I'm taking an online class and every week, we're supposed to post comments in the discussion thread. For the last three weeks, I've been diligently supplying what I think to be engaging discussion and for the past three weeks, the instructor has commented on everyone else's threads except mine. I'm getting very frustrated. So frustrated, in fact, that I've noticed my desire to participate is waning. If my instructor isn't going to notice my efforts, then why try??
I'm constantly giving examples that compare human behavior to dog behavior because, well, a brain is a brain is a brain. Our brains, while they may contain different data, still operate in some of the same ways as a dog's. If I do something and it gets no reinforcement, then duh! Why waste my time doing something that doesn't work!?
This can be a good thing and a bad thing. When training your dog, if you don't like something they do, then ignore it. Chances are very good that if it never gets rewarded, they won't do it! On the flip side, if your dog is doing something you like, be sure to recognize it! Pay close attention throughout the day, not just during training sessions. While you are talking to a friend, is your dog sitting and paying attention to you? Take a moment to praise them for that behavior instead of waiting until your dog jumps up to get your attention and then yelling at them.
Reinforcement goes a long way, people! It's a wonderful tool to get rid of bad behavior and make good behavior more likely.
Now I'm going to go play Farmville instead of my psych homework because, well, my professor doesn't seem to care either way. :)