Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Learning by Stimuli

All life forms react to stimuli- which is any thing. or action, that elicits a response- in one of three predictable ways. Reaction is either positive, neutral( passive ), or negative. In some situations there is no neutral situation. For example, when walking your dog and you tell him to stop, he either stops or keeps going, there is no potential for a neutral reaction. If the dog stops your reaction will be either positive (praise), or neutral you do anything. If he does not stop, your reaction will be negative you physically bring the dog to a halt. These reactions to stimuli are a vital part of the learning process. Continuing with the example, logic tells you that your dog would rather come to a halt and gain praise halt continue walking and elicit your displeasure.

" Your puppy leans by a combination of observation, hearing, reacting, memory and instinct."

If your dog keeps waling in this situation it may be because he has not grasped the notion that when you stop he is expected to stop in which case you have failed to communicate the needed response to a given stimuli. Or because he is ignoring your stopping action because something ahead is more appealing than the discomfort he associates with your displeasure. However, if you praise the dog one time for stopping, then discipline him the next time, you should not be surprised if the dog becomes totally confused. You must never react in two opposing ways to the same situation. Your reaction to an action of the puppy must always be positive or negative, never both. If this happens, you deny the puppy the opportunity to learn which action is expected of him. You become a poor teacher, and will end up with a poor pupil. There are no untrainable dogs, just lots of owners unable to train them.

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