Fundamentals of Animal Learning

Instructors: Dr. Dan Estep, and Dr. Suzanne Hetts

To avoid confusion, we recommend reading ALL the information on this page

  • Do you know the difference between punishment and negative reinforcement? Do you know what they have in common?
  • Can you identify when negative punishment is being used in a training situation and when it isn’t? For example, is a “time out” always negative punishment?
  • Are you using “aversive” techniques and don’t know it?  And is that’s necessarily a “bad” thing?
  • What about the hot-button of positive punishment?  Discover decision making techniques for if, and when, it’s appropriate to use this behavioral consequence and which claims about its use are true, and which are not.

If you want the answers to these questions and MORE, this course is for you!

This course will cover the four quadrants of operant conditioning (positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment), including how to offer and withhold rewards effectively, and the criteria for proper use of punishment (both positive and negative).

New information includes breed and sex differences in learning abilities, the salience of visual vs. auditory cues, the distinction between positive and negative reinforcement and the negative effects of positive reinforcement – that’s right we said the negative effects of R+!

If you’ve gotten confused by the way others have presented the subject or if you aren’t sure how to apply what you know in your daily work or with your own dog, this course is for you. This course is a must for all pet professionals. Anyone who trains dogs, needs to modify their behavior for any reason or needs to help dog owners do so must understand not only the fundamentals of learning but also the details of implementation. By knowing how to manage the consequences of behavior, you can make learning fun, efficient, and effective for both people and dogs.

This is a great course for trainers preparing for CCPDT certification, veterinary technicians and all pet professional who want to expand their knowledge about how animals learn.  CEUs are available upon request.

Click here to view the course outline.  The course comes with class notes and recommended readings.

Course dates:  This course is now available On Demand

. CEUs can be earned through listening to the replays and then correctly emailing us answers to “test” questions given during the class.

 Registration Fee: $99.00  

BEN Pro Members receive a discount on this course. If you are a current BEN member, log in then navigate to Tele-Webinars/On Demand courses using the top navigation menu.  Use the link to purchase at your discounted rate.  You will then access the course through PetProWebinars.

Not a BEN Member?   Find out about the Behavior Education Network

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at