What is Negative Reinforcement in Dog Training?

A user-friendly guide to understanding negative reinforcement in dog training – and the three alternatives you should know about.Photo: Angyalosi Beata /ShutterstockIf you are new to dog training, or want to understand some of the language of dog training, this article is for you. It covers the technical definition of negative reinforcement in dog training, examples of how it is used, what research tells us about negative reinforcement, and alternatives that you can use instead…

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Updates to Companion Animal Psychology’s Privacy Policy

The Companion Animal Psychology privacy policy has been updated effective from 16 May 2018.Specifically, we would like you to know that:Email subscribers can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link that you will find at the bottom of every email from Companion Animal PsychologyThe only way to subscribe to the email subscription list is to specifically opt in. We will never add you, even if you email us about the blog.Anyone who has…

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What type of cat do people prefer?

Research investigates people's preferences for cats with normal, squashed or long head shapes.A Persian cat. Photo: Ewa Studio/ShutterstockLately we’ve been hearing a lot about brachycephalic dogs and the health issues they can have as a result of having a squashed face, which include breathing difficulties and eye issues (read about why people choose brachycephalic dogs).But what about cats? Some breeds of cat also have squashed faces. A new study by Dr. Mark Farnworth (Nottingham Trent…

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Clicker-plus-food and food-only are equally good dog training methods

Scientists test the use of a clicker-plus-food versus the use of food only in a positive reinforcement tricks training course for novice dogs, and find both work equally well.Photo: Corey Terrill / ShutterstockThe study, by Lynna Feng et al (La Trobe University), used a randomized design in which dogs were assigned to one of three groups: a group that was taught with a clicker and food rewards (clicker training), a group that was taught with…

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Clicker-plus-food and food-only are equally good dog training methods

Scientists test the use of a clicker-plus-food versus the use of food only in a positive reinforcement tricks training course for novice dogs, and find both work equally well.Photo: Corey Terrill / ShutterstockThe study, by Lynna Feng et al (La Trobe University), used a randomized design in which dogs were assigned to one of three groups: a group that was taught with a clicker and food rewards (clicker training), a group that was taught with…

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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club May 2018

"...From Fearful to Fear Free™ addresses fear, anxiety, and stress, issues that dog owners frequently encounter but seldom understand."In May, the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club is reading From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias by Marty Becker, Lisa Radosta, Wailani Sung and Mikkel Becker, edited by Kim Campbell Thornton.From the back cover, "Straight from the experts comes the Fear Free™ program, a positive-reinforcement plan with…

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How to Pet Cats and Dogs

Give pets a choice, observe their body language and know where they prefer to be stroked.Photo: Julie Vader / ShutterstockA few years ago, I wrote a post about how people with pets can learn from the ways scientists give companion animals choices in research. It was a popular post that generated a lot of discussion. Today I thought I’d return to the topic of choice and look at how we can give dogs and cats choices…

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