The IAABC Dog Division welcomes both seasoned and aspiring professional Dog Behavior Consultants. Learn via discussion lists, guided studies, case study tutorials, mentoring, and networking. We work together to enhance the lives of dogs and their people.
Renee Premaza is a graduate With Distinction from the Companion Animal Sciences Institute (formerly Cynology College). She is the owner of The Jersey Dog Trainer and has been professionally training dogs of all breeds and ages since 2001. She is a Certified Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants – Dog Division, a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and a Professional Member of the Pet Professional Guild. Renee provides private, in-home training and specializes in working with mild to moderate aggression cases, separation anxiety, shyness and fearfulness, as well as educating and teaching new puppy owners how to raise and train their puppies in a positive and well-structured environment. She works in many towns and cities in the southern New Jersey area, including Camden County, Gloucester County and Burlington County as well as Cumberland County and some sections of Atlantic County. She frequently trains in Hammonton, Mays Landing, Cherry Hill, Deptford, Woodbury, Haddonfield, Voorhees, Maple Shade, Marlton, Medford, Mt. Laurel, Moorestown, Palmyra, Collingswood, Sewell, Mullica Hill and Tabernacle - just to mention a few. For more information about Renee, her training philosophy as well as her many articles, please visit her website, and her Facebook page.
Jack Grever founded http://www.longshotfarmsrun.com/”>Longshot Farms Canine Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Clover, SC. At his 140 acre facility, he Rehabilitates dogs and trains people to better communicate with their dogs. By employing proven dog training & psychology methods of positive reinforcement and negative punishment. Jack uses the “LIMA” philosophy—least invasive, minimally aversive methods to modify and shape behaviors in family pets and rescued shelter dogs.
Specializing in aggression cases, Jack volunteers his time and expertise at the York County Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of York, SC. Where he can use his experience taming Feral dogs in island nations and third world countries. Jack also offers himself freely to those who adopt a rescue dog to help them learn, manage and train a new shelter dog in the home.
He is featured as a spokesman for animal rights and protection in several videos for tourism and airlines. Interviewed by print and television media regarding animal welfare. Jack understands what a distressed dog needs to become the loved and trusted pet for the family. He is constantly striving to learn more advanced training methods and has studied under some of the best in the business.
Don Hanson, ACCBC, BFRAP, CDBC, CPDT-KA (member since 2005) left a 17 year career in the corporate world to move to Bangor, ME to purchase Green Acres Kennel Shop in 1995. Since then Don, his wife Paula, and their team of employees have been offering pet-friendly boarding, daycare, grooming, training classes, behavioral consultations and the sale of wholesome pet food and quality supplies to pet lovers in the greater Bangor community. Green Acres has been consistently voted the best kennel, best pet store, best dog trainer and best pet groomer in the region for several years. Green Acres offers a wide variety of group and private dog training classes as well as behavior consultations for dogs and cats. Don has been very active in the pet community, serving on the Bangor Humane Society Board of Directors from 1996-2011, including five years as its President. He was recruited to serve on the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Education Committee in 1998. This group developed the first certification exam for professional dog trainers. He was elected to serve on the APDT Board of Trustees for nine years (2002-2007, & 2011-2013) and served three years as the Board Chair (2007, 2011, & 2012).
Don has a special interest in complementary and alternative medicine and became the first Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP) in the America’s in 2003.
In 2004 Don was asked to produce and host a weekly radio show on pets, The Woof Meow Show. Today the show is heard on three stations throughout the state of Maine and is also available as a podcast and on the Apple iTunes store.
