To date, court with dogs in psychology behavioral experiments conspicuous by their absence. It is why, from the research group of Experimental analysis of behavior, of the Department of Psychology basic I of the Faculty of psychology at the Open University, we want to thank the Aproned canine Education Center , giving us the possibility of carrying out this study with dogs.
The performed experiment is framed within a line of investigation that we have been developing since the mid of 2011 using pigeons in the laboratories of the UNED as experimental subjects. Replicate the work with dogs is of great interest for several reasons, the most important being the possible generalization inter-species that we could get if the results are consistent with those shown by the pigeons and the possible application of new variants of positive training techniques with own dogs.
With these goals we started the experiment, entitled “Acquisition and extinction of the control discrimination depending on the variety of consequence in dogs”.
Initially we had the collaboration of 29 dogs, of which 14 were discarded after the first two previous sessions, leaving a total of 15 dogs at the start of the pilot phase.
It should be clear that we do not rule any dog because “it was bad” or “not do it well”, since the tasks were not competitive and therefore there was no possibility that some dogs were better than others. The reason for discards was simply that there were dogs that did not tolerate the experimental situation by requiring that their owners were not present. It was for this reason that we didn’t want that no animal suffered nor the least being with us and decided that it was best to not continue.
All the doggy dans online dog trainer review that were had gone through a same phase of classical conditioning in which 5 sounds were used: 4 of them became amplifiers side after being paired with the emergence of food (as well as a clicker) and the remaining sound is matched with the no-aparicion of food (M.A.R., absence of reinforcement brand).
In the next phase the dogs were divided into 2 groups: experimental group and control group. The difference between the two groups was in the pilot, to perform the required conduct (touching a target) in the presence of a green light, appeared at random one of the 4 secondary reinforces (sounds) trained previously, whereas in the control always appeared the same. Where presented light was red, and the dog made the conduct appeared M.A.R (remaining sound) in both groups, and therefore there was no food.
In this way what we wanted to study was if the variety (and not the amount) of reinforcement affects the behavior in terms of speed of acquisition and resistance to extinction, i.e., if the fact that someone is reinforced in different ways affects how quickly that you can learn something and how difficult that is then eliminate such conduct in comparison with someone who is always reinforced the same way.
The previous results obtained by our research group (UNED) with pigeons in an experiment like this show clear differences between the experimental and control groups, so that our hypothesis was that the same happen with dogs.
Unfortunately, the study with dogs had a lot of difficulties that could not control and which would make that work is elongates more than necessary, so we decided to end the study ahead of time to not to disrupt the functioning of classes that were carried out simultaneously in the canine heart.