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Michael Ellis - How Gambling Addiction Relates
to Positive Reinforcement in Dog Training

Throughout Michael Ellis' course there are many questions that arise. Some of those questions relate directly to the topic at hand, while others are completely off topic. We have filmed several of those off topic questions on everything from breeds of dogs to gambling addiction and how it relates to dog training.

Today's video topic addresses the question: is the desire to gamble based on the same principals as operant conditioning in dog training?

In this short video, Michael discusses operant conditioning and how it relates to humans gambling. People are motivated by the payoff (positive reinforcement) but the reason they continue to pull the lever on a slot machine, play roulette or buy lottery tickets is due to the random rate of reinforcement.

Leerburg Online University Student Comment

Leerburg's Online Basic Dog Obedience Course

The most valuable discovery to me in both the online course and the practice that I've been doing with my dog is the overwhelming power of engagement. When my dog wants what I have and wants to be with me then he is so excited to learn and can learn anything I feel. It becomes as rewarding to me as it is with him. I am someone who is a very analytical thinker and I love philosophy. My favorite thing about the structure of this course is the weight given to truly explain the "why" and not just the "how". I respect balance in all things in life and the approach to this system seems quite logical and very fair. I enjoy the "old school" approach that is very conversational in the teaching style. It is obvious the training is built off of many years of experience. Thank you for making this available.

Read more student comments on Leerburg Online University

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: An individual as the dog park was pushing away a puppy that didn't belong to him and when it tried to nip him he grabbed it by the scruff, shook it and threw it. This happened 3 times before someone intervened. What would you advise to do if your puppy is handled this way?

Hi there Cindy/Ed. Big fan of your work.

I know you do not advocate dog parks. I will admit I do frequent them from time to time. Anyways I was witness to what I believed was another horror story. An individual at the dog park was trying to water his dog. A 3 month old husky puppy belonging to another owner took over his water bowl.

He kept trying to push it away, and when the puppy nipped at him he lost his cool and gripped the pup by the scruff of the neck,lifted it, shook it and took it 10 meters away and threw it. This happened 3 times. Very quickly. The owner didn't really see what happened till the last time. Another individual took the dog away to the owner so this individual would not repeat I however told the individual he should not handle somebody else's puppy this way as it can seriously effect the pup negatively, and that he should not try discipline other people's dogs. What do you think of this behavior? What would you advise one do if his puppy was handled like this?

Cindy's Response:

This is something that would NEVER happen to one of my pups no matter where I was because I don't allow my puppies to interact with anyone I don't know. I certainly wouldn't be at a dog park and I never take my attention OR my leash off my pup when I am out in public. This was the owner's fault for not supervising his puppy, he let his puppy down.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Dog Parks and our Q&A on Puppies.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Mil-Spec Collar


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The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers
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