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Website last updated June 2013 by Catherine Bell

Worksheet 1

Introduction to Operant Conditioning / Preparation for Clicker Training

I'd recommend reading the following books before trying this worksheet:

  • At The Other End of the Leash - Patricia McConnell
  • Don't Shoot the Dog - Karen Pryor
Quote

Think about the answers to these questions. They are deliberately challenging so that you can assess your understanding. Some of the answers can be found on this website or in the recommended reading material. Some of the answers won't be found in a book - they are for you to work out through observation of behaviour.

  1. Do you understand why a release of pressure is not a reward?

  2. What is the difference between negative reinforcement and punishment?

  3. Do you understand that punishment does not necessarily mean physical punishment?

  4. Do you understand why hand-feeding treats does not cause horses to bite, but that poor timing of the reward can lead to biting?

  5. Do you understand the role of classical conditioning in clicker training?

Start to observe behaviour around you - at the stables, in the supermarket, at work, at home, everywhere. Can you identify:

  • A behaviour that has been deliberately reinforced? Was it positive or negative reinforcement?
  • A behaviour that has been inadvertantly reinforced? Was it positive or negative reinforcement?
  • A behaviour that has been deliberately punished? Was it positive or negative punishment?
  • A behaviour that has been inadvertantly punished? Was it positive or negative punishment?

I would not recommend that you move onto other worksheets or start to use clicker training until you are happy with the answers to these questions. Please feel free to contact me if there is anything you are not sure about. I am here to help as well as to challenge!

Copyright Catherine Bell 2006