I like Deborah Jones‘s description of what a reinforcer is.
A reinforcer is something that your dog will work for and that you can control.– Deborah Jones
We already know that consequence drives behaviour in dogs. Your dog exhibits more of a behaviour when the consequence is rewarding.
Reinforcement is the act of making the consequence rewarding. According to The Free Dictionary, “Reinforcement means to reward with a reinforcer subsequent to a desired response or performance”.
All animals need food for survival making food a reinforcer. In addition to food, dogs like toys, play and other activities. All these could be reinforcers. Remember, a reinforcer is something that your dog will work for and that you can control.
One of my dogs like digging (an activity) and the other likes to go on a car ride (again an activity). Since I know my dogs love these activities, I could use them to reinforce behaviours. We will learn how to use these activities to reinforce in another article.
The key take away is that a reinforcer could be one of food, toys, play or an activity that your dog is willing to work for and that you can control.
“What if my dog doesn’t like toys, play or activities?”. Well, you have to teach them to enjoy before you can use ’em as reinforcers.
We will learn more about the dynamics of reinforcers in the next post. Stay tuned!
Today, I’m grateful for my parents for providing me the best they can. Thank you அம்மா (mama) and அப்பா (papa).