For learned helplessness to occur, the event must be both traumatic and outside the dog's control.
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Punishment which is poorly coordinated with identifiable avoidance cues or response options, such as when punishment takes place long after the event, meet the criteria of inescapable trauma. Observational learning is the learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others. This form of learning does not need reinforcement to occur; instead, a model animal is required. While the model may not be intentionally trying to instill any particular behavior, many behaviors that are observed are remembered and imitated.
There is, however, ongoing discussion about how much, and how, dogs can learn by interacting with each other and with people.
That is, the dog must pay attention to the dog or person performing the modelled behavior; retain the information gathered about the behavior during the observation; be motivated to reproduce the behavior in a time and place removed from the original; and finally, produce the behavior, or some reasonable facsimile thereof. Pups between the ages of 9—12 weeks who were permitted to observe their narcotics-detecting mothers at work generally proved more capable at learning the same skills at six months of age than control puppies the same age who were not previously allowed to watch their mothers working.
The demonstration of the detour by humans significantly improved the dogs' performance in the trials. The experiments showed that dogs are able to rely on information provided by human action when confronted with a new task. Significantly, they did not copy the exact path of the human demonstrator, but adopted the detour behavior shown by humans to reach their goal.
At 38 days of age, the demonstrator puppies took an average of seconds to succeed, while the observers succeeded in an average of 9 seconds. Dogs are capable of cognitive learning , which is distinct from conditioning methods such as operant and classical conditioning. Cognitive learning is a process wherein dogs acquire and process information, rather than develop conditioned responses to stimuli.
One example of cognitive learning in dogs is the fast mapping inferential reasoning demonstrated by Chaser  and Rico in controlled research environments. Both Rico and Chaser demonstrated the ability to infer the names of objects without conditioning and remember them indefinitely.
Strictly following the model set out in the Koehler Method of Dog Training , some 50 years later, the Koehler method continues to be taught in both class and private training formats.
The method is based in the philosophy that a dog acts on its right to choose its actions. Koehler explained that a dog's learned behavior is an act of choice based on its own learning experience. When those choices are influenced by the expectation of reward, the behavior will most likely be repeated, and when those choices are influenced by the anticipation of punishment, they will most likely cease.
Once the dog has learned that its choices result in comfort or discomfort it can be taught to make the correct decisions. Adherents believe that once the behavior has been correctly taught, it should be performed, thus making any correction, fair, reasonable, and expected. Purely positive or motivational training employs the use of rewards to reinforce good behavior, and ignores all bad behavior.
Motivational training has its roots in captive animal training, where compulsion and corrections are both difficult and dangerous, and ignoring bad behavior is not problematic as the animal lives under controlled conditions.
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As a dog training strategy, purely positive training is feasible, but difficult, as it requires time and patience to control the rewards the dog receives for behavior. Some activities such as jumping up or chasing squirrels are intrinsically rewarding, the activity is its own reward, and with some activities the environment may provide reinforcement such as when the response from dog next door encourages barking. Clicker training is a nickname given to a positive reinforcement training system based on operant conditioning.
Clicker training can also be referred to as marker training. The system uses conditioned reinforcers which are able to be delivered more quickly and more precisely than primary reinforcers such as food. The term 'clicker' comes from a small metal cricket adapted from a child's toy that the trainer uses to precisely mark the desired behavior; however, some trainers use a whistle, a word, or even a light as the conditioned reinforcer.
A common critique of clicker training is that it is prone to the overjustification effect. Electronic training involves the use of an electric shock as an aversive. Common forms are collars which can be triggered remotely, or that are triggered by barking, fencing that delivers a shock when a dog wearing a special collar crosses a buried wire, and mats that can be placed on furniture to deliver a shock.
Some aids deliver an aversive such as a spray of citronella when triggered. Supporters claim that the use of electronic devices allows training at a distance and the potential to eliminate self-rewarding behaviour, and point out that properly used, they have less risk of stress and injury than mechanical devices, such as choke chains. Opponents cite the risks of physical and psychological trauma associated with incorrect or abusive use.
In one study laboratory-bred Beagles were divided into three groups. Group A received an electric shock when the dogs touched the prey a rabbit dummy fixed to a motion device. Group H received a shock when they did not obey a previously trained recall command during hunting. Dogs in group R received the electric shock arbitrarily, i. Group A did not show a significant rise in salivary cortisol levels, while group R and group H did show a significant rise.
