Progressive Reinforcement Training

Progressive Reinforcement Training is a term coined by Emily Larlham. Emily has an extremely popular YouTube Channel, Kikopup, where she makes how to videos for the average dog owner to learn from. Emily decided to make a new term to describe dog training that does not use intimidation, physical pain, or positive punishment because trainers who use positive punishment and negative reinforcement (see this blog post) have twisted the words that originally described force free and pain free methods.

These terms have been used by trainers who use aversive techniques:

  • positive reinforcement
  • force-free
  • naked dog training
  • dog-friendly
  • clicker training

“Progressive Reinforcement Training essentially means teaching animals by rewarding desired behaviors and excluding the intentional use of physical or psychological intimidation.” – Emily Larlham

Emily outlines Progressive Reinforcement Training with the following points:

  1. Reinforce behaviors deemed acceptable.
  2. Redirect and manage possible behavior problems.
  3. Respect the dog’s stress levels and reactions.
  4. Use reinforcement to teach the animal about it’s environment.
  5. Use marker training and positive reinforcement to make positive associations and increase the frequency of certain behaviors in the future.
  6. Use pain-free training methods at ALL TIMES.

The details behind this term certainly establish it as a straight forward, hard to misinterpret label. You can click HERE to read a more detailed explanation of it. I think it is great that she took the initiative to try to make something that won’t be twisted to misguide the public.

It is always important, however, to be your dog’s advocate. Have the courage to speak up if you disagree with a technique.