Dog training. Learning to properly educate a dog

March 6, 2023
Dog Training
Dog training. Learning to properly educate a dog

Approximate, defensive, food and sexual reactions-reflexes in different dogs are manifested differently and depend on heredity, the physiological state of the organism, as well as the influence of the environment (including education).

Studies have shown that the defensive reaction is inherited to a certain extent. However, the form of its manifestation (active or passive) depends on the environment, in particular on education. It has been established that puppies raised in isolation, in contrast to puppies raised in freedom, in the presence of various environmental stimuli, show characteristic cowardice. It becomes clear what a great importance for the subsequent behavior of an adult dog is the education of puppies. The manifestation of complex reactions-reflexes also depends on the general physiological state of the dog (hunger, estrus, illness, etc.). For example, in each hungry dog, the food reaction is more pronounced than in a well-fed one; in a pregnant female, in the presence of puppies, the defensive reaction very often manifests itself in an active form, even if this dog was previously passive. In this case, the active-defensive reaction is aimed at protecting the offspring and is of great vital importance.

The reaction that manifests itself in the dog in the strongest degree is called the predominant one. Constant, strongly pronounced predominant reactions are of great importance for dog training; the possibility of using the dog in various services and the choice of the direction of a special training course depend on them.

A dog with a strongly pronounced active-defensive reaction (malice) is best used in guard duty. If a dog’s food reaction predominates, which is usually accompanied by gullibility towards people who give it food, then it is advisable to use it for communications, detective, sanitary, etc.

In addition to a food and defensive reaction, an approximate or sexual reaction may temporarily prevail. In the case of a predominance of an approximate reaction, the dog is inspected, listens, as if looking for something, the slightest noise leads it out of a state of rest. The sexual reaction usually prevails in male, if there is an empty bitch Heel.

An indicative reaction should be well expressed in each dog designed for official use, but its sharp manifestation is undesirable, since it distracts the dog during training. A severe sexual reaction also negatively affects training.

Types of conditioned reflexes

With the help of conditioned reflexes, individual behavior is formed in animals, which provides a more perfect adaptation of the body to environmental conditions. The process of training the dog, its physiological essence, is the development of individual behavior on the basis of unconditional reflexes. Training is the development of persistent conditional reflexes in the dog to perform certain actions according to the trainer’s signals.

Conditional reflexes are acquired in the process of the life of the animal, they are strictly individual and manifest only in dogs in which these reflexes were developed. For example, only the dog will be to look for food in a certain place, which has developed a corresponding conditional reflex. Conditional reflexes can disappear (fading) in cases where their value for the animal is lost (if you stop giving the dog a delicacy when approaching the commanded by the command “Come / Come here! ”, The dog will gradually cease to perform this action).

Conditional reflexes in nature are temporary, they disappear if the conditions under which they appeared. Conditional reflexes are produced on the basis of unconditional or other conditional reflexes. It was experimentally established that the body of conditioned reflexes is the crust of the brain. When it is removed, conditionally reflex activity is sharply disturbed, many complex conditioned reflexes disappear.

Each reflex is associated with other reflexes. In general, the response of the body on the stimulus proceeds quite difficult. However, the mechanism for the formation of conditioned reflexes is always reduced to the closure of the connections between the foci of excitation in the cortex of the large hemispheres of the brain.

There are several types of conditioned reflexes. Conditioned reflexes that are formed in response to the natural signs of an unconditioned stimulus are called natural. Like other conditioned reflexes, natural ones are developed through individual experience. They are produced from generation to generation, so they are formed quite quickly and are held very firmly. An example of a natural conditioned reflex is the reaction of salivation to the sight and smell of food. When ingested, food causes an unconditioned salivation reflex. But if salivation is caused by the sight and smell of food, then this is already a conditioned natural reflex.

Artificial are called such conditioned reflexes, which are formed when the action of two completely different stimuli is combined. An example of artificial reflexes are reflexes developed to a command that is reinforced by food or mechanical actionch reflexes are developed rather complicatedly and require a large number of combinations of the action of two stimuli. In addition, they are less stable than natural reflexes.