Pamela Dennison, CWRI, CDBC (member since 2004) started her own business, Positive Motivation Dog Training, in 1996. Since then she has helped thousands of dogs and handlers build their relationships and solve problems, teaches basic obedience through competition and works with a myriad of behavioral problems, including aggression. Her 4800 sf facility is in Washington, NJ. Pam is the author of five books; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Positive Dog Training, 3rd ed (soon to be re-released as You Can Train Your Dog; Mastering the Art & Science of Modern Dog Training), Bringing Light to Shadow; A Dog Trainer’s Diary, Civilizing the City Dog, How to Right a Dog Gone Wrong and Click Your Way to Rally Obedience. Pam also has five online classes The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Positive Dog Training, 3rd ed (soon to be re-released as You Can Train Your Dog; Managing the Multiple Dog Household, Parts 1 and 2 and Cleaning up Your Act; the fussy & meticulous behaviors needed for competition obedience/rally, Parts 1 and 2.
In addition, Pam has five webinars: Finding a Reputable Rescue Group, Finding a Reputable Trainer, Helping to Create a Bombproof Dog, Setting up Your Own Aggressive Dog Classes and Tight Leash Pulling (aka Loose Leash Walking).
Pam is the author of three DVDs; Training the Whistle Recall (winner of a Maxwell for Best Training DVD) (and offers a curriculum and Certification for trainers), The Magic of Shaping; Explore the Possibilities and her NEWEST DVD: The R.E.W.A.R.D. Zone for aggressive & reactive dogs.
Pam presents seminars in the US and abroad on a myriad of topics.
As a kid growing up, I had my favorite holidays. In my opinion, Christmas always had the top spot and Halloween came in a close second! As we approach Halloween, I am noticing a growing number of pet dog owners are not looking at this time of year with the same sentimental nostalgia that I have. Actually, some owners refer to Halloween as “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.
Here’s the good news: More and more people are asking for advice to help them understand why their dog exhibits unusual behaviors on Halloween and what they can do to make this evening a safe and less stressful time for everyone. Let’s begin by taking a look at Halloween from a canines perspective:
“Dinner time is over and my tummy is full. I know what happens next, we all go for a long walk. When we return, I chew on a bone, take a nap, go outside and then off to bed. Life is very predictable at this time of day.
Ding Dong! Better check out the front door. There is a stranger with a scary face and big hair in the hallway of my house. Not too comfortable with this stranger.GRR!
Will you look at this! My owners just put a big bowl of treats right by the front door - I’m sure they are just for me.
DING DONG! I wonder who’s on the other side of the front door. I really can’t see everything but I do know there is lots of shouting and from what I can see my owner keeps reaching his hand towards something unfamiliar and scary. Not too comfortable with all this activity at the front door.GRRR!
Will this ever be over?DING DONG! GRRRR!I can’t take it any more. I know how to stop this. Next time the doorbell rings, I’m not even going to wait and see who is on the other side. I’m going to growl, bark and scare them away. No one is getting past me.
It’s quiet now, but tomorrow if I hear DING DONG…at least I’ve learned how to make all that scary “stuff” go away.”
Although the above scenario may seem exaggerated, the concepts are not. Dogs love consistency and sometime disruptions in routines may cause stress. Dogs who do not seem comfortable with guests arriving at their home may become overly reactive when many guests arrive in costume on Halloween night. Dogs can make an association that when they are reactive, everything big and scary will go away. So what can we do as pet dog owners to help relieve some of the stress our dogs may experience on Halloween night?
Take your dog for a walk before the festivities begin. If you typically walk your dog in the evening try to get a walk in before the “trick or treaters” arrive. This walk will assist in keeping your routine as close to normal as possible and help to tire your dog out. Many times if a dog is tired they sometimes become less reactive to environmental stimuli.
Keep candy out of reach. Chocolate in candy is probably the number one Halloween hazard for dogs. According to Web MD - Chocolate can sicken and even kill dogs, and is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning, When placing the candy bowl near the front door, make sure it is inaccessible to your dog.
Watch for signs of stress. If your dog shows any signs of stress place him a separate room or in his crate (away from all the Halloween commotion). Offer your dog a new toy or bone, play soothing music or fill a “KONG” product with a tasty treat. Note: Sometimes freezing the contents of the “KONG” will make it even more enticing. Some owners will sit on their front porch to hand out the candy and turn out the light when they are done - this eliminates the stressful “Ding Dong - Trick or Treat”!!
Keep your dog safe at the front door. If you want your dog to greet guests there is a possibility that he might run out the front door and not want to return because it’s much more exciting outside. Consider keeping your dog on-leash, place a gate in the front door or take the top screen/window out of your screen door to eliminate the possibility of this happening. However, just in case he does get out - make sure he is wearing current identification information.
Bottom-Line: Halloween for some dogs (and their owners) can be extremely difficult. Be aware of any signs that indicates your dog is becoming over-stimulated and always take the necessary steps to keep him safe and stress-free all night long.
Several years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote a book entitled. “All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. In his book, he speaks about how people can live a meaningful life by learning from experiences that occur while attending kindergarten. Share everything. Play fair. Don't take things that aren't yours. Don't hit people. If I was going to write a similar book (from a dog’s perspective), it might be titled: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in my Whelping Box. Some of my thoughts would be similar to Robert Fulgham’s, however “Don't hit people” would most likely be changed to “Don’t bite people”.
While in the whelping box, puppies begin to learn about limitations and boundaries from their mom and littermates. How to play appropriately with other dogs. How to send and receive appropriate canine social signals. How to use their teeth and mouth appropriately when engaging in play. Each one of these experiences will be part of a pup’s behavioral foundation for the rest of their life. So, how can we help our puppies and young dogs learn about children, using previous experiences they may have encountered while living in the whelping box with their mom and littermates?
Children are not puppies with two legs.
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to grab the remote control on Super Bowl Sunday and watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, you know that puppies engaging in unleashed play are close to the same height, project lots of energy, impulsive and may (at times) forget to be gentle when interacting with another dog. Many of these traits can also be observed when watching small children engage in free-play. Maybe that is why some puppies may view young children as a “buddy” on two legs.
However, your pup no longer has his mom and littermates to correct him, so it becomes the role of the adults (living in the home) to continue this role. Here is what you can do; Control the level of energy that occurs between your pup and child and try to keep their interactions positive and fun. “Mom, he’s biting me again!”...is not fun!!
When energy levels begin to rise and before interactions are no longer positive or fun, stop the play and redirect your pup with his favorite toy or perhaps ask him to perform a learned cue. This tactic will diffuse the energy and redirect your pup’s attention onto something else. It teaches your pup alternative and incompatible behaviors for those times when he needs to burn off a little steam and goes looking for the nearest child.
Children are not chew toys:
Puppies and maybe even most dogs love to chew. Chew on marrow bones, fancy chew toys from pet stores, furniture, shoes, books ...oh my, the list can become quite long!! But now let’s add movement from a young child into the equation. You can just see the pup thinking, “Oh boy! I’ve just been reunited with my littermates…I know I will be corrected when I’ve gone too far, but for now let the games begin!” Off your pup goes to chase, play and nip at your child. Puppies and young dogs sometimes don’t understand that showing good “bite inhibition” - playing with a “soft mouth” makes us humans VERY happy!
Young pups may occasionally bite a littermate to hard when interacting with each other in their whelping box. The recipient of the bite typically will let out a sudden and sharp "yelp" in response to their discomfort. The game suddenly ends and all interactions cease. We can also use those same techniques, when teaching a pup that children/humans are not chew toys. Over time your dog will realize that when he uses a soft mouth, the fun continues, but when he nips too hard…game over!
Final Note: Pups begin to learn the rules of appropriate canine interactions from the residents they shared a space with while in the whelping box. Now that those pups are living in our space, we become the residents who need to teach them the rules of appropriate human/canine interaction, especially when it comes to our children.
Dogs are peaceful animals. They are "hard-wired" to avoid or reduce conflicts. Next time you go to the dog park watch how the canines interact. Many times, if you see two dogs are not playing so nicely, a third dog will enter the situation essentially acting as a mediator in an attempt to "split" any potential conflict.
The dog park is not the only place for conflict; many times certain behaviors that our dogs present within the home can become a source of tension. What is interesting, is that our dogs (and humans) just want to co-habitate peacefully. So here are the top five conflict causing behaviors, offered by my canine friends as New Year Resolutions, plus some tips on how you can mediate to achieve success all year long.
I will not use the home as my toilet. In a study conducted by the National Council of Pet Populations, house training issues was one of the top ten reasons why owners surrendered their dog. I'm a firm believer of the following: If your dog hasn't earned his wings, he cannot roam the cabin. Essentially this means, if you know your dog has house training issues, his activities when with you in the home need to be supervised and his space needs to be managed when left alone. Developing scheduled feeding times and consistently taking your dog outside will assist in speeding up the house-training process. If you find an accident in your home and did not see it happen - just clean it up (Nature's Miracle works great!!). Yelling and screaming at your dog after the fact will only teach your dog to fear you.
I will not chew on items that I shouldn't. Chewing on items may have several origins. One being that your dog was given to much unsupervised freedom and developed habits because no one was there to teach him. It could also be the result of boredom. Keep your dog's environment enriched with toys which are designed to keep them entertained. Stuffing interactive toys with treats or even a frozen mixture of kibble and wet food is a great way to keep your dog's attention off of the remote. As simple as this sounds, if there are one or two objects that your dog really loves to chew, dog proof your home by removing access to those highly motivating items.
I will keep "four on the floor" when greeting guests. Typically, this behavior is the result of one of two situations. First, many owners think it's cute to have their new dog jump on them and actually encourage jumping as part of the human greeting ritual. These same owners soon realize what is cute in the beginning can turn into a nightmare as your dog gets older and bigger. Secondly, many dogs are not taught was is considered appropriate when meeting a human. One way to help your dog keep "four on the floor" is to teach him behaviors incompatible with jumping. Teaching your dog a solid sit/wait in different environments and with different levels of distractions are two cues that can be used to help your dog learn how to greet humans appropriately.
I will come back when called. This is a tricky one. Teaching your dog to come back to you, or "recall", is a skill that requires dedication from owners and lots of patience. When beginning to teach this skill do not expect your dog to come back if he is engaged in a higher motivating activity. Here are some general tips when teaching recall. High pitched short staccato sounds will pique your dog's interest. Crouching down or running away typically will get your dog to follow you. The most important tip for teaching your dog a successful recall is to never chase him - unless safety becomes an issue. Chasing your dog quickly becomes a game and your dog learns that when he is called it's "game on"...time to run in the opposite direction.
I will not dig up the yard. When beginning to address digging, it's important to look at potential motivators for the behavior. Here are some of the more common reasons as to why dogs may dig:
Boredom - It could be that your dog is bored and digging offers an opportunity for mental and physical stimulation
Curious - Maybe a smell has caught their attention and they are just investigating.
Attentional - Maybe your dog likes the attention he gets from you when caught digging up the garden.
Instinctual - I find - I dig - I bury. What more needs to be said?
Temperature - What can be better on a hot day than a fresh hole and cool dirt?
Determining your dog's motivation is the first step in changing the behavior.
Bottom Line: No matter how much our dogs try to avoid conflict, they will never have that "Ah-Ha" moment and change their behavior without our intervention. Thus, the responsibility is ours to teach them what is appropriate in order to "keep the peace" when living in a human world.
This New Year’s, Resolve to Solve: Keep Dogs Out of Shelters
Dear Inquisitive Dog Parents,
The new year is officially here. For many, this means creating lists of resolutions with intentions of modifying one’s behavior. In honor of this tradition, my sidekick, Poncho, and I have decided to join in, talking about resolutions to help dogs stay in their homes and out of animal shelters. We encourage you to team up with us and add the dogs of your community — whether your own or someone else’s — to your list of personal achievements.
