Audio edition of the article Dogs And Free Lunches – Control, Contingencies, and Communication from the Life As A Human online magazine website. You can visit Life as a Human to find this and other articles.
There’s an old saying – “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Put another way, you could also say that “Nothing in life is free.” If you have a dog, there’s a program by that name (NILIF for short) that can help you teach your dog that their behaviour has consequences both good and bad. Many of the websites that describe NILIF programs portray it as a way to gain control of your dogs behaviour, a sort of boot-camp to get them back in line if they are “getting away” with misbehaving. But it can be a lot more than that.
B.F. Skinner said that “Consequence dictates behaviour.” That is the essence of the NILIF program. But Skinner’s Operant Conditioning model can make a simple program like NILIF into so much more. With some additional reading and some creative application of behavioural psychology, Operant Conditioning can pave the way for a very fulfilling and wonderful relationship with your dog.
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