This led to the conclusion that animals which were able to clearly associate the electric stimulus with their action, i. In a study was published that was based on the observation of a variety of breeds trained for protection work using shock collars, which showed that although electronically trained dogs can excel as guard dogs, their behavior toward humans and work circumstances changed, often indicating heightened uncertainty and reactivity.
Lindsay says of this study, "Schilder and Van der Borg have published a report of disturbing findings regarding the short-term and long- term effects of shock used in the context of working dogs that is destined to become a source of significant controversy The absence of reduced drive or behavioral suppression with respect to critical activities associated with shock e. Although they offer no substantive evidence of trauma or harm to dogs, they provide loads of speculation, anecdotes, insinuations of gender and educational inadequacies, and derogatory comments regarding the motivation and competence of IPO trainers in its place.
Based on the principles of social learning, model-rival training uses a model, or a rival for attention, to demonstrate the desired behaviour. McKinley and Young undertook a pilot study on the applicability of a modified version of the model-rival method to the training of domestic dogs, noting that the dog's origins as a member of large and complex social groups promote observational learning.
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The model-rival training involved an interaction between the trainer, the dog, and a person acting as a model-rival, that is, a model for desired behaviour and a rival for the trainer's attention. In view of the dog, a dialogue concerning a particular toy commenced between the trainer and the model-rival. The trainer praised or scolded the model-rival depending on whether the model-rival had named the toy correctly. It was found that the performance times for completion of the task were similar for dogs trained with either operant conditioning or the model rival method.
In addition, the total training time required for task completion was comparable for both methods.
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The mirror method philosophy is that dogs instinctively learn by following the example of others in their social sphere. Core to the program is including the dog in all aspects of the owner's life and positive reinforcement of copying behaviors. Mirror method dog training relies on using a dog's natural instincts and inclinations rather than working against them.
The concepts of "pack" and "dominance" in relation to dog training originated in the s and were popularized by the Monks of New Skete in the s. The model is based on a theory that "dogs are wolves" and since wolves live in hierarchical packs where an alpha male rules over everyone else, then humans must dominate dogs in order to modify their behavior. Animal behaviorists assert that using dominance to modify a behavior can suppress the behavior without addressing the underlying cause of the problem. It can exacerbate the problem and increase the dog's fear, anxiety, and aggression. Dogs that are subjected to repeated threats may react with aggression not because they are trying to be dominant, but because they feel threatened and afraid.
Researchers have described several reasons why the dominance model is a poor choice for dog training. Derived from the theories of symbolic interactionism , relationship based training exploits the patterns of communication, interpretation and adjustment between dogs and their trainers. Building on a positive relationship between them, the method sets out to achieve results that benefit both the dog and the trainer, while at the same time enhancing and strengthening their relationship.
The basic principles include ensuring that the dog's basic needs have been met before beginning a training session, finding out what motivates the dog and using it to elicit behaviours, interpreting the dog's body language to improve communication between dog and trainer, using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behavior, training incompatible behaviors to replace unwanted behaviours, and controlling the dog's environment to limit the possibility of unwanted behaviours. Training can take as many forms as there are trainers, however a detailed study of animal trainers found common characteristics of successful methods: thoughtful interpretation of what the animal does prior to training, accurate timing and consistent communication.
Dogs have become closely associated with humans through domestication and have also become sensitive to human communicative signals. Generally, they have a lot of exposure to human speech, especially during play, and are believed to have a good ability to recognize human speech. Two studies investigated the ability of a single dog that was believed to be exceptional in its understanding of language.
Both studies revealed the potential for at least some dogs to develop an understanding of a large number of simple commands on the basis of just the sounds emitted by their owners.
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However the studies suggested that visual cues from the owner may be important for the understanding of more complex spoken commands. In considering the natural behaviours of specific breeds of dogs, it is possible to train them to perform specialised, highly useful, tasks.
For example, Labrador retrievers are the favoured breed for the detection of explosives. This is because of a combination of factors including their food drive which enables them to keep focused on a task despite noise and other distractions. Most working breeds of dogs are able to be trained to find people with their sense of smell as opposed to their sense of sight. Cocker Spaniels are able to be trained as part of a termite detection team.
Their relatively small size enables them to fit into small spaces, and their light weight allows them to walk on areas of ceiling which would be dangerous to anything heavier. The canine buddies are still side-by-side all the time, and they still enjoy going on adventures around their home state of Washington, now Zen just takes the lead a little more than before. After looking at just a few of their photos, you can see that Hoshi and Zen have a friendship that can take them anywhere.
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