Animal Training, It's Pretty Simple

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One of the concepts I will remember the most from Intro to Psychology is operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a form of learning that is controlled by the consequences of the organism's behavior. These consequences consist of either reinforcement or punishment. Reinforcement increases the target behavior, while punishment decreases the target behavior. On top of this, reinforcement and punishment can be either positive or negative. Positive refers to adding a stimulus, while negative refers to removing a stimulus.
I was intrigued by operant conditioning because of its strong influence on animal training. As an owner of two dogs, I was curious about finding ways to better train my dogs. I learned that positive reinforcement is the best methodology. The basic premise of positive reinforcement is: dog performs behavior and as a result, dog gets rewarded. When training a dog a new trick, you should reward him every time he performs the behavior. After the desired behavior is consistently occurring, you should decrease the payment of the behavior, only focusing on the dog's best behavior. Once the behavior is learned, you should reward your dog intermittently. Your dog won't know for sure when he'll get a reward so he's going to offer his best effort all the time. Once you understand the basics of operant conditioning, the better you can train your pet. For more information about dog training using operant conditioning, visit this website.


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I found this blog very interesting. I am also interested in learning how to better train animals because my mom just got a new puppy last summer. She went to some dog training classes and spent a lot of money on it and a lot of the things that she learned there are right out of the textbook on animal training. She could have saved a lot of money if she would have just taken this course first!

This information would have been super valuable if I had known it before getting my puppy a couple years ago. We would never have had to have a 'professional' train him. But you can always teach an old dog new tricks, and I can still make use of this knowledge.

I'm not really a dog person but I learned that operant conditioning also works wll with cats. Using treats to reward good behaviors works a lot better getting mad when they misbehave.

Have you trained any new tricks?

I really love dogs and this was one of my favorite things this semester. It really helps to understand how dogs as well as people learn new things. Its nice to have a dog that is well behaved because of what he learned as a puppy.

As a dog owner, I also agree that positive reinforcement is an effective way to train an animal. However, I also believe negative reinforcement can be effective. In some cases, you have to be careful to balance conditioning with morals, making sure you cause no harm to the animal. While it can be effective, I've heard of too many cases of cruelty towards the animals. This leads me to believe that both are effective and in some cases, both should be used.

Owning and training dogs made me once think back to when we owned a dog as a child, we had a naughty dog on our hands that barked, bit and chewed. We just assumed that the dog did not like us and used to get vocal with it thinking that it will stop the bad behaviour.

If only we had known the powers of positive reinforcement training at the time, we would have been able to stop all the bad behaviour that we had to put up with.

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This page contains a single entry by chan0984 published on April 29, 2012 8:32 PM.

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