Dogs always do what works best for them. Their behavior gets directed by its consequences: The law of the effect.
These are the four consequences:
- something good starts (positive reinforcement)
- something good stops (negative punishment)
- something bad starts (positive punishment)
- something bad stops (negative reinforcement)
Every consequence must be applied immediately. Dogs are experts in reading us and know what consequences will likely be applied when showing certain behavior in a given situation. Eventually the good and the bad consequences get connected with other things and have influence on the behavior.
However, we prefer working with positive reinforcement and negative punishment.