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Dog Training Method: Positive Reinforcement Example

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Example of positive reinforcement

A dog sits when he is presented a treat. Your dog relieves himself on the carpet after a long day alone. If he was able to steal food off the table one time, he will continue trying to steal food. Reinforced behavior, either by you or the environment, will increase that behavior.


Positive reinforcement happens when you present a desirable reinforcer as a consequence to a behavior. This causes the behavior to increase.

  • Asking your dog to sit, down or stay before feeding him dinner will be reinforcing those behaviors so that he is a lot more likely to do them.
  • If you are touching the dog and saying a lot of “No, that is not a good dog” while your dog is misbehaving can actually reinforce that behavior even more and he or she can learn to misbehave so that you would “pet” them and talk to them. It is better to use extinction techniques.
  • Some behaviors are self-reinforcing. A dog is barking at the mail person through the window and the person leaves. The dog has now learned when I bark, the mail person leaves. His barking has been reinforced by the stimuli leaving. The best thing to do is to not allow the dog to bark at the window – control the dog’s environment.
  • Letting your dog down when he or she is “acting up” is reinforcing that behavior. Now the dog will act up whenever anyone handles him so that he can be let go.