Note: Primary reinforcers are stimuli that are innately reinforcing. E.G. Food / water. Until recently, “Control” was not categorized in this way.
Prepare to be amazed!
Think about this for a moment. Too much or too little control (like food) is not good for any animal (including the human kind!) Too little control leads to apathy. Too much?
Finding a balance, as in all things, is key.
“Control is a Primary Reinforcer”
“We are endowed with the ability to learn. We can change what we do based on experiences.”
“Consequences are the outcomes we behave to get”
– quotes from Susan Friedman Ph. D.
Further to this theme, here are a few other thoughts for you to ponder.
Control is a biological need.
Choice is the way we give animals control.
Animals choose to perform a learned response to obtain reinforcers even when the same reinforcers are freely available. (Yes! It’s true!)
Fascinated? We certainly are. But you know we’re really jus a couple of “Training nerds” dressed up as respectable English ladies!!
Seriously though, if you are fascinated by the knowledge that “Control is a Primary Reinforcer”, here are some references that might also interest you.
“Restriction of behaviors, particularly behaviors that are highly valued by a species, produces behavioral and physiological stress” (Friend, 1989)
Does your dog love to sniff?
“The restriction of motion (restraint) results in increased heart rate, increased norepinephrine and cortisol release, and the production of gastric ulcers (Glavin, et al. 1989)
Vet visits, groomers, dentist!
“Evidence suggests lack of control is a major cause of abnormal stereotypic behaviors, failure to thrive and impaired reproduction commonly observed in animals raised in captivity.” (Clubb, et al. 2003)
Have you ever seen this?
Lots of food for thought!
Our aim at DogLogic is always to improve the quality of your relationships with your dogs. We think sharing this month’s “Pearl” will certainly help us all work towards that goal.