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Archive for January, 2010

Happy New Year!

[Note: This post was edited to avoid the potential confusion of the term punishment. For the purpose of studying behavior, punishment only serves to decrease a behavior. There is no value judgment associated with the use of the word punishment. However, there is a lot of negative association with the everyday use of the word. So, we felt it best to remove punishment and replace it with aversive stimuli. And, after all, we want to remove the use of all aversive stimuli in our daily interactions! Thanks to Sid Price for pointing out this potential source of confusion.]

From everyone at AEF, we want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

We resolve for 2010 to provide more education for you and the animals that you care for.  We will do this in various ways including seminars, workshops, this blog, newsletters, and consultations. If you have ideas or suggestion for other ways that we can help you, please let us know, we’d love to hear them! Just send us an email – animaleducation@gmail.com.

We also have a new year’s challenge for you! We all try to use positive reinforcement with our animals and avoid using aversive stimuli, but how aware are you of the times when you do use a small amount of aversives? We all do it, often several times during the day.  We just are not paying attention to it. And, to make it more difficult to identify, our animals tend to be such good behave-ors, changing their behavior as a function of consequences, that it is even harder for us to notice what we’ve just done. So, the challenge is to “open your eyes” to those times you are using negative reinforcement or positive punishment. It might be that you block movement up your arm with your hand, slowly close a door on a bird “trying to escape” its cage, or shoo the dog away with your foot. Part of this challenge is that you need to note it – mentally, audibly, or, best of all, write it down. Many of us work so hard on addressing big behaviors without the use of aversives that we miss the small things. Once you become aware of your use of these aversives, you can develop more positive, less intrusive behavior-change strategies to have an even better relationship with the animals in your lives! Help others by sharing your findings and leaving a comment.

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