The Practice Of Training Dogs

Decent Essays
In the practice of training dogs, there are many methods in which to teach Fido. These approaches usually use the process of conditioning and fall into four main categories - positive reinforcement, positive punishment, negative reinforcement and positive punishment. This essay will outline and explain the benefits and disadvantages of the different practices in relation to training.

To build a base understanding of how to train, we need to first look at what conditioning is. In the context of training, there are two branches of conditioning - classical and operant conditioning.

Classical conditioning, also called respondent conditioning, involves the use of unconditioned stimuli (UCS), conditioned stimuli (CS) and/or neutral stimuli (NS) to achieve unconditioned responses (UCR) and conditioned responses (CR). One of the most famous cases of this was made by a Russian scientist named Ivan Pavlov. During Pavlov’s study of digestive processes in animals, for example, he noticed the dogs in his experiment would salivate when his lab assistants entered the room, whether or not they had food (Burch and Bailey, 1999). In this scenario, the lab assistant was originally a NC (neutral due to producing no response prior to food pairing), the food was the UCS and the salivation was the UCR. By associating the lab assistant (NS) with the food (UCS), the lab assistant became a CS to the dog and the salivating became a CR.

Classical conditioning focuses on reflexive behaviour such as
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