Solutions Start with Preparation
According to a study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) on Reasons for Relinquishment of Companion Animals in U.S. Animal Shelters, the top reasons dogs are sent to shelters have to do with living situations, cost, time, owners having personal problems and behavioral concerns of the dogs themselves. As a certified professional dog trainer, I can attest to this, as I commonly hear similar complaints. As for Poncho, he used to live in a shelter, so he knows firsthand the reasons he and his buddies landed there. Together, he and I have compiled the following tips to help dog lovers everywhere do what they can to reduce the shelter dog population:
Location, Location, Location: According to the study, 17 percent of dogs were relinquished to shelters due to moving, landlords not allowing pets and “inadequate facilities.” We realize it’s difficult to foresee the future, but these numbers indicate that people need to investigate before they bring a dog into their homes. If you’re a homeowner, it’s best to match the home layout with the dog’s personality and temperament. Consider age and energy level vs. size or breed. If you rent, know the current policies where you live. As for moving, determine if you can bring your dog to the new location. If not, have a back-up plan. Make arrangements with a friend or family member to house your dog, even if it’s just temporary, until you can find a place that allows canine residents.
Basic Training: The ability to be a dog parent is a luxury and an honor. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that putting canine needs ahead of your own is necessary for developing a healthy and happy dog, both physically and mentally. Many behavioral issues that lead owners to relinquish dogs to shelters in the first place can be prevented through management and the use of simple training steps. Even a few minutes a day can buy years of being problem free. The Out of the Box Dog Training Game I developed is designed for busy dog parents who have mere minutes a day to teach the skills and behaviors they want to see from their dogs.
It’s All About the Budget: Fortunately, the needs of our domestic dogs are, for the most part, pretty minimal. Water, food, shelter, an old tennis ball or stick, our attention and belly rubs are usually all they’ll ever really want. However, because of some laws, and the fact that we enjoy spoiling them and want to keep them around for as long as possible, health care, licensing, collars, leashes and all the extra goodies we want to provide tend to add up -
especially health care. Determine if the expenses calculated over the lifetime of your dog is something you can afford. For those on a tighter budget, check your local area for low-cost health care options. Fostering a shelter dog is
another option to fulfill your Fido fix while keeping your list of financial responsibilities to a minimum
And Puppy Makes 3 ... or 4 ... or More: Adding another dog to the list of household pets can often lead to unforeseen circumstances, even resulting in sending him or her to a shelter about 4 percent, according to the study either because siblings don’t get along, you find out there really isn’t enough space or there were policies that went overlooked. Again, we encourage you to ask around and plan ahead.
Ain’t Misbehavin’: A higher percentage of dogs turned in to a shelter are young, energetic and lacking in basic manners. Therefore, at the top of any pet parent’s list of responsibilities should be to help teach the dog the behaviors they want and to try to resolve any issues they’re experiencing. Attending a dog training class, joining a dog group and/or working with a certified trainer or veterinary behaviorist can help you achieve success in your overall behavior goals.
An Ounce of Prevention
Pet overpopulation resulting in crowded shelters is a great concern in our community, and around the world. In the U.S. alone, millions (yes, millions) of dogs and cats are euthanized every year. But we can do something about it! Poncho and I say, “Resolve to solve.” Take the necessary steps to ensure you’re being a responsible dog parent — or dog-loving friend — by being inquisitive, planning ahead and taking care of your dog’s physical, mental and emotional needs. This way, dogs get to stay in loving homes and out of shelters.
Happy New Year!
On behalf of Poncho, myself and the Inquisitive Canine team, we wish you and your family a joyous and pawsitively reinforcing 2013. Your readership is always cherished and appreciated, and we thank you for continuing to be with us as we venture into the new year. And hey, we’re big fans of holiday photos — we invite you to join our Facebook community so you can share photos and all things dogs with us!
Dear Inquisitive Canine is written by Joan Mayer and her trusty sidekick Poncho. Joan is a certified professional dog trainer and human-canine relationship coach. Poncho is a ten-pound mutt that knows a lot about human and canine behavior. Their column is known for its simple common sense approach to dog training and behavior, as well as its entertaining insight into implementing proven techniques that reward both owner and dog.
If I arrive at a friend’s home dressed well, and they haven’t trained their dog to keep from jumping, what should I say to keep the peace, while keeping my clothes in one piece as well?
