The expression about Vegas casinos that “the house always wins” is like the one about dog training: The environment always wins. But it doesn’t have to be true when you learn to use the environment to your advantage. Mastering reinforcement means understanding what your dog values most, and there are many things dogs value. Once you know where the reinforcement is for your dog, you can build yourself into that reinforcement so that it is you, not the environment, winning your dog’s focus.

In the episode you'll hear:

  • The role environments play in your dog’s reinforcers.
  • How “jackpot” dopamine creates value for dogs.
  • How a negative prediction error encourages dogs to repeat and escalate behavior.
  • Where counter surfing really starts (and it’s not at the counter).
  • Why you need to be aware of the thing before the thing.
  • How to neutralize distracting environments to win your dog’s focus.
  • Why training puppies and dogs in the bathroom is ideal in the beginning.
  • How to grow the environment in your dog training.
  • What to do when you know your dog will ignore you, with the example of playing with other dogs.
  • Why and when to give your dog surprise high value rewards.
  • Tips for building yourself into all the reinforcement your dog receives.

Shaped by Dog Episode 200 Online Celebration Event