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Misunderstanding Positive and Negative Reinforcement

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Misunderstanding Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Hyacinth Macaw

I was talking to a lady at work who was telling me that she was beginning to train her new Boston terrier puppy.  I asked her how she intended to train it: “Oh, definitely with positive reinforcement, I would never punish a dog!”  As she continued to talk, I realized that she took punishment to be the opposite of positive reinforcement.  A lot of people make this same mistake.

The misconception seems to come from the words positive and negative and people’s misunderstanding of the word reinforcement.

First, a reinforcement is ...

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