| What is Positive
The famous behavioral psychologist, B. F. Skinner, defines positive
reinforcement as an increase in the future frequency of a behavior
due to the addition of a consequence immediately following a
response. Giving (or adding) food to a dog contingent on his
touching the target is an example of positive reinforcement (if
this results in an increase in the future behavior of the dog
touching the target). Negative reinforcement, on the other hand,
is an increase in the future frequency of a behavior when the
| sequence is the removal
of an aversive stimulus.
How do you use Positive and Negative Reinforcement?
The backbone of Willow Creek's training technique is positive
and negative reinforcement. We look to increase the likelihood
of a behavior in the future by teaching positive reinforcement
and following up with negative reinforcement, albeit mild with
the vibrate conditioning.
Nearly all commands are taught with a clicker and a food reward
(positive reinforcement). This develops a very consistent, reliable
dog by creating the desire for a positive
| reaction. Although counterintuitive,
using the term "negative" in animal training does not
mean it is bad. The negative reinforcement can simply mean something
is taken away. So when using the DT Systems H2O 1820 collar,
the vibration is taken away. We hold the vibration button down
and wait until the dog touches the target, help them if needed,
then release the button, taking away the mild, effective form
of negative reinforcement.
How do you use a Clicker?
We start clicker training puppies as young as seven weeks old.
A treat is placed in the hand between the pointer and ring finger,
with the middle finger receding to provide backing so the treat
does not slip out. This "target" is presented to
the pup and we allow him to take the treat from our hand. As
soon as the pup touches the hand we "click." After
about 30 repetitions most dogs will be watching for the target
very closely. If the dog is not interested in the food reward
we can remove morning feedings and train before we feed or find
a better food reward. Hot dog slices work extremely well when
nothing else seems to elicit interest. We usually use 2-4 sessions,
at 30 repetitions per session, before moving on to vibrate conditioning.
How do you use the Vibration Feature?
The trainers at Willow Creek Kennels have found the