In this class we are going to be asking lots of questions such as:
- What do we really mean when we talk about impulse control?
- Are impulses things trainers really can control?
- Are animals, and in particular, dogs, even capable of the executive functioning required to understand delayed gratification the way humans can? Is this even a fair expectation to ask of them?
- When an animal succeeds in resisting a temptation, what is really going on behaviorally in terms of the science–not just commonly held views on how dogs should behave?
- What learning principles underlie the training protocols we often use to get impulse control?
- And, are there better ways to achieve the important goal of an animal that is safe and calm around potentially exciting stimuli like food reinforcers, squirrels, toys, etc?
In this class we will also focus on practical teaching strategies that avoid some of the frustration and emotional conflict that potentially come along with learning via negative punishment and extinction.
Some exercises /topics may include:
- How to build trust in the reinforcement process
- How to identify and meet your learner’s needs before placing contingencies on behavior
- How to teach helpful defaults for stability around exciting things
Back-chained Zen Bowl
Leave it without the “Leave it.”
Distractions as non-relevant stimuli, or the “fade in protocol” (Credit: Kay Laurence)
Stimulus control (waiting for cues, listening for cues) without extinction