cros0191: October 2011 Archives

As many well established dog trainers know, there are various different ways to teach your dog or puppy obedience and training. Two particular forms of training drew a lot of public attention and that is Positive and Negative Reinforcement. Negative Reinforcement in the dog world is defined as: A punishment that is given to your dog or puppy or something is taken away to increase the likelihood of the behavior being repeated more frequently. If any one is familiar with Cesar Millan we know that he is very much a fan of this particular approach, and his particular choice of training drew a lot of ethical questions. In the article I read it touched base with the correct way to train your dog with using negative reinforcement which drew a very thin line to punishment. In our text punishment is defined as an outcome or consequence of a behavior that weakens the probability of the behavior. In the article the trainer had stated you could use negative reinforcement when you are potty training your dog. The article has also stated, if your dog where to have an accident in the house to place him/her in their crate so they know they have to potty outside, is this really the proper use of negative reinforcement? It seems more like punishment because nothing has actually been taken away from the pooch, besides his freewill.
The other methods which were listed are the use of things such as, Shock Training Collars, Choke Collars, Bitter Apple and Cayenne Pepper spray, and water spray collars, or in Cesar Millan's case kicking the dog when unwanted behavior occurs. While all these methods seem more like punishment (in just scaring the dog out of the unwanted behavior) trainers nation wide are not using negative reinforcement correctly, making dog owners shun the idea of negative reinforcement, which if used properly could be a very effect method of dog training.
Trainers such as Cesar Millan have fell victim to being labeled as an animal abuser because of his particular methods in dog training. He claims that he is using negative reinforcement, when he's not actually removing a stimulus, but striking fear into a dog when an unwanted behavior occurs. He may run into less issues with the owners if he calls it as it is, and admits to using punishment whether the negative reinforcement to train his dogs.
More dog owners and trainers seem to be switching over to the less controversial training of positive reinforcement! Which in the dog world is defined as, A treat and lots of praise to increase the likelihood of the behavior being repeated more frequently. This method seems more beneficial to the owners and of course their dogs, I mean how can you go wrong with treats? I hope this particular article opens the eyes to our many dog trainers and owners out there, and helps them re-evaluate their method of training, and if they choose to stick with negative reinforcement make sure that it's done correctly, so you don't go from becoming a trainer to an abuser!

I would have never classified myself as having a sleeping problem, that is until I read chapter 5 of our Lilienfled textbook and discovered that Insomnia can take multiple forms including: Having trouble falling asleep, Waking up too early in the morning and waking up during the night and having trouble falling back to sleep. Scared that I fell into all 3 of these categories of Insomnia I did some more research on Insomnia in the adult population and discovered that most adults have experienced Insomnia or sleeplessness at one time or another in their lives, an estimated 30-50% of the general population are affected by Insomnia (Wow! that's half), and about 10% affected by Chronic Insomnia. I went on learning that Insomnia is also classified by the duration of the problem, and not everyone agrees on the definition. I would also have to agree with this statement seeing as there have been times in my life, particularly the stressful periods were I did experience all the symptoms listed for Insomnia. I do love my sleep and didn't think that I had a sleeping disorder so I blamed it on stress which was altering my sleeping patterns. This brought rise to my next question, can stress cause Insomnia?
Researching a bit further I discovered that Insomnia affects woman more so than men and that the incidence tends to increase with age. It is typically more common in people in lower socioeconomic groups, chronic alcoholics and mental health patients. Stress most commonly triggers short term and acute Insomnia, and if not treated or address can turn into Chronic Insomnia. Although stress and Insomnia seem to have a real strong correlation, I don't believe there is enough statistical evidence to actually prove the causation of Insomnia due to stress, many other factors can contribute to irregular sleeping patterns, whether it is stress or simply what you ate right before you went to bed. So is it accurate to diagnose someone with Insomnia because they've had a couple of rough nights of sleep? I don't believe so, however symptoms lasting for less than one week would be diagnosed and defined as Transient Insomnia, symptoms lasting anywhere between one to three weeks would be diagnosed as Short-Term Insomnia and anything longer than that would be considered Chronic Insomnia.
They did come out with a new drug that is supposed to help those experiencing all the above categories of Insomnia, but is more geared towards people who are suffering from Transient or Short-Term Insomnia. I have added the link below:

As we all are now fully aware there is still the endless debate of Nature Vs. Nurture studies. Twins potentially provide us with one of the most powerful techniques available for separating the influenced of genetic and environmental factors, and on psychological and behavioral traits. This process is called twin studies, as Lilienfeld would state in our text the logic of twin studies rests on the fact that identical twins are more similar genetically than are fraternal twins, if identical twins are more alike on a psychological characteristic we can infer that this characteristic is genetically influenced.
There are several articles every year that assures us there's a link between homosexuality and biological features, the headlines imply that people are born with tendencies which will make them gay or lesbian and that change of sexual orientation would be impossible. The article had discovered that only about 38% of the time the identical twin brother would be a homosexual, however the public still believes that genes "nature" still play a major role in if one "chooses" to be homosexual or not.

studies have also shown that many family factors had a strong influence on the sexual preference of the specific twins in which were involved in this particular case study, therefore making homosexuality and environmental "nurture" factor. The study had also showed that the same family environment was perceived in different ways by identical twins, these differences later lead to homosexuality in one twin but not in the other.

in conclusion no specific study shows if homosexual twins are genetically influenced or if it is simply family factors, this will be an ongoing debate for generations to come it's one of those studies that may go even further than genes itself. Will we ever come to a conclusion? so far all hypotheses have been ruled out, and there are still many more being made.

Source: . Bailey, JM; Pillard,RC (1991): A genetic study of male sexual orientation. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 48, 1089-1096

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