Conditioning and Reinforcement for Behavioral Change

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Conditioning can be portrayed as a procedure that endeavors to adjust practices using positive and negative reinforcement, through conditioning an individual makes a relationship between a specific conduct and outcomes. There are diverse sorts of conditioning, for instance, operant and classical conditioning (O'Donohue & Ferguson, 2001).

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Operant conditioning includes changing willful practices. A conduct reaction is trailed by either reinforcement or discipline. Reinforcement after a conduct will bring about the conduct to increment, however in the event that conduct is trailed by discipline, the conduct will diminish. Skinner instituted the term operant conditioning; it generally implies changing of conduct by the utilization of support which is given after the sought reaction, whereas Classical conditioning happens when you figure out how to partner two distinctive boosts (O'Donohue & Ferguson, 2001). No conduct is included. The main jolt that you will experience is the unconditioned boost. An unconditioned jolt creates a reaction with no past learning. This reaction is called an unconditioned reaction.

Reinforcement is a procedure that reinforces a conduct which can be sure where a positive/charming boost is utilized as a part of the procedure or included after a reaction or negative where negative jolt is utilized or subtracted the length of the coveted conduct or reaction is accomplished. This procedure is found out by a partner a conduct to the results it brings consequently the result (Reese & Parrott, 2014).

In this case, I decided to train my dog to avoid eating my cats food. Many times when I served the cat food, the dog would rush over and chase the kitty, and it would consume its food. This has been disturbing me a lot, and I decided that I should put an end to this situation. Following the methodologies of conditioning and later reinforcement of the conditioned action I knew I could achieve to stop this irritating habit.

Conditioning involves training consistently over and over gain in order for the practice to be picked by the trainee according to Reese & Parrott (2014). My dog has been eating the cats food over and over again, so I devised a few mechanisms of stopping the habit. So one day in the morning as I was feeding the cat and the dog, the dog decided to jump over to the cats food, I did not do anything at that point in time. I let it eat the cats food, I had to wait for it to eat it first before I could start the disciplining process.

Based on the knowledge of conditioning, immediately it was eating the food I stopped him, using a show of the hand I said leave it.' The dog was startled for a moment, and he kept on staring at me, and then he went back to eating. I told him again to leave it, and he never heeded to my statements. So I decided to change the tactics the next time I was feeding the cat.

On this second scenario, I placed the cats food beside the dogs food and both pets went for their meals, as usual, the dog went over to the cats meal. As it started eating the cats food I took a spray bottle filled with water. The dog never saw this coming, I sprayed it with a direct gush of cold water, two squirts of water shocked him, and he left the cats food. It immediately jumped away and went over to its dish.

I kept feeding both pets together at the same time, each and every moment the dog jumped over to eat the cats food I flushed it with squirts of water and commanded to leave the food. I never shouted at it and overtime it stopped the habit. The behavior continued for a while, and I had to spray it with water over and over again, this was tough, but I had to do it because I was tired of the dogs bad behavior. It took a while, but the trends started changing when I decided to reinforce the new behavior with giving it a piece of fish every time it avoided eating the cats food. This was an additional to supplement its food. This treat was a reward for not eating the cats food. The good thing for this treat is that the dog fell for it, it practically stopped eating the cats food but few times it fell back, and it ate the cats food. The change was progressive, and it took time before any major changes were made. It takes baby steps to change the habit of a pet.

I continued with the practice of giving it a piece of fish every time it avoided eating the cats food. This was a special treat that was only served when and only when the dog never ate the cats food. The dog enjoyed its reward and it would refrain from eating the cats food. I would reinforce this reward by saying good boy to it, and I did pet him for a while after that.

I later learned that a consistent reward instilled the dogs discipline to eating it food, the reward mechanism reinforced the new behavior. A proper reward program should be consistent or else the dog can fall back into the vice.


O'Donohue, W., & Ferguson, K. (2001). The psychology of B.F. Skinner. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.

Reese, H., & Parrott, L. (2014). Behavior Science. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

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