Pet Training and Me

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I'll be completely honest. In 5 years, I can guarantee with nearly 100% certainty that I will have forgotten about B.F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, and Ivan Pavlov. Chances are pretty good that I'll have forgotten much of the terminology I've learned over the year as well. But I think for sure that one of the things that I'll retain is the knowledge of classical conditioning.

About 3 years ago, my family adopted an Alaskan Husky from the pound. My brother and I grew up with a Lab and when we pictured a dog, we naturally assumed that it would be mellow and easily trained, common characteristics amongst Labs. It quickly became very clear that, while a very sweet dog, she would take some serious training. My Mom, Dad, brother and I took turns trying to train her to sit, come, and lay down. 3 years later, she's come a long way but still has a long way to go, and up until this class, I always assumed that it was her and not us. After the chapter on classical conditioning, however, I'm not so sure. I quickly realized that we weren't consistent with our conditioned stimuli, so naturally, the conditioned response took much longer, and wasn't nearly as consistent as it should be.

Now that I know the basic principles of classical conditioning, I'm looking forward to trying it out on my dog, and I'm noticing it in everyday life. I just watched this show of The Office the other day, wherein Jim demonstrates the merits of classical conditioning on Dwight. Enjoy!!!


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Very interesting, I dont have any pets currently but I used to. I feel like blaming animals not just dogs is a much easier solution than blaming ourselves for whats happening. Its interesting how easy it can be to teach animals to do some things and how difficult teaching them to do other things is

I agree, this is exactly what I like about psychology. I couldn't care less about the technical stuff, but the practical applicable lessons are simply amazing. Whether it's learning to provide consistent stimuli when training a dog or interacting with others in the workplace, applied psychology has lessons to offer.

I agree that what most people remember from psychology isn't the dry facts and names, but the things that apply to everyday life. I'll for sure remember and try to apply classical conditioning if I ever happen to get a pet.

This is a really great example of a way that a psych concept can be practically applied to an every day situation. I plan on getting a dog in the future and I hope I'll remember to revisit classical conditioning when I start to train it. I also noticed a TV example of classical conditioning on the Big Bang Theory the other night, when Sheldon was attempting to condition Penny.

I also thought that this concept would be most prevelent in my life five years from now. Although I will probably not draw on the names either, I will most likely be using the concepts of classical and operant conditioning throughout my academic career and throughout my career as well.

This is a really interesting post. My family also have dogs and it has been difficult to train them to do things that we want them to do. I agree that my family and myself have not been completely consistent in training our dogs, and it would be interesting to try to train them after learning about how classical conditioning works. Good post!

This is a great post and is so honest. I wanted to comment on this because I also have a dog and after I read the chapter on Classical Conditioning, it taught me that I was going by training him the completely wrong way. This is also one of the few topics that I will remember from Psychology this semester and it came just in time to help train my dog. Thanks!

That episode of The Office is one of the funniest intro's (besides this one

I, too, will likely remember classical conditioning for a very long time and will try it out on my brother over the summer. And if I ever get a dog in the future, conditioning will probably be the first thing I will think of.

My family did the same thing when we got one of my dogs. But in our case we did the exact same thing everyday. We would show her her treat, tell her to shake, and when she did we would give her her treat. It took a while, and we did this daily, but eventually we were able to say shake without the treat and she would shake for us. We started doing this same routine with other tricks like laying down and rolling over. This is exactly why I will remember classical conditioning in the future.

One of my friends mom's actually trained a cat to go to the bathroom in the toilet. It is so weird seeing a cat walk in to a bathroom, climb onto the toilet, and do its business. I had no idea you could even do that with a cat. She used a technique similar to classical conditioning and it clearly was very effective.

That's a great post, and so true: it's an important and applicable concept, and I'm all about learning concepts, not names (I' notoriously awful with associating names with their theories). And the comments are great too, but I have to make a clarification: when it comes to training, you're almost always going to use operant conditioning. Remember that classical is the--largely unconscious/unintentional--association of two stimuli; operant conditioning is the rewarding/punishment of behavior to exert behavioral change.

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This page contains a single entry by basn0013 published on April 30, 2012 12:26 AM.

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