Affecting Positive Reinforcement
First, it's important to realize that you're not using positive reinforcement alone. You're using positive reinforcement and extinction. Never, ever forget about extinction. Lack of reinforcement *is* a consequence to behavior. You can get something (+), lose something (-), or have nothing happen (neutral). Neutral (extinction) counts, because the animal changes its behavior in order to get what it wants.
To train a behavior, I would say the vast majority are trained with mostly positive reinforcement and extinction. I use a small amount of negative punishment, even when teaching new behaviors. I don't generally introduce it early in the learning phase -- though I might with some behaviors. (Loose leash walking jumps to mind.) I prefer to use positive reinforcement and extinction, but it's a never-say-never situation.
Factors that affect a positive reinforcer...
The neat thing is that if you manage to make positive as many of these factors as possible, over time the behavior you're trying to train *might* become self-reinforcing. Ultra-major payoff!! Just remember that's not a guarantee. You could give me a million dollars every time I did the laundry, and laundry would never become *self-reinforcing* for me. Without the payoff, laundry just sucks. <grin>
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