Back-chaining: Back-chaining trains a series of behaviors in sections and in the opposite order of performance so that one behavior is reinforced by the next in the series.

Capturing: Teaching a behavior by marking and reinforcing at the moment it naturally occurs.

Classical Conditioning: Creating an association by pairing something in the environment with food.

Counter-Conditioning: An existing association is replaced by a different association.


Did you hear a word on the podcast that you didn’t know? Here’s a quick glossary of terms.

Criteria: Desired results in a training session for any given behavior.

Desensitization: Gradually increasing an animal’s tolerance to something negative in the environment by slowly increasing the presence of it.

Differential Reinforcement: Reinforcement that is given for particular criteria and only that criteria.

Jackpot: A larger quantity of reinforcement given for a completed behavior.

Luring: Physically guiding an animal with food to achieve a desired behavior.

Marker: A signal used to note a behavior the moment it occurs.

No-Reward Marker (NRM): A signal used to indicate that the behavior offered was not the one requested.

Operant Conditioning: Building or decreasing behaviors by adding consequences after the behavior.

Reinforcement: Strengthening a behavior by adding something desirable or taking away something undesirable as a consequence.

Punishment: Weakening a behavior by adding something undesirable or taking away something desirable as a consequence.

Premack Principle: The theory that states that a behavior that occurs more frequently will reinforce a behavior that occurs less frequently. Shaping: Building a complete behavior by reinforcing the steps that create that behavior.

Stimulus Control: The result of training a behavior so that 1) a given cue results in the requested behavior, and 2) the behavior is not offered without the cue or in response to some other cue.

Training Session: The length of time or number of treats allotted to partially or completely train one or more behaviors.

Variable Reinforcement: Creating an unpredictable reinforcement pattern based on time, number of repetitions, or type and number of reinforcers used.