Don’t Shoot the Dog

If there is one book everyone should own; this might be it. Karen Pryor has been a huge advocate of reinforcement based teaching for humans and animals. Everything in here has its roots in operant conditioning. The book just focus on using positive reinforcement. It provides good explanations of some basic behavior principals including shaping behavior and different intervals of reinforcement. So many individuals in education think  ABA, Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Behaviorism and Reinforcement  are all synonymous. Before winter break I sat in a training where ABA got bashed and the presenters actually said to be sure not to “reinforce” student behavior because it stifles their desire to learn. Gulp. Believe it or not the rest of the presentation was great. They just didn’t really understand what reinforcement was. They were thinking of it in terms of  M&Ms,  fixed interval r+ schedules and over-prompting. I gave this book to my friend so she could start using some of it on her husband- She is hooked!