Allow me and Poncho to commend you on taking such a proactive approach to helping your friend’s dog develop good canine manners, including helping them train their dog to not jump on guests! As a certified professional dog trainer I appreciate when folks like yourself take the initiative to help pet dogs learn proper social skills. And Poncho, being a canine that enjoys socializing with many humans, is delighted to show off the “greeting politely” skills he’s learned in our inquisitive canine dog training classes.
Poncho and I both agree that your question “What should I say?” is a great way to begin the training process: you’re opening your friend’s eyes to their dog’s behavior, while enlisting them in taking part of the decision making. They
might want to follow the same steps as this Dear Inquisitive Canine reader who was having “jumping-to-greet” problems at home with her own dog.
Although using your voice is ideal, we recommend you also use non-verbal communication to help teach your friend’s dog to greet politely. In other words, allow your body language to “do the talking” for you. This way, if you prefer not to confront your friends (humans can be touchy about these things), or you don’t have time to discuss it, or the situation doesn’t allow for it, you’ll still be able to teach your friend’s dog how to greet politely. We know, it’s kind of passive, but it’s simple, effective, and fun! Plus, your friend will probably want to have you over more often!
Whether your friend requests something specific or not, you can still use the following steps as your back-up plan to help their dog greet you politely:
Reward what you want: Reward the dog only if he or she is sitting, lying down, or at the very least has four paws on the floor when greeting you! That’s it! The owner gives petting, praise, and food treats for sitting/lying down, etc. Then the final reward is you saying hello! Either a scratch under the chin, a food treat, or a “Good dog!” from afar.
Ignore unwanted behavior: And we mean ignore! If the dog gets up and begins to launch him or herself to greet you, then you retreat (or turn away) and ignore this inconsequential behavior! Zero eye-contact and zero pushing or yelling. You can even walk out if you have to. Remember, attention is still attention!
Practice! Either actively set up sessions with your friends and their dog when you’re wearing your casual clothes, or passively set up practice sessions by arranging to stop by and say *hi*.
Providing some situational awareness to your friends, along with a little practice should help set everyone up for success! As the saying goes, “It takes a village.” On behalf of myself and Poncho, we thank you for being part of our “village” and taking the time to help dogs become better accustomed to our human environment.
Dear Inquisitive Canine is written by Joan Mayer and her trusty sidekick, Poncho the dog. Joan is a certified professional dog trainer and dog behavior coach. Poncho is a 10-pound mutt who knows a lot about canine and human behavior. Their column is known for its simple, commonsense approach to dog training and behavior, as well as its entertaining insight into implementing proven techniques that reward both owner and dog.
Social learning theory and animals: Does observational/imitation learning have a place in training or behavior in animals?
In human psychology, Albert Bandura, a self-described social-cognitive psychologist developed Social Learning Theory in the 1970’s (Bandura,1977). Bandura’s Social Learning Theory was rooted in Learning Theory but added the social element. Social Learning Theory added that learning and new behaviors can occur through modeling, or, watching other people. Can, or does, the same happen with animals? Do animals learn new behaviors by simply watching other animals? The research on this is complicated at this point and seems to have become muddled in the mechanisms involved and whether or not the behavior needs to be goal-directed. So, for now, we will need to “sort of” leave the research findings where they are at, at least to me: inconclusive.
Bandura’s famous experiment in 1961 was the “Bobo Doll” study (Bandura,1961). Simply, in this study, he showed some children a film of a woman punching a Bobo Doll (these are those inflatable clowns with sand in the bottom) and yelling at it. He did not show this film to another group of children. He then had the children who saw the film play in a room with a Bobo Doll. Some of the children went up to the doll and started punching it and yelling at it. The group that did not see the film…none of the children did this. So the children imitated the aggression of the woman on the doll without any reinforcement. So why did the children punch and yell at the doll? Social Learning Theory says they learned this behavior purely through observation and imitation.
