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Operant Conditioning

Canine Behavioural Science

Operant Conditioning Quadrants & Why Dogs Do Things

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Ever wondered “why does my dog jump on guests” or “why doesn’t my dog come when called”? If you boil scientific dog training down to it’s simplest elements, there are four scenarios that determine which behaviours your dog will keep doing, and which behaviours they’ll stop. These are known as the four quadrants of operant conditioning, and this is...

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Canine Behavioural Science

How To Use Your Dog's Distractions As Rewards

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Many dog owners become frustrated with how their dog focuses on distractions rather than their humans. Rather than thinking of the things that your dog wants to get to as distractions try thinking of them as potential REINFORCERS. For example, let’s say that you have trouble getting your dog to come when called around birds, because your dog loves...

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Canine Behavioural Science

What's A Reinforcer? Why Some Dogs Won't Work For Praise

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Many people struggle with positive reinforcement training because they don’t yet understand what a “reinforcer” really is. The golden rule of dog training is “all behaviour that gets reinforced gets repeated.” Simply put, a reinforcer is anything that a dog will work to get – not just something that they like.

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Canine Behavioural Science

What Is A Clicker For?

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Have you ever wondered why trainers use those little clicking devices when working with animals? The “click” noise functions as something that trainers call a MARKER SIGNAL. A marker signal is a way of communicating with an animal to help training go as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It is a sound or visual signal that says to your dog “You...

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Obedience Training

Breed Superstitions

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Breed superstitions are very common in the dog world. You’ve probably heard many variations; certain breeds can only be trained a certain way, specific behaviours are impossible to train in specific breeds, and so on. The good news is that these superstitions just aren’t true! While breed stereotypes can be useful as a general guide for making educ...

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Obedience Training

Three Questions To Ask If Your Dog Won't Come

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

The reason that many dogs don’t come when called is a simple one – the consequences are not rewarding for them. Remember our golden rule – “all behaviour that gets rewarded gets repeated.” More often than not, we call our dogs to come either towards something they’ll find unpleasant; like giving them medication or bath time, or away from something...

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Problem Behaviours

Replacing A Bad Behaviour With A Good One

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

It is much more efficient and effective to teach your puppy how to do the thing you'd like, rather than teach them not to do the thing you don't like. For example, you could teach a dog not to jump to get attention, but what if the next attention seeking behaviour they tried was even worse? You'd have to start the training all over again to elimina...

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Canine Behavioural Science

Canine Learning Theory & Why Dogs Jump

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

The first rule of dog training is that "all behaviour that gets reinforced, gets repeated." This means that when a dog gets something that they want out of a behaviour, they are more likely to try it again in the future. A common example of this is dogs that jump up onto people. If the jumping behaviour is repeating over and over again, then that m...

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