“I love your sense of ego but have a question. What in God’s name is positive reinforcement? You name it constantly but what would be an example? I have a L O V E L Y bearded collie, she’s 7 years old is the apple of my eye. I have a bookstore, and she’s under the counter looking outside and when a dog passes by she barks, if they come in she greets them friendly, sometimes too friendly and people think she might bite them. How can I teach her to not bark or try to reach them when they are inside? I want her to be quiet and keep 4 paws on the ground. So how would I use positive reinforcement to teach this? Thanks for the help and keep the good work, dog training and enjoying your wife and babies.” H.R. From Argentina
My sense of ego?
I didn’t think I had a big ego. Just because I am right about dog training and that you should always listen to me before anyone else on dog training doesn’t mean I have a big ego.
Anyway, let’s answer your question.
Let’s forget about the four behavior quadrants for a second. Forget about positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, negative punishment and positive punishment.
Instead I want you to focus on two words: YES and NO.
The word YES is associated with a positive consequence. So when your dog sits, comes when called, does a stay command for you, you can say to your dog, “YES!” and give a treat. That is an example of positive reinforcement.
The interesting part of your question is that you are asking how to use positive reinforcement to STOP some different behaviors. Positive reinforcement CAN’T be used to stop or reduce a behavior.
To teach your dog to keep all four paws on the ground, to stop the barking, to greet, you would have to say, “NO” and apply a negative consequence.
Dog training is all about communicating to your dog what is acceptable and unacceptable. You say “YES” and reward when your dog is doing behaviors you deem acceptable.
You say “NO” and apply a negative consequence when your dog does a behavior you don’t like or is unacceptable to you.
Hope this helps and if you’re looking to take your training to the next level head on over to the Dog Training Inner Circle. My most popular video is “How To Teach Your Dog NO” and will show you the negative consequence I use to teach this word.
You can get started for just $1.00. Here’s where to go NEXT: