Dog-Training

The Science of Behavior, Learning, and Training

Please send me a message if you have anything to add to the lists.

I would particularly be interested if you have articles on social learning in animals because I didn’t specifically include that in my searches.

For those who don’t know, my primary interest is applied animal behavior. I’ve posted many things in the animal behavior and horse training tags on this blog.

There are a lot of circular arguments that have been going on for years about animal behavior, training, and learning, and what science really says about those things. People make entire blogs about how the theories and research are wrong without actually understanding or reading them. I’m tired of the ignorance in these arguments. So I decided to create a masterpost of links to academic research and discussions on these subjects. 

I searched on academic databases using different aspects of training and learning theory as search terms and included whatever I found that looked relevant. I also used the references of a few articles to find more. I then googled the article to see if full text were available for free. I also included a link to Classics in the History of Psychology which includes a lot of older documents (360 BC - 1964). I included 2 historical studies in the “Other” section that look at the history of operant conditioning in animal training.

Since much of these concepts are universal, I’ve included a variety of species in my searches. I specifically searched for horses, dogs, primates, birds, and (to a limited extent) humans simply because otherwise I would be searching forever.

Many of my followers are vet-track students, so you should already know there is a lot of physical overlap between species and we routinely use animals as models to test psychiatric drugs or study the physiology of the brain. Psychological overlap should therefore not be surprising.

Background information:

There is little doubt at this point that operant conditioning works both to describe learning behavior and in the application of behavioral modification. Behavioral learning theory has been established and accepted, so more recent research has moved on to the practical applications of that theory. (Do not tell me that it has no real world applications. I specifically filled these lists with resources that relate to real world applications.) Most studies and discussions nowadays look at which quadrants, rewards, aversives, and deliveries of rewards/aversives are most effective, cause the least amount of undesirable side effects, and are safest.

I should also note that positive reinforcement-based training is used almost exclusively in training zoo animals, so articles related to zoo animals have overwhelmingly to do with that quadrant of operant conditioning. 

Organized by date, where available, oldest to newest.

Full texts of studies are behind a paywall unless bolded.

ACADEMIC ARTICLES - EQUINES

ACADEMIC ARTICLES - PRIMATES

ACADEMIC ARTICLES - DOGS

ACADEMIC ARTICLES - BIRDS

ACADEMIC ARTICLES - HUMANS

ACADEMIC ARTICLES - OTHER

LECTURES, DEMONSTRATIONS, & DOCUMENTARIES

Choose your muzzle carefully!

Nylon or fabric muzzles hold a dog’s mouth shut completely, preventing the dog from biting, but also from panting, drinking, or eating. They should only be used for short periods of time while the dog is closely supervised. Situations where nylon muzzles are appropriate include being examined by a vet, nail trims, grooming, or medical treatment. Do not use nylon muzzles while the dog is exercising or walking, or for longer than about 20 minutes in nice temperatures, shorter if it’s warm or hot.

Basket muzzles are a better choice if you need to muzzle your dog on walks or for longer periods of time. Because a properly sized basket muzzle allows the dog to open their mouth, the dog is still able to pant, drink, and even accept treats.

No muzzle should be left on full-time. Remember that while a muzzled dog can’t bite, they can still scratch and “muzzle punch” - shove their nose into something or someone, hard. A muzzle punch from a large dog can cause injuries.

If you wouldn’t bring your dog into a situation without a muzzle, do not subject them to that situation just because they are muzzled unless it is unavoidable. The muzzle should be a safety net, not the first line of defense. (The exception is veterinary care and necessary grooming.)

If you’d like to train your dog to wear a muzzle, check out this guide from the ASPCA. This blog post has a great idea to help introduce a dog to a muzzle, too.

The first thing to do when meeting a new animal is nothing. DO. NOTHING. Please, fight every urge you have to chase them down and squeeze the dog/cat’s face with your own face or hands while very loudly exclaiming HOW MUCH YOU JUST FREAKIN’ LOVE CATS OR DOGS ZOMGSRSLY. Don’t be this guy. Don’t make eye contact, don’t reach out and touch, don’t get excited and lose your shit.

6 Ways to Get Your Crush’s Pet to be Obsessed With You

ESBC Week 1: “In the Box”

Welcome back to the 3rd annual ESBC (Emma & Sawyer Blog Challenge) We are so excited to do this for the 3rd year in a row! Just a little break down of how ESBC came to be. For those that know the story, skip past if you don’t care.. For those that are new, please enjoy ;) (Also, all of our conversations begin or end with Nicole asking me to send Sawyer to her)

Nicole: “Kayley, did you know January is National train your dog month?”

Kayley: “No way! We should totally do a challenge of trick for every week on the month”

Nicole: “Ohhh that’s a really good idea, I bet other people on tumblr will want to participate too!”

Kayley: “Definitely!”

Nicole: “Send Sawyer here”

Kayley: “No”

Moral of the story, we get to train our dogs and see how they progress through-out the month. It’s great bonding time with your pup and you can get helpful advice from other pet parents on tumblr!

For those who are new, you get a week (or longer if you need) to work on the trick presented.. Take photos, and videos of your progress and post them on tumblr using the tag ESBC15. Post a final video on the Sunday of the week to show the end result for that particular trick. 

On to the good stuff!

In the box” has been popping up on my Facebook feed for quite some time, and I have to say it looks extremely cool and pretty simple when broken down.

Remember start off slow and simple, don’t get frustrated with your pup if they don’t get it right away.