Social learning theory in animals postulates that animals can learn by observation of, or interaction with, another animal (especially of the same species) or its actions (Box, 1984; Galef, 1988).
In learning theory, there are basically three types of experiences that can elicit novel behavior (Rescorla, 1988): (1) stimulus (verbal command, leash taut, moving away, etc.); (2) stimulus-stimulus (a click is paired with a treat, a verbal command is paired with a treat, lights on is paired with feeding, etc); and (3) response-reinforcement (the learner pushes on the dog door and gains entry into the house, the rat presses a lever and receives food, the learner puts up one paw and receives a treat, etc.).
From these three basic types, the last one, response-reinforcement is where social learning is most reasonably a subset of learning. However, unlike our examples above, it is the demonstrator, not the learner, who makes the response that is learned. This effect of exposure to observing a response-reinforcement relationship then producing novel, somewhat matching behavior by the observer is social learning and I believe we should think about using it in our training of our own pets and of clients’ pets.
Personally, I can anecdotally cite many instances where it appears that an animal can and does learn by imitation.
One dog is taught to use a pet door by giving encouragement and treats to go through the door. A new dog is introduced to the environment and learns to use the dog door after watching the experienced dog.
A dog is afraid to swim. You bring a water-loving-retrieving-loving dog that bounds in and out of the water swimming and soon the other dog is swimming as well.
You have a nervous barking dog. You know you did not elicit the behavior as you have had many dogs before and they have never been like this. You get a new puppy that comes from a good breeder. You meet all the dogs at the breeders…you may even KNOW these dogs and you have noted they are all confident, non-barkers. Your new puppy becomes a barker and nervous after just a few weeks.
You tie two dogs together. One is a confident dog when going for walks. The other is fearful and unsure when going for walks. After a few days, the unsure dog is exhibiting confidence on the walks as well. After several times, you leave the original confident dog at home and just take the unsure dog and he is now confident as well.
You have a new colt and he is about ready to go for a ride off the property. You ride an experienced and confident horse while you “pony” (just hold the lead rope and take the new colt with for the ride…riderless) the new colt several times.
At least at face value (face validity/anecdotally) social learning does occur with animals and, as a subset of learning theory, it seems that we can and should use it in developing new behaviors or changing unwanted behaviors.
Box, H. 0. (1984). Primate Behavior and Social Ecology. Chapman & Hall, London.
Bandura, A., Ross, D. & Ross, S.A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-82.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.
Galef, B .G. (1988). Imitation in animals: history, definition and interpretation of data from the psychological laboratory. In Social Learning: Psychological and Biological Perspectives (ed. T. R. Zentall and B. G. Galef), pp. 3-28. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.
Heyes, C. M. (1994) Social learning in animals: Categories and mechanisms. Biological Review, 69, 207-231.
Rescorla, A. (1988).Behavioral studies of Pavlovian conditioning. Annual Review of Neuroscience XI, 329-352.
Cheryl Aguiar, Ph.D. was trained in Social and Industrial/Organization Psychology. She received her Ph.D. at Colorado State University (CSU). Cheryl Directed an on-campus Institute at CSU for over a decade. While at CSU, she also was the successful recipient of over 3 million dollars in research and program grants, taught courses, served on student committees and published findings from her own research projects along with those of her students. She has been a dog trainer since 1974. Mainly she trains her own dogs in various performance or working roles such as Tracking, Obedience, Schutzhund and hunting trials. She also served in the 1980’s to 1990’s as Training Director for several years in a Schutzhund Club in the Twin Cities and more recently as Training Director in the local NAVHDA chapter. She is now the President of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA). Cheryl has successfully titled dogs in AKC obedience, AKC tracking, AKC conformation, Schutzhund and NAVHDA. Since 2005, she pursued her true loves: education and dogs and founded E-Training for Dogs, the first online webinar entity for dog lovers.
IAABC Supporting Member
Cheryl Aguiar, Ph.D.
President, E-Training for Dogs, Inc
Online Dog Training Courses-We Bring the Seminar to You!