Thats where paying attention comes into play. lets use kids as an example: positive and negative reinforcement are very very different for each of my kids. Timeout works great for my hyperactive son, because h3 hates staying still with a passion. My daughter wasnt phased. Positive reinforcement varies too.
One of my horses is a slug....moving her is a punishment, but she is not phased at all by a whip, or getting tapped with it....she truly doesn't care or notice. All my others have a rather unreasonable horror of whips that I haven't had the chance to work out yet.
All we can really do is offer generalities regarding correction and reinforcement. it seems like usng generalities and correcting as needed works out pretty well, given common sense.
Absolutely, and with horses, who don't speak english, the only thing we can do is look at the results to figure out how the horse thinks. For example, my nipping pony, they thought they were punishing him by hitting him, whipping him, throwing cold water at him, any of the above - but the behavior continued and even got worse - so clearly they were reinforcing the skill. (punishment=something that decreases a frequency of behavior reinforcement= something that increases a frequency of behavior).
With the naughty pony I knew they had 2 options to try, they either needed to step up their+Punishment
by attacking him until he really, really hurt or they needed to try a different approach. The opted to use -Punishment
, by removing what he wanted to tell him he was acting wrong. He wanted to watch humans jump and squeal, so by staying out of his reach and paying him no attention when he was naughty, he quickly learned that the behavior got him no where.
We are taking is one step further with our naughty pony, we taught him to touch a target (using positive reinforcement) and he learned good things happen when he stands at his target and ignores when someone walks by. For now, when we walk by his stall, if he goes to his target we drop a tid-bit of food in his bucket, he knows this and is always on top of it! Now we're slowly beginning to not always drop the food - but to him, it's worth the gamble, he'd rather be on that target, just in case we have something for him. He's still learning but coming along well.