Effective Affection: How to Get it Right

Pet owners often reinforce unwanted and annoying behaviors inadvertently (such as petting a dog when he jumps up) by giving attention and affection for these behaviors. When trainers are shaping new behaviors, they often default to food as a reward, and find it difficult to use petting, scratching, or other forms of affection effectively in order to reinforce behavior. Yet, if the problem behavior is maintained by affection, using affection is often the fastest and most effective way to solve the problem. The pieces that are often missing in this kind of problem-solving are teaching the animal how to receive affection and teaching the human how to use affection correctly to shape behavior. In this Session, I will describe in detail a powerful procedure that can be used to teach animals how to request and receive affection. Then we will discuss how to use affection to shape new behavior effectively, with plenty of video examples from a variety of different species.

Please note: This Session was recorded in 2017; content presented in 2018 may vary slightly.  

Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz

Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his Ph.D from the University of Kansas in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Donald M. Baer. He serves on several editorial boards, including the European Journal of Behavior Analysis and the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy. His areas of interest include antecedent control of behavior, generalization, behavioral cusps, fluency-based teaching, treatment of autism, teaching of academic behavior, animal training, and rule- and contingency-shaped behavior.