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Why is positive reinforcement a better choice training dogs?

Attention is considered the most basic form of behavior and “both classical and instrumental elements closely cooperate” mediating effective “perception and action” (Lindsay, 2000). In a broader view, “attentional activities specify a dog’s intentions, reveal a dog’s motivational state” and sometimes define what he is prepared to learn, thus “attentional activities” are said to “reflect a dog’s overall disposition to learn” (Lindsay, 2000). How we stimulate and control dog’s attentional behavior can have profound effect on training and behavior modification. Lindsay (2000) says “dogs pay attention to occurrences that are significant to them and learn to ignore occurrences that are irrelevant” and stimuli associated with pleasurable events or those associated with fearful events gain the most attention than other irrelevant stimuli.

Choice Behavior

“Choice responding refers to the manner in which individuals allocate their time or responding among available response options” (Fisher & Mazur, 1997). Everyday life presents choices with many of us giving little thought to how those choices influences our present and future behavior. Understanding how those choices are derived may be important in solving behavior problems and training situations. A choice made between behavioral responses has been greatly influenced by previous reinforcement history and one’s personal preferences.