R+ training refers to positive reinforcement-based methods that focus on rewarding desired behaviors rather than punishing unwanted ones.
A New Dimension of Positive Reinforcement
Mike Calinoff has developed two components that he has added to his already-successful training programs:
Practical Positive Development essentially teaches you how rewarding your dog, when they’re making good behavioral decisions on their own — like choosing not to jump or not to bark when they previously would have. Recognizing those milestones will convey an affirmative message to your pup and they will start giving you more of those productive behaviors.
No Action = No Reaction is a reverse psychology approach, that teaches you how to react to an unwanted behavior that your dog is giving. Subsequently, they learn that those behaviors get them a zero result and not doing those behaviors get them everything.
Those two components have proven to accelerate the dogs understanding of what we, as pet parents, expect from our pups.
Motivation vs. Bribery
Reinforcers, such as treats, toys, praise, or playtime, is a powerful motivator for dogs. When they perform a command and receive a reward, it reinforces the behavior and makes them more likely to repeat it. We teach the importance of not having to "prove" to your dog that they'll be rewarded, by showing them a treat or toy in advance of a task -- but rather upon completion.
The Science Behind Using Motivators (Treats)
Treats can produce Dopamine in dogs through the reward pathway in their brains. When a dog receives a treat, especially when it's unexpected or linked to a behavior they've performed, it triggers a release of dopamine in their brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. When a dog anticipates or receives something enjoyable, like a tasty treat, it activates the brain's reward system. This system is similar in dogs and humans and involves various regions of the brain, including the nucleus accumbens, which is associated with pleasure and reward processing.
The anticipation and consumption of treats can lead to an increase in dopamine levels in a dog's brain, contributing to feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure. This release of dopamine reinforces the behavior that led to the reward, making the dog more likely to repeat that behavior in the future to receive another reward and experience that same pleasurable sensation again.
LIMA stands for "Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive." It's a guiding principle in dog training that emphasizes using the least invasive and aversive methods possible when modifying a dog's behavior. The LIMA approach promotes the idea of considering the welfare and emotional well-being of the dog while achieving training goals.
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