Compulsion Techniques -vs- Positive Reinforcement Techniques in Training

The definition of compulsion is that by force or pressure the being acted upon produces the desired behavior.

Compulsion training is often called punishment training. While the two often go hand in hand, it is not a fully accurate description. Compulsion trainingbucklingseatbelt has its basis in negative reinforcement; negative meaning that something is taken away and reinforcement meaning the behavior increases. An example of negative reinforcement in the human world is that irritating chime your vehicle makes until you buckle up. Once you buckle up, the chime
stops (negative) and your buckling up reliability increases (reinforcement). An example of this in dog training is pulling up on the leash while pushing down on the bottom to get the dog to sit. As soon as the dog sits, both pressures are released (negative) and the dog sits reliably in order to avoid the pressure (reinforcement). If you or the dog do not produce the desired behavior in the future, you know the threat of the chime or the pressure is there. This is also known as avoidance training.

Positive reinforcement training is often called treat training. Again, while these two often go hand in hand it is not a fully accurate description. Positive Reinforcement training has its basis in exactly its namesake; positive meaning something is added, reinforcement meaning that the behavior increases. Let’s take that seatbelt scenario; instead of the chime for not being buckled, as soon as you buckled up, your insurance company gives dog sit with childyou five dollars (I know, unlikely, but bear with me). To learn sit, the dog is guided into position by following a treat. When the dog sits he is rewarded with the treat. Both of you have been positively reinforced for a desired behavior.

Which training techniques would you rather learn by?

Where people go wrong with positive reinforcement is that they have not learned how to apply a variable reinforcement once the dog understands the cue. Variable reinforcement is one of the strongest behavioral tools in existence; Las Vegas is built on it! We will talk about variable reinforcement soon!


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