Conditioning A Dog

Conditioning is a simple form of learning involving the formation, strengthening, or weakening of an association between a stimulus and a response. Petrovich Pavlov was the first man to come up with the idea of conditioning. Pavlov was originally testing the secretion activity of dog’s digestion. Pavlov needed to test the salivary ducts of the dogs. He did this by conditioning. He started this experiment by ringing a bell and giving the dog food. Every time the dog heard the bell, the dog would start salivating. This is because the dog connects the bell to getting food.

There are a couple ways of conditioning a dog. The first one is to award the dog every time it does what it’s supposed to do. This might not be affective because the dog will start doing the act just to get a treat. The second way is to award the dog every time, within a time span. For example, every time the dog rings the bell 5 times then it gets a treat. The third way is to give the dog a treat whenever you feel like it. This is the best way to train a dog because they will be on their best behavior because there is a chance that they could get a treat.

Within conditioning, there is positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. Positive reinforcement is getting something because of good behavior. This is when the dog does something the owner wants them to do, like sit when told to. Negative reinforcement is the taking away of something bad to get a positive response, like a dog on a leash. Most dogs don’t enjoy being on leashes. Taking them to a dog park and having them sit before taking off the leashes might help. This could help because every time they go to the dog park and have to sit, then they know that the leash comes off. Positive punishment is the adding of something unwanted because of wrong behavior. Every time the dog barks, the owner will shock the dog (not enough hurt the dog). The punishment would be getting shocked because they are barking. Negative punishment is the taking away something because of bad behavior. If the dog has a problem jumping on people, then take away something they enjoy. It could be a treat, a bed, or a toy. The dog will learn that when they jump, something they like will get taken away. They will stop jumping on people once they learn the conditioning.

While you are training, conditioning can be put in great use. For example, training a dog to go the bathroom outside. One could hang bells on the door knob, for the dog to ring. This will show the dog that every time they ring the bell, they go outside. You would still have to give the dog a treat when they ring the bell. This will help train the dog. Training the dog to ask, to go outside is one way conditioning can be used. There are many other ways conditioning can be used to help train dogs.