Home > Uncategorized > Attention As A Reinforcer

Attention As A Reinforcer

Milo, raising on his hind legs for attention.

Milo, raising on his hind legs for attention.

One of the strongest and most common reinforcers is attention, yet it is the one reinforcer I see used the least or misused the most. If that statement has you thinking, it should because it’s a powerful one. I will make several upcoming posts here on reinforcers. For now, following is a clip of me using an obvious reinforcer… attention, properly identifying it, and increasing its intensity once I know it is a valued reinforcer. I know it is a valued reinforcer because I am watching my dog’s reaction to it. Another important point, it is always the animal that decides the reinforcer. It is up to us to deliver effectively for desired behaviors.

In the following video, I am waiting for Quincy, our Rottweiler to be doing any other behavior besides focusing on me. I decide to call her to me while she is comfortably lying down. Because she responded to me so quickly, I need to make sure I deliver a strong reinforcer if I want this behavior to maintain or increase in the future. I deliver my attention as a consequence (intended reinforcer) and then I increase that reinforcer by kissing her, and by continuing to deliver the attention. This is an obvious and highly valued reinforcer of hers.

Effective use of reinforcers relies heavily upon being able to properly identify them. What is your animal looking at? What is it playing with? What is it eating? What prompts it to stand up and walk or fly across the room? When you can answer these questions, you have properly identified potential future reinforcers.

Watch our Facebook page, The Animal Behavior Center, for frequent behavior and training videos and clips. All of our webinars are in the process of being recorded. We have one specifically on Reinforcers, Reinforcement, & Their Use. Even more exciting, we have some very exciting news you can be a part of. Stay tuned. It is my pleasure to be able to share all of what is becoming of The Animal Behavior Center, with you. ~Lara Joseph

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