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A lesson in Learning Theory

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centrop67
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A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by centrop67 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:26 pm

I know that these types of shares here do not generate much activity in terms of discussion, but I hope they increase the knowledge-base that this site holds.

The Science Dog (Linda P. Case) has recently posted an article (Clown Fear) in regards to comforting a stressed dog.

The common wisdom is to ignore and NOT comfort the dog in these situations.
The Science Dog wrote:There is absolutely no evidence, nada, suggesting that providing comfort and security to a distressed dog causes the dog’s anxiety or fear to increase.
...
I suspect that it has to do with confusion about the difference between an emotional response (which is under very little conscious control) and a learned (operant) response (which is under varying degrees of conscious control).
From the small study cited in the article, there's evidence to suggest that comforting a stressed dog in these scenarios is better than ignoring.
The Science Dog wrote:If we do not believe that comforting a loved one when they are distressed is the wrong thing to do (i.e. we should comfort those who we love), why would we consider this to be an appropriate approach with our dogs?
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Dutchringgirl » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:21 pm

Her angle, for me, was never a question. I knew it was not about causing the fear/anxiety to increase but reinforcing the behavior.
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:10 pm

Its 100% based on anthropology therefore I discredit it completely.... if behavior is reinforced it will become a habit therefore if you pet the dog and tell it it's ok it will eventually think this is the behavior you want in those situations and it will become a habit! You can also give the dog a correction when it displays such behavior and have the dog sit or down and correct it everytime it shows negative behavior and then with your confidence and not allowing the fearful behavior the dog will eventually see that nothing bad is happening and conquer said fear...

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centrop67
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by centrop67 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:21 pm

What she is saying is that uncontrolled, emotional behavior can NOT be reinforced, and that in stressful situations it is the emotional behavior taking over. Personally, I think it has validity.
Michael
The pack -> Radar (DS), Leela (Mal?), and Karen (Human) - Cutler Bay, FL USA
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If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. - Will Rogers

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:02 pm

centrop67 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:21 pm
What she is saying is that uncontrolled, emotional behavior can NOT be reinforced, and that in stressful situations it is the emotional behavior taking over. Personally, I think it has validity.
I wish she didnt relate it to human fear of clowns and anthropomize it so much... I agree to an extent... but proper training will always win with dogs over comforting a weak behavior... weak behaviors are not tolerated in the wild... a perfect example... alot of dogs show me their belly when learning the down command... this is a insecure behavior if ignore and repeated many times the dog learns that behavior is unacceptable and will eventually stop the habit and learn that rolling on its back isnt going to be reinforced so it stops doing it.. sometimes they do this from a learned behavior and sometimes it's because the dog is insecure and fearful... if I comforted the dog in this situation it would never stop showing that behavior

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Dutchringgirl » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:23 pm

I agree with steve. I do not agree with comforting a dog showing this behavior.
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:45 pm

Dutchringgirl wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:23 pm
I agree with steve. I do not agree with comforting a dog showing this behavior.
😁

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by centrop67 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:24 pm

I think I agree in the scenario that Steve painted, but I don't think comforting Leela during fireworks reinforces the behavior. The level of emotional response is much higher.
Michael
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:05 pm

centrop67 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:24 pm
I think I agree in the scenario that Steve painted, but I don't think comforting Leela during fireworks reinforces the behavior. The level of emotional response is much higher.
If a dog is in an emotional state we have to figure out how to get them to think and overcome the emotions and focus... when I have dogs that are afraid of fireworks I use the obedience they know very well and are confident in let's say a place command... I pull the dog out when fireworks are going off send the dog to place and release and reward eventually the dog will focus on the commands and tune out the fireworks and become much more focused and realize they fireworks mean nothing and this will deminish the fear much faster and clearer than comforting..

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by centrop67 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:50 pm

Sounds like a rational approach to the problem - I was thinking along the lines of comforting and its effect only.

Unfortunately, the first boom throws her so far over threshold, that I would struggle to get the focus to train. That doesn't mean I won't try.
Michael
The pack -> Radar (DS), Leela (Mal?), and Karen (Human) - Cutler Bay, FL USA
RIP: Tequila and Snickers
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. - Will Rogers

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:22 pm

centrop67 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:50 pm
Sounds like a rational approach to the problem - I was thinking along the lines of comforting and its effect only.

