Skinner’s Quadrants Series – Part III

Stopping annoying behavior requires negative punishment in many cases!

It you haven’t read Parts I and II, please check them out here:

Skinner’s Quadrants Series – Part I

Skinner’s Quadrants Series – Part II

Today’s quadrant is Negative Punishment. Sounds bad, right? In fact, it is much less invasive than positive punishment and negative reinforcement as we discussed in the previous two parts. In this quadrant, the dog does not actually have to be put through any physical pressure.

The best example for this quadrant is when you ignore your dog for barking or jumping. When you do that, you are with holding something good – your attention and affection. Negative punishment involves two things:

  1. Negative – removing something (something the dog enjoys)
  2. Punishment – decreasing the occurrence of that behavior in the future

Lets look at this example: You are sitting on the couch petting your dog and he starts barking. You stop petting him so that you don’t reward that behavior. Well, when you withhold attention (i.e. eye contact, praise, petting) because your dog is barking, you are looking to decrease the frequency of barking in the future ( want the barking to stop) by removing something good.

Stopping annoying behavior requires negative punishment in many cases!

This is an effective method to teach your dog better manners, but keep in mind that you should always supplement negative punishment with teaching your dog what you WANT him/her to do. With the barking example, make sure you reward (praise or treats) for NOT barking. Stay tuned for the next and last of the Skinner’s Quadrants Series on (drum roll please…) Positive Reinforcement!