Category Archives: Classical conditioning

Which Pavlov Is on Your Shoulder?

The trainer Bob Bailey is often quoted as saying that when one is training an animal, “Pavlov is on your shoulder.” He is reminding us that while we are training operant behaviors (sit, down, fetch, weave), there are also respondent … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Actually, I **Can** Get My Dogs’ Attention

I was thinking the other day about how and why I have a dream relationship with my dogs. They are cooperative. They are sweet. They are responsive and easy to live with. You know how I got there? Training and … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Classical conditioning, Dog Training, Operant conditioning, Why Use Positive Reinforcement? | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Higher-Order Conditioning: Did it Happen To My Dog?

The other day I was sitting in my bedroom with Clara and Zani and the doorbell rang. And there was dead silence.

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Posted in Behavior Science, Classical conditioning | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Are You SURE Your Dog Prefers That Food Toy?

It just occurred to me that it is super easy to make assumptions about how much our dogs prefer a particular food toy, or even whether they really enjoy them that much. Don’t yell at me. To be clear: I use … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Enrichment, Reinforcement | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Are You Really Performing Classical Counterconditioning?

What do the following training descriptions have in common? “My dog’s afraid of strangers. But when she stops barking and makes eye contact with me, I give her a treat.” “I hold her foot. Then I give her a treat … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning | 28 Comments

Introducing a Puppy and a Sound Sensitive Dog: Preparation Pays Off

Last month I posted to show how Marge Rogers introduced a friendly but possibly overenthusiastic dog to a very small puppy. But what if the challenge were a little different? What if your resident dog were both fearful of new dogs and … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Fear, Introducing dogs | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Yelling at My Dogs

The “yelling” question comes up regularly for positive reinforcement-based trainers. “Do you NEVER yell at your dogs? Of course you do! And that’s punishment, so you aren’t a ‘positive’ trainer after all. Gotcha!” Or the converse. The people who insist … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Dog Training | Tagged | 21 Comments

Dogs Get Classical Conditioning to the Vacuum

Here’s a little video I made of my dogs’ response to the vacuum cleaner. Hurray for classical conditioning! As soon as any dog comes into my home, I start pairing any potentially scary sounds of human life with great stuff. Two … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning | 3 Comments

Coping with In-Home Construction with Dogs

Life intervenes in our most careful, gradual training programs sometimes. I’ve got a dog that was born feral and a recovering reactive dog, both of whom I work with on their issues, including that I take regular lessons from a very talented … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Differential Reinforcement, Management, Sound sensitivity | Tagged | 7 Comments

See My Successes; See My Failures

I wrote in my first post that one of the things I have to offer the world is a window into my mistakes as a beginner trainer. Last week I posted an update on the smashing success of my feral dog … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Dog body language, Handling and Husbandry | Tagged , , | 18 Comments