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The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

Positive reinforcement is key to training your dog



   Do you have a new dog or are you starting to train a new puppy from Christmas celebration? Training a puppy/new dog is essential in bringing a new dog into the house. Using psychology the average person can easily train their dog within the few months you get them. 

   Over the break my family got a new ten-week-old yellow Labrador named Radar. This dog is a feisty little puppy who needs training. When getting a dog it’s always important to start training as soon as possible. We started training him the second he got home. He has already learned to sit and lay down on command.

   “Give the dog treats or preferably dog kibble because it is smaller and you can do it longer and go over commands longer” said Landen Pate, Sophomore.

   Pate explained that he doesn’t need full treats to get the idea of training.

   Ivan Pavlov was a Russian neurologist and physiologist known for discovering classical conditioning with dogs. In his study he discovered that you could shape your dog using food/treats as an award towards the response on listening or even seeing the food. 

  The unconditioned stimulus is the food before hearing the sound/seeing a specific thing. The dog starts to salivate no matter what sound plays. This is due to the dog seeing the food itself. The salivation is the unconditioned response. When a dog hears a specific sound the dog gives no response. This is because the dog isn’t conditioned towards knowing what this sound means.

  When training a dog the best way is to use positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when you reward or reinforce a type of behavior that you want to happen. When getting a dog into the position you want them to be in you would usually give them a treat. Over time the dog understands that the treat comes after his behavior. This is the conditioned response. If you add a sound or motion when doing this training from the beginning the dog will learn quickly. Over time the dog when hearing the click/sound/motion will automatically understand what is to come. 

   If you ever decide to change something or do something new to this schedule/training it could most likely cause extinction. Extinction is the gradual weakening of a conditioned response. The dog will be confused and not do what you want them to do. Sticking to a schedule of some kind will help the dog get used to something they have never done before. 

   Ivan Pavlov’s theory on classical conditioning paved the way for dog owners and trainers. Even if you didnt study psychology or didn’t even know who Pavlov was, these tips and information will help anybody train their dogs. 

   “You just repeat commands until your dog understands what command to do,” said Pate.

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Brooklyn Hairrell
Brooklyn Hairrell, Reporter

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