Unfortunately, the first boom throws her so far over threshold, that I would struggle to get the focus to train. That doesn't mean I won't try.
That's where force comes into play! If you have patience and reward at the proper times and use a marker or a clicker theyll overcome the pressure.... this is why I said a command the dog is clear and understands very well... I have seen clear fair obedience help over ride fear in dogs many times using this approach... it simply comes down to your job right now is place not being afraid of the fire works... the fire works dont matter if you go to place you get rewarded if you come off or show fear something unpleasant happens... how do dogs learn? From positive and negative experinces... the willingness to stay in command over rides the fear because the dog would rather not experience a negative effect... obvisouly this has to be done and built up over time amd wont fix it lesson one...

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Dutchringgirl » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:18 pm

I think here in lies the problem. the majority of the animal owners do not have well trained dogs. They roam around the house. When you have people who train, Like Steve, or others here, then we understand the concept. I do not agree that comforting the dog has nothing to do with showing them that its ok. I will not do that because I believe you have two things intertwined. Telling them its okay when they are shaking with fear will tell them its ok to be scared, i do not believe it will tell them that they should not be afraid. I do agree with Steve in doing something that will show them its okay and to work while fire works are going off or some other anxiety producing thing is going on.

Comparing dogs to humans does not work, we think different than they do, our understanding is different.
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:33 pm

Dutchringgirl wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:18 pm
I think here in lies the problem. the majority of the animal owners do not have well trained dogs. They roam around the house. When you have people who train, Like Steve, or others here, then we understand the concept. I do not agree that comforting the dog has nothing to do with showing them that its ok. I will not do that because I believe you have two things intertwined. Telling them its okay when they are shaking with fear will tell them its ok to be scared, i do not believe it will tell them that they should not be afraid. I do agree with Steve in doing something that will show them its okay and to work while fire works are going off or some other anxiety producing thing is going on.

Comparing dogs to humans does not work, we think different than they do, our understanding is different.
Agreed 100%... in the wild these behaviors would not be comforted... week behaviors in wild dogs are ignored or disciplined or that animal is left alone to die.... any positive experience we give to dogs makes them think what they are doing at that moment is what is acceptable.... therefore comforting weak behavior teaches that behavior is ok! I can tell you how many dogs learn to handle corrections after the freak out the first few times... but like lisa said and I pointed out this article is solely based on human emotion and anyone that equates that to dog behavior doesnt truley understand dog behavior

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by ladyjubilee » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:36 pm

I actually disagree. I think observations of wolf, African Wild Dog and feral dog behavior suggests a more nuance behavior than we used to understand. Its not all dominance, and Dog Eat Dog. Pack members spend more of their time interacting as "family", which includes reassurance of weaker packmates and strengthening of bonds. Yes, there are times the Alpha or Alpha pair leads by just doing and expecting to be followed. But there are also times when not just the Alphas but other pack mates offer reassurance, comfort and encouragement.

So anyway, I don't agree that in the wild the Alpha(s) or pack members would leave a packmate alone to die or in fear.
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:51 pm

That's not how darwinism works...

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by borellar15 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:29 pm

I couldn’t agree more with Steve and Lisa. You can’t compare animal behavior and human behavior. Although we’d like to think we can because sometimes it feels like we really can understand what they’re feeling or thinking because we feel such an emotional connection with our dogs, that’s just not the case. Rewarding a negative / unwanted behavior will result in making it a habit or a behavior that’s been made clear to the dog is or “okay”
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Dutchringgirl » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:17 pm

Weak animals die, strong survive, simple as that. I really do not think a fearful dog would go hug another. Plus, I really think comparing domestic animals to wild animals is like apples and oranges. The dogs we have now are all genetically engineered to be how they are now. Sadie would have died, she has double hip dysplasia ( horrible breeding ) and is afraid of everything. We humans treat dogs like humans when we should not, they do not think like us. yes, they have bonds and family, but no hug sessions.
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Steve Gossmeyer » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:05 pm

Survival of the fittest

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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by TimL_168 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:01 pm

Just to throw my two cents in, I've read and seen a fair amount of "compassion" among wild wolves, including a pack of Arctic wolves visiting and sleeping near the corpse of a pack member that died in the winter.
I've also read summaries of studies showing that dogs (at least) brains do show many similarities in brain function today correlate to our own, and what we call emotion.
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Re: A lesson in Learning Theory

Post by Dutchringgirl » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:15 pm

they do have emotion, that is not the discussion. Sadie smiles, they love to get attention etc. It is when they are showing fear and we tell them that its okay. That petting them and telling them that 'its ok" really lets them know its okay and not to be afraid , or , that it reinforces the fear response.
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