Secondary, or conditioned, reinforcers are stimuli, objects, or events that become reinforcing based on their association with a primary reinforcer. A dog isn't born wanting to sit on cue, but when sitting is paired with primary reinforcers such as treats or social interaction, it becomes a secondary reinforcer. The sit can then be used to reinforce behaviors you like, much as you would use a food treat. Watch in this video as Ken Ramirez and his dog Marlin demonstrate just how powerful using behaviors as secondary reinforcers can be!
Learn all about using reinforcement effectively in Ken’s online course Smart Reinforcement!