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The Problems with Punishment

This blog is part of a series on training methods and training advice. Other blogs in this series can be found in the links at the bottom. In the last blog we discussed how, in the training world, the definitions of punishment and reinforcement are more strict than our everyday use of those words. If you're not familiar with these, please check out that blog here: What are Punishment and Reinforcement? In the above post, we talked about the "four quadrants" of reinforcement learning. These four quadrants were discovered and popularized in the cold-war era -- an era when father knew best. The scientists that developed these understandings brought a very patriarchal and mechanistic viewpoint t

What are Punishment and Reinforcement?

This blog is part of a series on training methods and training advice. The other blogs in this series can be found in the links at the bottom. Most conscientious dog owners have heard a lot about the positive reinforcement revolution. With this blog, I hope to help inform readers about some of the more pernicious but popular misconceptions about training, training advice and professional trainers. Before I can talk about punishment and reinforcement, I need a definition first. For the purposes of this blog, I'm going to define punishment in quite a strict sense. Any reinforcement applied in an effort to reduce the frequency or magnitude of a particular behaviour will be considered punishment

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