Bribery vs Reward

Many humans have this idea when using food to train is often associated with bribery. The truth is dogs do what works. Therefore if using food gets them to do what you want, then I can not see why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement (premack theory).

Every moment you spend with your dog is a learning opportunity, so in reality, we probably don’t use food often as we think except during active training sessions. Ask yourselves, why does my dog continue to follow me? Because you reinforce him with praise, petting, food, walks and play. Always remember, that behavior should produce the food (reinforcer); the food (reinforcer) should not produce the behavior.

Vinny Olito CPDT-KA, CCDT
LLA cert of excellence
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Matching Law - Helping our dogs make the right choice more often!

When an animal is given the choice between two behaviors, animals tend to do the behavior that results in more reinforcement.

(Hernstein, 1970; Bourret & Vollmer, 2003)

We can help our dogs make the right choices more often - sit instead of jumping, step back instead of biting, animals will choose those behaviors that result in more reinforcement than the alternative. Always reinforce the behaviors you want to see and help our dogs make the right choices.

Matching Law- The relative rate of responding on two concurrent schedules of reinforcement equals the relative rate of reinforcement on those two schedules.


From a behavioral point learning is defined as a change in behavior due to certain types of experience (interactions with the environment). It is nature that all animals are born to learn and we change/adapt based on the outcomes of what we do.

Paul Chance

"Learning does not give the species the tendency to behave a certain way in a particular situation; rather it gives the individual the tendency to modify its behavior to suit the situation. It is an evolved modifiability"

Learning is in any animals biological heredity to evolve and adapt that allows animals to operate on (change) the environment and to be changed by the environment.  "To teach and learn"

Functional Analysis

This is a way of looking at the operant "causes of reason of learned behaviors". Variables that are related to behavior.

Knowing the function of a behavior can help determine an appropriate solution. "A procedure that determines under which conditions a behavior problem occurs"


  1.  To get attention
  2. To get reinforcers such as food or toys eg.
  3. To escape or avoid a situation, such a straining or following commands, leash reactive
  4. To get sensory reinforcers
  5. To communicate needs , such as need for exercise or to go outside


Applied Behavior Analysis - What is Behavior?

Part of a learning or treatment plan with the application of operant and respondent conditioning. Behavior analysts focus on the relationship between observable behaviors and the environment. Behavior is what an animal does under conditions that can be observed and measured. Analysis always focuses on observable behavior and the conditions of the environment to change behavior and triggers that elicit fear “emotions/feelings”.

Always remember behavior can be (overt-publicly) observable such as; scratching, running eg. Or (covert-privately) observable only by the individual doing the behavior such as; thinking and feeling. We can never know what a dog is thinking so we always focus on overt-publicly observable behaviors.

In our society there is such an overwhelming tradition of describing behavior in concepts also known as hypothetical constructs/labels. Many describe behavior way beyond observable behaviors with labels, hypothetical explanations eg. “My dog bites because it is dominant” Remember a concept/label cannot cause behavior.

This does not discard an animals cognitive or emotional behavior it is a standard for measurability of behavior change and not related to guessing or mind reading.

What is behavior? Behavior is what an animal does under conditions that can be observed and measured, behavior has a purpose/function. We identify any relevance between behavior and the environment. Therefore behavior is related to past consequences and we always ask "What's the function of any behavior?". We are all born to learn and our behavior operates on the environment for effect/outcomes.

Understanding Classical Conditioning can help !

Understanding Classical/Respondent/Pavlovian Conditioning can help anyone make their dogs feel safe or even help them feel better about any fearful things in the environment.

Respondent Conditioning always has a role in any dogs everyday life, as associations are part of our ever changing environment. This happens when repeated, close pairing a neutral stimulus with an existing one.Therefore learning new eliciting stimuli, not new behaviors.

S-S-R  (can opener-food-salivating)      S-R /( can opener - salivating)

It is a very important as these associations and learning of new triggers:

emotional responses:increased heart rate, blushing

anxiety fear: raised hackles, stiffen muscles

As our dogs guardians and sole providers we have so much influence on their lives and how they feel about the everyday environment around them. It's a tiny part of influencing behavior and emotions but so important because they affect an animals ability to learn and can affect quality of life.

Think of respondent behavior as reflexive/reflex behaviors such as a puff of air and the blinking of the eye. This is how a stimuli/trigger can elicit the fear,panic,emotional circuits/suites. Example: Dog at vet gets painful injections.....

Dog is know afraid of the Drs white coat and becomes a trigger/elicitor of fear.

This is  S-R (stimulus-response)   S-S-R ,  learning.

Next step will be Operant Conditioning


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Good  work!