Operant Conditioning Terms For Teaching Dogs

Classical and Operant Conditioning Terms For Dog Training

Classical conditioning

Reflexes: Involuntary responses that deal primarily with smooth muscles.

Fear: A state that is primarily controlled by reflexes.

Eliciting stimulus: Stimulus that precedes a respondent behavior. An example of an eliciting stimulus, is a bright light that is shined into an animal’s eyes. An example of the corresponding respondent behavior is the animal’s pupils constricting.

Respondent behavior: Respondent behavior is part of an animal’s inherited biological structure (such as a reflex), and is elicited by a preceding stimulus.

Respondent Conditioning: Respondent conditioning takes place when a stimulus that does not elicit a response (neutral stimulus) is presented at the same time or slightly before an eliciting stimulus. Respondent conditioning has occurred when a neutral stimuli becomes able to elicit the respondent.

Conditioned stimulus: When a previously neutral stimulus is able to elicit the respondent behavior, the new stimulus is called a conditioned stimulus.

Operant Behavior

Operant behavior: Voluntary behavior that operates on the environment. Operant behavior is how we teach new behaviors and how we increase the rates at which behaviors are performed.

Contingencies of reinforcement: What happens after the behavior will determine the strength of the operant behavior. The events that follow a behavior and make that behavior more probable in the future are called a reinforcer or reinforcing stimulus. Reinforcing stimuli, whether positive or negative, always make a behavior stronger and more likely to occur again.

Discriminating stimulus: Operants are preceded by discriminative stimuli that is said to control the operant behavior by setting the occasion for its reinforcement. Controlling stimuli only increases or decreases the probability that a response will occur.

labrador retriever dog trained using beharioral science

The controlling stimuli never guarantee that an operant behavior will occur. With respondent behavior, presenting the eliciting stimuli almost always gets a response.

To make a neutral stimulus into a discriminative stimulus, only reinforce the operant behavior when the neutral stimulus has been presented and do not reinforce the behavior if the neutral stimuli has not been presented.

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