Focus On Growing The Positive, Not Reducing The Negative

(Richard Millington) #1

Originally published at:
At a conference this past week, dozens of mobile personal hotspots were interfering with the event’s wifi connection. The organisers repeatedly asked attendees to close their mobile internet connections. By the end of the third day, they had just about reached enough people for most people to get wifi. When you highlight the number of people doing…

(Bo McGuffee) #2

It’s a bit of a tangent, but this sounds a lot like another interest of mine, which is modern, science-based dog training. In short, the idea is to reward and reinforce the behaviors you want, and ignore and don’t reinforce the behaviors you don’t.

I have two dogs. I wanted to have them sit at the door before exiting. So, when I called them to the inside back door, I would ask them to sit. Loki is pretty good at this, so he would typically respond quickly enough. Lugh, however, was a prancer. In response, I would say to Loki, “Yes” and give him a treat. Lugh would then look at me as if to say “where’s mine?” At that point, I would ask him to sit, which he would do. I would tell him “good boy” to let him know he did the right thing, but withhold the treat. Then I would go to the outer back door, call them over, and ask them to sit. Their butts would generally hit the floor at the same time. “Yes,” treats for both, and exit. Today, they are both quite good at sitting before we leave.

Modern, science-based dog training (aka, “positive training”) is basically cognitive behavioralism for dogs. Any attention given to unwanted behavior actually reinforces and fuels it. For some strange reason, I haven’t really thought about this with regards to community. This article is a good reminder to me that I need to start doing that. Thanks.