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Training Methods

Welcome to the modern approach to dog training!

The Scientific Mumbojumbo

As written by Michelle. No copy and paste here!

Operant Conditioning

The Harmony Canine Method

Here at Harmony Canine Academy we believe in a balanced approach to dog training. This means that we utilize all four quadrants of operant conditioning based on the behavior at hand. In other words, we use rewards for behaviors we like and corrections for those we don't.

Each dog is treated as an individual, receiving training tailored to their temperament, personality and maturity level. Every dog will be worked with their own favorite motivator (most commonly food reward) then the level of correction is based on the dog at hand. We utilize negative markers with a correctional scale from verbal corrections to leash corrections. 


Operant Conditioning Chart HCA

In simplest terms, Operant Conditioning is a system which creates reliability of the reoccurrence of behavior(s) based on a system of reinforcement and punishment. Some may remember a similar chart back in their PSY101 classes.

Positive Reinforcement is most commonly used as a food reward for a desired behavior. For example, Rover sits and is given a piece of food for a job well done.

Now, Rover decides that my face is lick worthy and tries to jump up. A prompt downward leash correction creates Positive Punishment which interrupts the behavior mid-jump. A leash correction physically halts the behavior making it so he isn't allowed to achieve self satisfaction for completing the jumping. (Self satisfaction is the dog's own creation of reward and a lot of times ends up being pesky behaviors that we don't enjoy like jumping on people!)


Bare with me, this one can start to get a little confusing:

During the time that Rover jumped up, we added that leash correction- Positive Punishment. Since Rover then halted the undesirable behavior (jumping) the leash correction is turned off when he gives the desirable behavior (not jumping). That is an example of Negative Reinforcement. In this example, the stimulus is removed (leash pressure) to increase the frequency of the desirable behavior (not jumping).

So after a few more repetitions with Rover he's staring to use his brain and enjoy the training session. Except, he's now starting to be pushy with food rewards and push boundaries again. In this example, we will use Negative Punishment to take him out of the training session and into another room. We will try again in a few minutes. With repetition, he will realize that his lack of manners will be punished by taking him away from the enjoyable training sessions.

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