Quite Possibly The Best Post Ever On Operant Conditioning

Wow. Scientific information, AND, Southpark?!?!

That, my friends, is a hard combination to beat.

Check out this amazing post on TerrierMans Daily Dose. It is really something special. It has a layman’s description of operant conditioning that actually works. It has references to Cesar Milan, who as cliche’ as this sounds, was one of my big inspirations for starting this dog journey of mine. And it has Southpark! Arguably, one of the best shows of all times. Hell, It’s a Southpark clip ABOUT Cesar Milan……. I mean, how could this be better! Check it out- Jay

The Three Parts of Operant Conditioning

What we call “dog training” is also called “operant conditioning.”

For all the mumbo-jumbo you hear about dog training, there are are only three basic parts to it: positive reinforcement, aversive reinforcement, and extinction.

Positive reinforcement is any kind of consequence that causes a behavior to occur more often. Examples include food, praise, and play. In some situations, positive reinforcement can be the removal of an aversive reinforcement.

Aversive reinforcement is a consequence that causes a behavior to occur less often. Examples include a leash pop, a harsh sound, or any kind of nonverbal aversive communication made through body movement or positioning. In some situations, punishment can also be the removal of a (positive) reinforcement.

Extinction is simply a complete lack of response. The nonresponse should be total — no eye contact, no noise or sound triggered by the dog, and no responsive body movement. The dog is invisible.

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Watch the short animated clip above, and you will note that the cartoon Cesar Millan uses all three methods to train South Park’s Eric Cartman after “Super Nanny” collapses and goes insane in the face of the trials and tribulations of this spoiled-rotten child.

Step one in the Cesar Millan bag of tricks is to extinguish Cartman’s negative behavior.

What Millan is doing by ignoring Cartman is signaling that a “new sheriff” is in town — one that will not be overly reactive.

When Millan talks about “calm, assertive energy” what he is really saying is that the owners have to react less.

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