Best Dog Training - Navigating the Pros and Cons of Different Dog Training
Dog training is the application of behavior analysis which uses the environmental events of antecedents and consequences to modify the behavior of a dog, either for it to assist in specific activities or undertake particular tasks, or for it to participate effectively in contemporary domestic life. While training dogs for specific roles dates back to Roman times at least, the training of dogs to be compatible household pets developed with suburbanization in the s.
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A dog learns from interactions it has with its environment. There are a variety of established methods of animals training, each with its adherents and critics. Some of the better known dog training procedures include the Koehler method, clicker training, motivational training, electronic training, model-rival training, dominance-based training, and relationship-based training. The use of punishment is controversial with both the humaneness and effectiveness questioned by many behaviourists. Dog training is teaching a response to cues or commands, or the performance of actions not necessarily natural to the dog, and also raising a dog accommodated to his environment by modifying natural digging, barking and eliminating behaviors.
Dog training is defined as the purposeful changing of a dog's behavior. Dog training can be socialisation to the domestic environment, basic obedience training or training for specialized activities including law enforcement , search and rescue , hunting , working with livestock , assistance to people with disabilities , entertainment, dog sports , detection and protecting people or property.
Although research into how dogs learn and into cross-species communication has changed the approach to dog training in recent decades, understanding the role of early trainers and scientists contributes to an appreciation of how particular methods and techniques developed. In around B. His writings indicate that not only was dog training for specific tasks well established, but that the value of early training was recognised. In W. Primarily concerned with training hunting dogs such as pointers and setters, the book advocates a form of reward-based training, commenting on men who have "a strong arm and a hard heart to punish, but no temper and no head to instruct" and suggesting "Be to his virtues ever kind.
Be to his faults a little blind.
Konrad Most began training dogs for police work in Germany, and was appointed principal of the State Breeding and Training Establishment for police dogs in Berlin , where he carried out original research into training dogs for a broad range of service tasks. At the outbreak of war in he was charged with organising and directing the use of dogs to further the war effort. He headed the Experimental Institute for Armed Forces' Dogs during the Second World War, and afterwards ran the German Dog Farm, a centre for the training of working dogs, including assistance dogs for the blind.
The book demonstrated an understanding of the principles of operant conditioning almost thirty years before they were formally outlined by B. Skinner in The Behavior of Organisms. Marian Breland Bailey played a major role in developing empirically validated and humane animal training methods and in promoting their widespread implementation. Her first husband Keller Breland also came to study with Skinner and they collaborated with him, training pigeons to guide bombs.
In , they opened the "I. Zoo" as both a training facility and a showcase of trained animals. They were among the first to use trained animals in television commercials, and the first to train dolphins and whales as entertainment, as well as for the navy. They pioneered the use of the clicker as a conditioned reinforcer for training animals at a distance.
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Konrad Lorenz , an Austrian scientist who is regarded as developing the foundations of ethological research,  further popularised animal behaviorism with his books, Man Meets Dog and King Solomon's Ring. In , the American Kennel Club began obedience trials, and in the following years popular magazines raised public awareness of the benefits of having a trained pet dog, and of the recreational possibilities of dog training as a hobby. William Koehler had served as principal trainer at the War Dog Training Center, in California, and after the war became chief trainer for the Orange Empire Dog Club—at the time, the largest dog club in the United States—instructor for a number of breed clubs, and a dog trainer for the Walt Disney Studios.
Koehler insisted that participants in his training classes used "emphatic corrections", including leash jerks and throw chains, explaining that tentative, nagging corrections were cruel in that they caused emotional disturbance to the dog. In the s Blanche Saunders was a staunch advocate of pet-dog training, travelling throughout the U. They must be disciplined when they do wrong, but they must also be rewarded when they do right. The mantra taught to students was "Command!
In , John Paul Scott and John Fuller identified the critical periods for learning and social development in puppies, and published Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog , a landmark study of dog behavior.
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The television series Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way made Barbara Woodhouse a household name in the UK , and the first international celebrity dog trainer. Despite advocating a philosophy that "understanding is the key to communication and compassion with your dog,"  they endorsed confrontational punishments which were later shown to elicit dangerously aggressive responses in many dogs. In the s veterinarian and animal behaviourist Ian Dunbar discovered that despite evidence on the peak learning periods in animals, few dog trainers worked with puppies before they were six months old.