Videos + Blogs:

Dr Sophia Yan: Operant Conditioning (Video)

Treatpouch.com: Clicker Training (Video)

Activehound: Blog Post

Advice from Sawyer’s Mom

If you run into trouble - post or ask a question on Tumblr! If we can’t help, someone out there will know!

Tips: Remember to keep training sessions short (no longer than 15 minutes) and fun! This is play for everyone.

How You Can Show Off on Sunday:

If you have Tumblr, and are going to upload to your blog. Please use the tag: ESBC15. We have been liking and reblogging all the posts using that particular tag and will continue to do so through-out the challenge.

If you don’t have Tumblr, we will turn on Submit on Sunday so that you can post to Emma or us a link/pictures/video of your tricks. If you want you can also leave a comment on Disqus.

holy shit

i was looking through a dog blog and i found an article on “brad pattison training” and holy shit

a “facial correction” ^

how he uses the umbilical to “build respect” ^ 

another view ^

not even joking he is gonna kill a dog

article: https://dogbehaviorscience.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/what-is-brad-pattison-training/

ESBC Week 2: “Rear End Awareness”

Over the past week with our in the box trick, I noticed some pups not knowing what to do with their hind ends. 

Really, this probably should have been done for the first week. But nevertheless, still very valuable to teach your pups! 

Additionally, this will be more of a general week. There are so many different exercises you can do with your dog to increase rear end awareness. I know this is very vague, so if you get stuck please do not hesitate to shoot me a message and I can help you out as best as possible.

I will also try and find some extra games to post through-out the week.

As always, please remember start off slow and simple, don’t get frustrated with your pup if they don’t get it right away.

Videos + Blogs:

Kikopup: Backup

Backup - Clicker training with a massive Great Dane (Video)

Pivoting on a perch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEqQDw8Jo9M&feature=youtu.be

Blog post for other awareness games

Advice from Sawyer’s Mom

Use a clicker for quick rewards!

If you run into trouble - post or ask a question on Tumblr! If we can’t help, someone out there will know!

Tips: Remember to keep training sessions short (no longer than 15 minutes) and fun! This is play for everyone.

How You Can Show Off on Sunday:

If you have Tumblr, and are going to upload to your blog. Please use the tag: ESBC15. We have been liking and reblogging all the posts using that particular tag and will continue to do so through-out the challenge.

If you don’t have Tumblr, we will turn on Submit on Sunday so that you can post to Emma or us a link/pictures/video of your tricks. If you want you can also leave a comment on Disqus.

I found a really awesome YouTube channel that breaks down dog training for beginners or those that need step by step instructions (me). the guy seems to really know his stuff and also talks about why the dog makes the connection and how to move forward into the next step. he even has a video on training calming methods!!! this is the first I’ve ever seen it explained this way. I also finally understand how to teach a good heel.

anyway check him out at www.youtube.com/tab289

he has a beautiful GSD which makes it even better

Dog Problems

I do not have the most well-behaved dogs, and more than half of the canines I’ve found myself caring for enter my care precisely because they are what the general public would view as “problem animals”.

Because of this, I seem to have this strange ability to hear about issues other people are having with their own dogs, and go “I can fix that” because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to deal with super anxious dogs because Cabal’s “teenage” months were pure chaos; I know how to adapt to living with a dog that has extreme separation anxiety, high prey drive, and resource guarding issues thanks entirely to Jude. And I understand that conventional training methods may not work with rescue dogs under extreme stress because of my experience with Diamond and Shentea.

You know how I am able to handle all this? I educated myself, learned from those who knew more than I did, and changed my approach to garner the best and safest results for me and my pups. 

So what I don’t understand is people who own “problem dogs” and think they know the best solution to fix said problems, when really all they’re doing is either exasperating or enabling the issue to persist.

If your child has been “attacked without warning” by your husky while you weren’t there to supervise the incident, it’s probably best to keep your child away from your dog, because obviously, something your kid is doing is triggering your canine pal to react.

You cannot expect a dog to just sit politely on the couch while your toddler pokes it in the eyeball repeatedly; that’s not fair to the animal at all. Instead of “dominating” the dog so that it learns “who’s boss” in an effort to get it to quit attacking, try teaching your kid not to pester your dog, quit leaving the two unattended, and educate yourself about the warning signs your pup gives prior to reaching the end of his rope.

And lastly, DO NOT act like the people trying to educate you are the bad guys for telling you that your current approach it not only wrong, but blatantly dangerous to you, your child, and your canine family member. Learn from those who know more than you! Understand that there a new approaches to dog training which are far more effective and healthy than the outdated “Dominance Theory” toted by Cesar Milan and Co. 

If I can walk into an enclosure with a high-octane working-line German shepherd and a wolfdog with bad resource guarding habits to dole out raw bloody meat without having to resort to jabs, hits, “Tsst!”, or alpha rolls, then you can find a way to ease the tension between your dog and your kid without any of that bullshit, too. 

What have you accidentally taught your dog to do on cue?

 I know lots of people accidentally reinforce bad behaviors but like have you ever taught something good/neutral without meaning to? I accidentally taught Kaya “this way” on walks, which cues her to change direction, and I accidentally taught her “go out” which means “go outside the doorway that I am pointing towards”. I never reinforced these with anything other than saying “good girl” but shes really quite reliable with them!

youtube

I’ll forever love this video of Alan Titchmarsh (god bless his soul) giving Cesar Millan some home truths