Free Cookies? Non-Contingent Reinforcement for Frustration
Demand and frustration-related behaviors are often hard to live with, and can damage the human-animal bond. Barking, pawing, jumping up, vocalizing, destructiveness—even aggression—are loud expressions of need, that when ignored, often just get louder. Common fixes such as “ignore what you don’t like / reinforce what you do,” frequently backfire, resulting in even more resilient versions of the problem behaviors than you started with.
When applied systematically, non-contingent reinforcement provides a simple, yet powerful starting point for addressing many of these types of issues. By meeting the underlying needs of a learner up front in such a way that “attention-seeking” or demand behaviors become unnecessary, new, healthier communication patterns have a chance to emerge. For trainers looking beyond NILIF, status reduction, and “Learn to Earn” type protocols, non-contingent reinforcement invites us to explore new possibilities of increased understanding and co-operation with the animals we share our lives with.
Please note: This Session was recorded in 2018; content presented in 2019 may vary slightly.