Tips for positive training for your dog.
Several recent research has shown that punishment-based training (also known as unpleasant training) may do more damage than benefit by reducing well-being and increasing dread and anxiety.
Positive reinforcement techniques may help students learn more effectively. Sophia Yin, a behaviorist and veterinarian, showed in 2008 that nonaversive, reward-based training strategies were more effective in encouraging desirable behaviors.
In addition, a 2009 study by veterinary behaviorist Meghan Herron found that when punishment-based tactics were employed in training, there were more instances of aggressiveness directed against the dog’s owners. In 2004, John Bradshaw’s research found that dogs treated using unpleasant approaches had an increased frequency of undesirable behaviors.
Punishment may be good or bad when it comes to operant conditioning. “Isn’t all punishment negative?” you may wonder. However, behavior scientists define positive and negative in various ways.
Negative punishment entails taking away something to reduce the frequency of a behavior; of course, it works best if the dog like it.
If Spike, your adorable Rat Terrier, snaps at your visitors, you should step away from him and leave the room right away. In reaction to his troublesome conduct, you’re taking away something he enjoys (your company). Spike will soon learn that snapping at visitors indicates he is losing your attention if you time it correctly.
Positive punishment entails doing something to make the action less harmful. Of course, if it’s something the dog doesn’t enjoy, like a swat, a shout, or a spritz with a water bottle, it’ll be most effective. Positive punishment, on the other hand, has some major timing concerns, as we’ve previously shown.
Negative reinforcement and punishment are often confused, but they are not the same. Punishment is associated with the conduct and reduces the chance of the dog repeating it. Punishment is triggered by the dog’s actions; if he does not jump on the coffee table, you will not penalize him. Reinforcement is likewise triggered by the dog’s actions, but you want to see that behavior persist. If he sits on a mat near the entryway, for example, he is rewarded—this is positive reinforcement.
Negative reinforcement is when you repeatedly do something unpleasant to the dog until he accomplishes what you desire. You may, for example, tug on the leash until he approaches you. You cease pulling as his reward. Then you take away something unpleasant (the negative component) in order to improve the possibility that the dog would approach you again (the reinforcement element). When he feels the tightness on the leash rise, he will be more likely to approach you.
In the end, punishment is used to reduce the frequency of a behavior, while reinforcement is used to promote it. The positive implies that something is being added to the situation, whereas the negative implies that something is being taken away.
Learning to Avoid
An arbitrary stimulus, such as a click or the refrigerator door opening, might teach dogs to connect nice things with it. They may also learn to correlate a random input with negative feelings. This is the foundation of much earlier dog training, such as teaching a dog to heel in order to avoid a sharp yank on his neck from a choke collar. Electronic fences are also based on avoidance learning.
These are made up of a hidden wire that sends a signal to a specific dog collar that sounds a tone when the dog gets within three feet of the boundary and then shocks the dog if it gets any closer. To prevent a shock, the dog learns to remain inside the borders.
Extinguishing a Habit: How to Put an End to It
If the incentive is taken away, the behavior will inevitably decline. This is what it means to “put an end to a behavior.” If the purpose of the behavior is to grab your attention (for example, leaping up on you when you get home), ignoring it may cause it to cease.
If you ignore the yapping, the dog will likely continue to bark at passers-by since the dog gets rewarded when the humans leave. “Look what happens when I bark; the folks flee,” he thinks. This is fantastic!” Barking is also enjoyable for many dogs, which implies it is self-rewarding. This behavior will not cease if you ignore it.
What Does This Indicate?
Classical conditioning is a kind of learning in which the presence of one event is naturally connected with the elicitation of the desired response.
Operant conditioning is a kind of learning that happens when a certain behavior results in either reward or punishment.
Avoidance learning happens when a stimulus is connected with something the dog would like to avoid.
Reinforcement is defined as any change in an animal’s environment that happens after a behavior or reaction and raises the chance of that behavior or response happening again. Reinforcement may be either positive or negative (something is added to the situation) (something is taken away from the situation).
Punishment is any change in an animal’s environment that happens after a behavior or reaction and diminishes the chance that the activity will occur again. Punishment may be either good or negative (something is added to the situation) (something is taken away from the situation).
Variable reinforcement ratio: A reward or reinforcement schedule in which the number of right replies required to get a reward fluctuates.
When a learned reaction is not rewarded or reinforced, it is extinguished.
Generalize: To understand that once a habit is established in one context, it should be repeated in all others.
Is this really the case?
The dominance paradigm of dog training has been discussed extensively. This concept suggests that the best way to teach our pets is to show them who is in charge.
Is it true that if we use force-based training techniques and we are dominating, our dogs will obey?
Since dogs are basically tamed wolves, and wolves have a rigorous dominance order within their pack, the idea goes, dogs must have the same. Isn’t it simple? However, this viewpoint is incorrect.
We have abandoned the dominance-hierarchy approach to dog training due to two recent results. First, even in captivity, wolves do not have fixed hierarchies.
Despots (absolute rulers who wield power in an arbitrary or ruthless way) do not govern in the wild. Second, dogs and wolves split genetically far earlier (fifteen thousand to twenty thousand years ago) than previously assumed, and their behavior is now quite different.
Feral dogs (free-living canines derived from domestic dogs) do not live in packs, but rather in small groups, according to recent research.
Do Wolves Have More Intelligence Than Dogs?
Another widely held belief is that wolves are more intelligent than dogs. Is there any validity to such an assertion? Wolves must not be that intelligent as a species, otherwise, they would not have become endangered over most of their area, whereas dogs thrive in our air-conditioned houses and recliners. Nonetheless, some data suggest that wolves are smarter than dogs.
