Studies using an operant framework have indicated that humans can influence the behavior of dogs through food, petting and voice. Food and 20–30 seconds of petting maintained operant responding in dogs. Some dogs will show a preference for petting once food is readily available, and dogs will remain in proximity to a person providing petting and show no satiation to that stimulus. Petting alone was sufficient to maintain the operant response of military dogs to voice commands, and responses to basic obedience commands in all dogs increased when only vocal praise was provided for correct responses.
Obedience classes are quite fun - for both you and your dog. The exercises are stimulating and engaging, and the clubs and training schools often have other great things to offer, such as merchandise, agility, club meetings and seminars, social BBQs, annual dog exhibitions and competitions. Whether you have had dogs your whole life, or you are new to dog ownership, there are always new skills or information you can learn concerning canine training, techniques and methods. The opportunity to talk to other dog owners and consult your trainer is invaluable and can help resolve difficulties in training or problems with your dog or your own troubles with training. The best thing about it is they all understand what you are going through (e.g. for those with puppies that don’t seem to stop chewing the house down, or for those owners who cannot seem to get their dog to stop jumping) and consequently often have excellent tips and suggestions.
Owners of some of the most aggressive dogs that I have to treat at my clinic sometimes tell me that their dog never behaves badly at home. They then confess that they never try to get the dog to do anything that the animal does not want to do. So the dog has no boundaries at all: he can do exactly what he wants, when he wants. This teaches the dog to behave without any restrictions, so that when a boundary is imposed (e.g. at the vet clinic when I want to examine the animal), the dog reacts with aggression. It’s important the the dog learns house rules, and that owners are strict about enforcing these firmly.
With extremely small and totally safe doses of different natural material (animal, mineral and herbal), one is able to stimulate the body's immune system against very specific immune body responses (such as conjunctivitis (eye infections); pain, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and other allergic responses (asthma, bronchitis, discharges); seizures; constipation; diarrhea, etc. The way this works is similar to a vaccine or anti-allergy serum injection.
Emotional contagion is linked to facial mimicry in humans and primates. Facial mimicry is an automatic response that occurs in less than 1 second in which one person involuntary mimics another person's facial expressions, forming empathy. It has also been found in dogs at play, and play sessions lasted longer when there were facial mimicry signals from one dog to another.
The critical period for socialization begins with walking and exploring the environment. Dog and wolf pups both develop the ability to see, hear and smell at 4 weeks of age. Dogs begin to explore the world around them at 4 weeks of age with these senses available to them, while wolves begin to explore at 2 weeks of age when they have the sense of smell but are functionally blind and deaf. The consequences of this is that more things are novel and frightening to wolf pups. The critical period for socialization closes with the avoidance of novelty, when the animal runs away from - rather than approaching and exploring - novel objects. For dogs this develops between 4 and 8 weeks of age. Wolves reach the end of the critical period after 6 weeks, after which it is not possible to socialize a wolf.
Learned helplessness occurs when a dog ceases to respond in a situation where it has no option to avoid a negative event. For learned helplessness to occur, the event must be both traumatic and outside the dog's control. Family dogs that are exposed to unpredictable or uncontrolled punishment are at risk of developing disturbances associated with the learned helplessness disorder. Punishment which is poorly coordinated with identifiable avoidance cues or response options, such as when punishment takes place long after the event, meet the criteria of inescapable trauma.
Barking, biting, chewing and many other common dog behavior problems are often misunderstood or mishandled by dog owners. Perhaps you are new to dog ownership, considering getting a dog, or just wish to better manage your dog. Thoroughly understanding the most common dog behavior problems is the first step to solving and preventing them. A solid foundation of obedience training will help you prevent or better control of these issues.
The training establishment is to be clean and hygienic at all times. All pens must be cleaned out at least once per day ( twice daily if inspection shows it is required) by hosing or other appropriate means, after removing all uneaten food by hand before hosing, to ensure the pen is fresh and clean. Used litter and uneaten food must be placed in sealed plastic bags for disposal.
Operant conditioning (or instrumental conditioning) is a form of learning in which an individual's behavior is modified by its consequences. Two complementary motivations drive instrumental learning: the maximization of positive outcomes and minimization of aversive ones. There are two ways in which behavior is reinforced or strengthened: positive reinforcement occurs when a behavior is strengthened by producing some desirable consequence; negative reinforcement occurs when a behavior is strengthened by avoiding some undesirable consequence. There are two ways in which behavior is decreased or weakened: negative punishment occurs when a behavior is weakened by not producing a reinforcing consequence; and positive punishment occurs when a behavior is weakened by producing a consequence that is a disincentive. In combination, these basic reinforcing and punishing contingencies provide four ways for modifying behavior. Reinforcement increases the relative probability or frequency of the behavior it follows, while punishment decreases the relative probability or frequency of the behaviour it follows.
Dogs differ from wolves and most other large canid species as they generally do not regurgitate food for their young, nor the young of other dogs in the same territory. However, this difference was not observed in all domestic dogs. Regurgitating of food by the females for the young, as well as care for the young by the males, has been observed in domestic dogs, dingos and in feral or semi-feral dogs. In one study of a group of free-ranging dogs, for the first 2 weeks immediately after parturition the lactating females were observed to be more aggressive to protect the pups. The male parents were in contact with the litters as ‘guard’ dogs for the first 6–8 weeks of the litters’ life. In absence of the mothers, they were observed to prevent the approach of strangers by vocalizations or even by physical attacks. Moreover, one male fed the litter by regurgitation showing the existence of paternal care in some free-roaming dogs
Other scientists showed similar results in a variety of species, but no one had yet applied them to domestic dogs. MacLean began considering oxytocin and vasopressin after a search of the scientific literature failed to reveal a strong candidate. Researchers proposed high testosterone levels as an aggression culprit, but neutered male dogs weren’t always less aggressive than intact ones. Researchers also found mixed results for serotonin, implicated in anxiety and depression. But the effects of oxytocin and vasopressin were similar across a wide range of animals, which gave MacLean hope.
Adopting a pet is a huge commitment, and one that requires a serious look at your lifestyle. Some things you might ask yourself are: How much time can you dedicate to your dog every day? Is your home and vehicle suited for large dog breeds or small dog breeds? Does dog shedding bother you? Do you have small children or a housemate who's allergic to dogs? And do you have the resources to properly train and support your pup? There's an endless list of things to consider when choosing a breed – just remember to avoid making a decision based on looks alone.