Prior to the s, Karen Pryor was a marine-mammal trainer who used Skinner's operant principles to teach dolphins and develop marine-mammal shows. In , she published her book, Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training , an explanation of operant-conditioning procedures written for the general public. Wilkes used aversives as well as rewards, and the philosophical differences soon ended the partnership.
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers advises that television programs are produced primarily for entertainment, and while all programs will have good and not-so-good points, the viewer should critically evaluate the information before deciding which training tips to adopt. Operant conditioning or instrumental conditioning is a form of learning in which an individual's behavior is modified by its consequences.
Two complementary motivations drive instrumental learning: the maximization of positive outcomes and minimization of aversive ones. There are two ways in which behavior is decreased or weakened: negative punishment occurs when a behavior is weakened by not producing a reinforcing consequence; and positive punishment occurs when a behavior is weakened by producing a consequence that is a disincentive.
In combination, these basic reinforcing and punishing contingencies provide four ways for modifying behavior. Typical positive reinforcement events will satisfy some physiological or psychological need, so it can be food, a game, or a demonstration of affection. Different dogs will find different things reinforcing.
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Negative reinforcement occurs when a dog discovers that a particular response ends the presentation of an aversive stimulus. An aversive is anything that the dog does not like, such as verbal admonishment, or a tightened choke chain. Punishment is operationally defined as an event that lowers the probability of the behavior that it follows.
It is not "punishment" in the common sense of the word,  and does not mean physical or psychological harm and most certainly does not mean abuse. Punishment simply involves the presentation of an undesired consequence positive punishment when the wrong behavior is performed, such as a snap of the leash, or the removal of a desired consequence negative punishment when the wrong behavior is performed, such as the trainer eating the cheese that would have been the reward.
A dog that paws its owner for attention will eventually stop if it no longer receives attention. Classical conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning is a form of learning in which one stimulus, the conditioned stimulus, comes to signal the occurrence of a second stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus. A dog may become afraid of rain through an association with thunder and lightning, or it may respond to the owner putting on a particular pair of shoes by fetching its leash.
Non-associative learning is a change in a response to a stimulus that does not involve associating the presented stimulus with another stimulus or event such as reward or punishment.
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An example is where a dog that reacts excitedly to a door bell is subjected to repeated ringing without accompanying visitors, and stops reacting to the meaningless stimuli. It becomes habituated to the noise. Some dogs' reactions to the stimuli become stronger instead of them habituating to the repeated stimuli or event. This type of training can be effective for dogs who are fearful of fireworks.
Learned irrelevance is where dogs that are overexposed to a stimulus or cue learn the cue is irrelevant because the exposure has proven to be uneventful. So a dog owner who continually says "Sit, sit" without response or consequence, inadvertently teaches the dog to ignore the cue.
Learned helplessness occurs when a dog ceases to respond in a situation where it has no option to avoid a negative event. For learned helplessness to occur, the event must be both traumatic and outside the dog's control. Punishment which is poorly coordinated with identifiable avoidance cues or response options, such as when punishment takes place long after the event, meet the criteria of inescapable trauma. Observational learning is the learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others.
This form of learning does not need reinforcement to occur; instead, a model animal is required. While the model may not be intentionally trying to instill any particular behavior, many behaviors that are observed are remembered and imitated. There is, however, ongoing discussion about how much, and how, dogs can learn by interacting with each other and with people. That is, the dog must pay attention to the dog or person performing the modelled behavior; retain the information gathered about the behavior during the observation; be motivated to reproduce the behavior in a time and place removed from the original; and finally, produce the behavior, or some reasonable facsimile thereof.
Pups between the ages of 9—12 weeks who were permitted to observe their narcotics-detecting mothers at work generally proved more capable at learning the same skills at six months of age than control puppies the same age who were not previously allowed to watch their mothers working. The demonstration of the detour by humans significantly improved the dogs' performance in the trials. The experiments showed that dogs are able to rely on information provided by human action when confronted with a new task.
enter Significantly, they did not copy the exact path of the human demonstrator, but adopted the detour behavior shown by humans to reach their goal. At 38 days of age, the demonstrator puppies took an average of seconds to succeed, while the observers succeeded in an average of 9 seconds. Dogs are capable of cognitive learning , which is distinct from conditioning methods such as operant and classical conditioning.
Cognitive learning is a process wherein dogs acquire and process information, rather than develop conditioned responses to stimuli. Contact her at k9kinship gmail. Menu Canada's 1 Community Newspaper.
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