Wolves have greater brains than similar-sized dogs. Because women’s smaller brains were formerly used to “prove” they weren’t as brilliant as males, brain size isn’t a totally accurate indicator of intellect. Problem-solving is a superior IQ test because wolves are better at solving issues on their own than dogs. When dogs are unable to solve an issue, they seek assistance from people, according to a groundbreaking study by Brian Hare and Adam Miklosi
This behavior seems to be natural in dogs since pups exhibit it, but even human-reared wolves need a long time to learn to seek assistance from humans.
Priority access to resources is the definition of dominance. As a result, strolling beside the human or sitting when ordered does not seem to have much to do with dominance, as it has little effect on the dog’s access to resources. It’s also unclear if dogs see humans as part of their social group.
They may learn to fear us, but is that the kind of connection you want with your closest friend? You want a dog that is eager to please you. Consistency is vital to the dog in order for this to happen. When you say “sit” and he sits, pleasant things happen every time. When they do, he’ll be less worried, and anxiety is at the foundation of many canine misbehaviors, including violence.
What Should We Do First?
Let’s see if we can get Farley to sit. First and foremost, the learning atmosphere must be favorable. That means no outside distractions, such as squirrels, loud music, or other dogs barking. You should also avoid distractions, such as watching TV out of the corner of your eye. Both you and your dog need a quiet, concentrated setting in order to learn.
Hold a piece of tasty food directly in front of his nose while teaching him to “sit,” then slide your hand back between his ears. He should raise his nose, and as his nose rises, his rump falls. Say “sit” and hand him the food when his rump hits the floor. Don’t say “sit” until he begins to squat, since he won’t understand what it means until you’ve linked his sitting movement with the word at least a dozen times.
It’s important to assist him to generalize by encouraging him to sit in other locations and in more distracting conditions after he’s mastered sitting in that calm peaceful area. (When an animal learns that once a behavior is established in one habitat or with one person, it should also occur in all other contexts and with everyone, this is known as generalizing.)
You’ll be able to manage his behavior even when he’s excited or scared if you do this.
Let’s now teach Farley how to lay down. You can compel a dog to lay down by dragging his front legs forward, or you may fool him into lying down by placing food on the floor. The simplest method is to wait for him to fall asleep on his own and then encourage that behavior.
If you’re using a clicker, he already understands what it means (he behaved well, and a reward is on the way! ), so you can relax and wait for him to lay down. Mark the occasion with a click, just like he does.
After that, you just have a few seconds to throw him a reward.
You don’t have to say anything—in fact, you should wait until he’s laying down repeatedly before putting words and a hand gesture together.
Why is it necessary to utilize both a verbal and a hand signal? Dogs are largely visual creatures that communicate by reading body position. According to veterinary behaviorist Daniel Mills’ research, dogs tend to react to hand gestures better than words.
Hand signals may also improve the quality of life for your senior dog. Your dog should survive well into his teens, hopefully. If he does, he’ll most likely lose some hearing, at which point he’ll only reply to the request he perceives—a hand gesture. Even so, the spoken word has the potential to save your dog’s life. What if he’s chasing a squirrel on the other side of the street? As he goes toward the squirrel, he won’t see your hand signal, but he will hear you calling and will lay down rather than dart out onto a busy street.
It’s All About Timing
Most veterinary behaviorist visits require pet owners to fill out a long history form before arriving at the behavior clinic. One of the questions concerns education. One inquiry would be how often the dog obeys the commands “sit,” “down,” “stay,” and “coming.”
Jerry’s owner was requested to illustrate how he responded to the order to sit when Jerry, an extra-cute Pomeranian, was carried into the consultation room (he was virtually always carried). Jerry’s owner said he cooperated 80% of the time, but she commanded “sit” twenty times and he still refused. Was his owner telling the truth? No. She was implying that if there are no other distractions and she has a very tasty reward, he may sit the tenth time she speaks the word.
Jerry’s owner wasn’t lying, and neither was Jerry. He sat for a bite of squeezed cheese in a matter of minutes. It was difficult to convince him to quit sitting long enough for the request to be issued again after a dozen rewarding sits. Was this excellent preparation? Absolutely not. It was simply an excellent illustration of how beneficial it is to offer a reward right after the proper conduct is shown.
“Look” is one of the easiest tricks for a dog to learn. Hold a reward over your dog’s head at arm’s length. Simply keep it in place. He’ll stare at the reward and perhaps leap for it, but after about 10 seconds, he’ll turn to face you.
Put the treat in his mouth as soon as possible. You’ll notice that he starts to glance at you more rapidly after around 10 repetitions. You may now say “look” (or “watch me”) when doing this action. He won’t understand what you mean if you simply say “look,” so say it when he turns his gaze to yours. He’ll connect this action to the term.
It’s surprisingly simple to teach this command to your dog. This is where pragmatism meets dog knowledge. Because dogs inherently seek to people to solve their issues, teaching “look” or “watch me” is simple. Try this:
While you’re out of the room, have a buddy put a reward out of reach of your dog.
Your dog will gaze at the reward, then at you, then back at the goodie when you return. This is something even pups will do. Dogs may not be as intelligent as wolves, but they do know where to seek assistance.
What is the significance of the “look” request?
Because it has the potential to save your dog’s life.
Consider yourself and your dog going along a rural road when you see a vehicle approaching. Your dog is enticed to cross the road since there are so many interesting things on the other side. If you say “see,” he will turn to face you rather than running in front of that automobile.