was rewarded (positive reinforcement), so the end result is that he's apt to recall since it leads to a reward, even if initially it means turning away from something he liked.
Naw, I think trying to call cuing an incompatible behavior as punishment is a pretty far stretch. Does Wally consider a recall as an aversive worth avoiding? I doubt it. And as long as you have plenty of money in the bank, and have spent a some time on varying your reinforcement schedule in some way, he's likely to see it as a possible opportunity to earn reward. (and, I would hope if you called him away from something really difficult, you'd give some sort of reinforcement, even if you don't have food on you..
 

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Naw, I think trying to call cuing an incompatible behavior as punishment is a pretty far stretch. Does Wally consider a recall as an aversive worth avoiding? I doubt it. And as long as you have plenty of money in the bank, and have spent a some time on varying your reinforcement schedule in some way, he's likely to see it as a possible opportunity to earn reward. (and, I would hope if you called him away from something really difficult, you'd give some sort of reinforcement, even if you don't have food on you..

Oh I definitely do. Usually, I let him chase me around and stuff since he want to chase - he can chase me. I'm safe...usually :p (I like to surprise him once in a while to keep him on his toes during the game :D I figure prey can be pretty unpredictable, so it maybe it gives it a little more "realism"). Then he can jump up on me (or I fall out like a fool and he promptly POUNCES on me...it would hurt if he was a Newfoundland...I might be missing some ribs then LOL)
 

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I've always had trouble with the concept of "it's only punishment if it works" thing. If someone smacks the snot out of their kid for doing something, and he runs right out and does it again, it's not punishment? Then what IS it called? Yeah, that's confusing for me.
 
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