flower-and-animals reblogged your video and added:
Could it be that the dog was conditioned to associate treats with blowing in the face, and perhaps later, the approach of a human face? Could this just be conditioning since treats were given before the dog had a chance to bite/bark?
[In reference to this video post]
This case is certainly a type of conditioning but the distinction between classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and counter conditioning is very important.
- Classical Conditioning (i.e. Pavlov’s Dogs or Little Albert)
This is a type of learning where the trainer takes a Conditioned Stimulus (CS) [e.g. bell tone] and pairs it with an Unconditioned Stimulus (US) [e.g. presentation of food], which causes the subject to automatically exhibit a Unconditioned Response (UR)[e.g. salivation].
After repeated sessions where the CS and US are paired (the bell tone precedes or overlaps with the presentation of food), the subject will exhibit the UR (salivation) when only the CS is presented… in this case the UR is now the Conditioned Response (CR).
The important thing here is that 1) the CS is neutral and would normally cause little or no reaction from the subject, 2) the US is biologically relevant to the subject, 3) the UR is a reflex response to the US, and 4) the UR is called the CR when it occurs only in the presence of the CS.
- Operant Conditioning (i.e. B.F. Skinner or +/- Reinforcement)
Operant conditioning centers around the Law of Effect in regards to Reinforcement. Essentially, “behavior which is reinforced tends to be repeated (i.e. strengthened); behavior which is not reinforced tends to die-out or be extinguished (i.e. weakened).” [x]
Skinner demonstrated positive reinforcement at work by using the creatively named Skinner Box. He would put a hungry rat in a box that had a lever in the side. As the rat moved around the box -anyone with rats knows how curious they are- the rat would eventually knock the lever. Moving the lever would cause a food pellet to immediately be dropped into the box. After a few short sessions rats would go directly to the lever and repeatedly move it in order to obtain food.
Skinner also demonstrated negative reinforcement but you can read the sources / send me an ask if you’d like to know more.
The important thing here is to remember that operant means voluntary or spontaneous. This method deals with altering the frequencies of the operant behavior based on whether the behavior is reinforced or punished.
- Counter Conditioning (change the response by changing the emotional state)
Counter conditioning is the process of getting rid of an unwanted response (e.g. aggressive behavior). BUT unlike extinction in classical conditioning, we are replacing the unwanted response with a wanted response. Here the Conditioned Stimulus (CS) [e.g. blowing on the dogs face] is presented with the Unconditioned Stimulus (US)[e.g. providing treats]. Dogs naturally are food motivated and enjoy treats, so the reflex response to this US is the Unconditioned Response (UR) [e.g. positive association with treat nomming].
The dog in the video has been previously conditioned (through abuse, neglect, or whatever) to respond aggressively to humans. Let’s call that aggression Conditioned Response-1 (CR1). By exposing the dog to a weak version of the fear/aggressive inducing CS and providing an immediate positive US, you are gradually replacing the response to the weaker stimulus (CR1) with the wanted positive response to the stronger stimulus (UR).
When successful, like at the end of the video, the dog exhibits the UR when presented with the CS, even in the absence of the US. In this case the UR (non-aggression) becomes the Conditioned Response-2 (CR2) as the dog is no longer aggressive to having his face blown on, even when he is not provided treats.
This diagram is with a baby’s fear of snakes and love of ice cream… but you get the point.
The important thing here is that counter conditioning is all about changing a negative emotional state to a positive one and that it needs to be done in phases. Desensitization to the stress-stimulus (CS) needs to be done slowly so the positive stimulus (US) is stronger and a positive association is created.
Classical Conditioning [x]
Little Albert [x, x]
Operant Conditioning [x, x]
B.F. Skinner [x]
Dr. Yin’s Animal Behavior and Medicine Videos [x]
ASPCA- Desensitization and Counter Conditioning [x]
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAIN A FEARFUL / AGGRESSIVE ANIMAL BY YOURSELF. ALWAYS SEEK THE HELP OF A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL!!!!!
Sorry for the all-caps but I really can’t stress that enough.