As a behavior analyst, I use primarily positive reinforcement (aka reward) training. However, I will make use of all the other procedures available! Using what I have learned in graduate school and certification classes, I will apply the science of operant condition (the dog learning that his/her behavior has an affect on the environment) and classical conditioning (the dog learning rewarding and punishing associations). Every dog is different and will respond differently to different procedures. I always prefer reward / positive reinforcement, but will also educate you on how to get results with other procedures.
Therefore, I will use many procedures such as positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment and extinction.
For obedience training, I will be using using marking, shaping, luring, prompting, differential reinforcement of incompatible behaviors and various schedules of reinforcement, and visual and verbal cues.
For behavioral problems, I will be using dog pack psychology, counter conditioning and systematic desensitization. For serious behavioral issues, I will do an in depth analysis of the function of the dog's behavior and create a behavior modification plan.
Operant conditioning (also called instrumental conditioning) is a type of associative learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment. It is also a procedure that is used to bring about such learning.
Although operant and classical conditioning both involve behaviors controlled by environmental stimuli, they differ in nature. In operant conditioning, stimuli present when a behavior that is rewarded or punished, controls that behavior. For example, a child may learn to open a box to get the sweets inside, or learn to avoid touching a hot stove; in operant terms, the box and the stove are "discriminative stimuli". Operant behavior is said to be "voluntary". The responses are under the control of the organism and are operants. For example, the child may face a choice between opening the box and petting a puppy.
In contrast, classical conditioning (aka respondent conditioning) involves involuntary behavior based on the pairing of stimuli with biologically significant events. The responses are under the control of some stimulus because they are reflexes, automatically elicited by the appropriate stimuli. For example, sight of sweets may cause a child to salivate, or the sound of a door slam may signal an angry parent, causing a child to tremble. Salivation and trembling are not operants; they are not reinforced by their consequences, and they are not voluntarily "chosen".
However, both kinds of learning can affect behavior. Classically conditioned stimuli—for example, a picture of sweets on a box—might enhance operant conditioning by encouraging a child to approach and open the box. Research has shown this to be a beneficial phenomenon in cases where operant behavior is error-prone.
The study of animal learning in the 20th century was dominated by the analysis of these two sorts of learning, and they are still at the core of behavior analysis.
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My Credentials for your Consideration
2006 PETSMART ACCREDITED PET TRAINING INSTRUCTOR
2007 MASTER OF SCIENCE DEGREE, PSYCHOLOGY/APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
2012 PETCO CERTIFIED DOG TRAINER
Mon - Fri 9am - 8pm
Michael Carmona, M.S.
Mr. Carmona has a Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, and is a Certified Dog Trainer. While in graduate school, Mr. Carmona worked as a certified Senior Pet Training Instructor at Petsmart, an accredited Dog Trainer at Petco, a Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist at Heavenly Pet Resort, K9-Loft, and private contracting for many veterinarians, groomers, and boarding facilities.
As part of Mr. Carmona's graduate program at CSULA, he conducted behavior modification services to the human population. During this time, Mr. Carmona realized that many of the behavior-change techniques used by behavior analysts were universally applicable across species, as were the scientific principles on which those techniques were based. Mr. Carmona felt that these well-validated practices used to help humans exhibiting behavior problems offered a rich and robust set of procedures and solutions for dogs with behavior problems.
Learning that behavior analysis provided a humane ethic from which to understand, predict and change dog behavior, Mr. Carmona decided to devote his life to helping canine owners with behavioral problems and founded Master Dog Training. Mr. Carmona believes in teaching dog owners about their dog's natural drives and how to work with them opposed to working against them for a harmonious relationship.
The dog training profession is not regulated and a person does not even need a certification to be a dog trainer! That means Joe Shmoe who lived with dogs all his life and has self trained his own dogs can decided to make business cards and a website and can claim to be a professional dog trainer! Whoa... that's not a good thing! So how will you know if the dog trainer you choose is giving you good advice or detrimental advice? Therefore, it is important that you look at your potential dog trainer's credentials, education, experience, and reviews!
Don't let let cheap rates make you decide on a dog trainer. Don't go with a dog trainer just because they trained celebrities' dogs. Don't let methodology trends be your decision maker for a dog trainer. These traits don't necessary mean the dog trainer has the ability, knowledge, or skill to train dogs successfully!
Now-a-days people are looking for positive reinforcement only methodology. This is unfortunate because dogs are individuals in different situations and different motivations. Positive reinforcement alone may work great for most dogs, but not for other dogs or dogs with certain dangerous behaviors. If your dog likes to run out in the street and you expect to keep him on the lawn with just treats and praise, you may have a dead dog soon. Why would he not run into the street when he sees a squirl running around over there?
Let's say your positive reinforcement only trainer says to turn your back on your dog when they jump on you, not giving it any attention, just ignoring it. Well, you may be able to ignore a small toy poodle jumping on you, but a 90 lb Doberman dog jumping on your 90 year old grandmother? No way, grandma's gonna get seriously hurt.
How about if your self-trained dog trainer recommends to correct your dog when they aggressively bark at other people? That sounds like good advice, right? Well, it's not, and it is the worst advice you could be given. Dog's aggressively barking are communicating. They are essentially saying go away or I will bite you. You have just punished communication. You will most likely create a silent biter if you continue that route. No warning, just a bite!
Commonly given bad advise from poorly educated trainers: They say if the dog's tail is wagging, that is a sign of friendliness and you can stick your hand out and let the dog sniff you. What could be wrong with that? Well, it may go very well if the dog is friendly, but it may go very very bad if he is dominant or an aggressive silent biter. Studies have shown that a wagging tail does NOT mean happy dog all the time. A wagging tail means the dog is willing to engage with you. If the dog is aggressive or dominant and he is wagging his tail, he is letting you know that he is willing to get it on with you, i.e. fight. You stick your fist into his face, and you will surely get bit.
Another inaccurate piece of advice given by under educated trainers: They say do not pet or coddle your dog if he is scared. This advise comes from those that that do not understand the difference between voluntary behavior vs involuntary behavior, and operant conditioning vs classical conditioning. If they knew better, they would understand that a voluntary behavior (trembling in fear) is not reinforced by its consequences. You would actually be pairing the feared stimulus with a pleasurable stimulus establishing a new association, i.e. counter conditioning. A side note, you would not do this if the dog was acting out as in barking, jumping, growling, or any other undesirable voluntary behavior you would not wish to inadvertently reinforce. Only someone who truly understands learning theory would understand this paradigm.
The out come of bad dog trainers is usually the owners thinking that they hired a "professional dog trainer" and the dog failed, so it must be the dog - he's just a bad dog. Then they give the dog up to the shelter. If the dog is not adopted, as the shelter fills up and their number comes up, they are euthanized. That is an horrific tragedy because you put your trust in an inexperienced, under educated, non-certified dog trainer.
If you don't go with me, that is fine. I just want you to find someone qualified. Therefore, look for science based training, operant and classical conditioning knowledgeable trainers, and of course positive reinforcement as a base. Look for positive results (reviews), dog training credentials and lots of experience!