If, during the development of conditioned reflexes, the action of two stimuli occurs almost simultaneously, this leads to the formation of a coinciding conditioned reflex. On the contrary, if one stimulus acts for a certain time, and the other is connected at the end of the first one, then a delayed conditioned reflex is formed. Finally, if the effect of one stimulus ceased, and the effect of another began after some time, a trace conditioned reflex is developed.

It must be remembered that a conditioned reflex is almost never developed to a single stimulus, since under natural conditions, as a rule, a complex of stimuli acts on the body. When training, the complex stimuli for the dog are the trainer, as well as the environment in which the classes take place. Thus, in the process of training, the dog develops reflexes to complex stimuli.

The conditioned reflex has a so-called closing reflex arc. In order to understand this, it is necessary to become familiar with the mechanism of the formation of conditioned reflexes.

The mechanism of formation of conditioned reflexes

Conditional reflexes are produced only under certain conditions, hence their name. The main condition is the coincidence of the action of two stimuli in time, one of which is an unconditional, causing a certain unconditional reflex (for example, the release of saliva), and the other – any irritant that does not have any meaning for this unconditional reflex (for example, a sound or light irritant). The mechanism of the formation of a conditional reflex is as follows.

If before feeding or at the same time call the bell (call), placed near the dog, a certain phenomenon occurs. Once in the oral cavity, food causes irritation, which is transmitted from the tongue through the sensitive nerve to the food center of the unconditional reflex located in the medulla oblongata. A focus of excitation occurs in the food center, from it irritation is transmitted to the salivary gland, which begins to secrete saliva. This will be the path of the “conductor” reflex arc of an unconditional reflex. At the same time, irritation from the oblong brain will enter the food center of the cortex of large hemispheres, where the focus of excitement will also occur. Since the sound stimulus (ringing of the bell) will affect the dog or at the same time in this process in the auditory center located in the temporal part of the cerebral cortex, an excitement will occur. Consequently, three foci of excitation will simultaneously exist in the brain of the dog, between which a certain nervous connection (closing) will be established. On the basis of this connection, a close conditioned reflex is formed. After the formation of a reflex arc of a conditioned reflex, it is enough to influence the dog with only one sound irritation.

Having reached the auditory center, irritation will enter the food cortical center, and from it – to the food center of the oblong brain. From here it is transmitted via the motor-regulatory nerve to the salivary gland, and salivation will be caused in the absence of an unconditional stimulus. Therefore, as a result of the production of a conditional reflex to some irritant, it acquires the value of a signal associated with the manifestation of a certain reaction. Thanks to this, the body is prepared in advance for eating and its adaptability to the environment increases.

The conditioned stimulus is a trigger signal based on the available memory traces of the achievement of the final result. Memorable traces of excitations turn into the active principle of motor actions that determine purposeful behavior. All this takes place against the background of appropriate motivation and emotional excitement. Motivation – the cause of action (food, sexual, defensive motivation, etc.) – is carried out on the basis of hereditarily fixed and experience-acquired actions.

Every motivation is emotionally colored. Conditioned reflexes that have arisen on the basis of strong negative emotions do not fade away for a long time and can persist throughout life. When certain emotions are experienced, information is encoded in long-term memory through molecular changes in the brain. Thus, not a single emotional experience passes without a trace. Therefore, the basis of learning, training are emotional experiences.

According to this scheme, conditioned reflexes to any stimulus are developed; the same principle underlies the training of a dog to perform any action on command or gesture in the process of training. For example, in order to teach a dog to sit down on the command “Sit! “, you need to develop a conditioned reflex to this command. To do this, it is necessary to use such an unconditioned stimulus that would cause the unconditioned landing reflex in the dog. For this purpose, two main methods of influencing the dog are used in training.

Types of irritants

Various environmental conditions affect the dog’s body primarily as irritants, changing the behavior of the dog.

The action of conditioned stimuli can affect both the external behavior and the state of the dog’s body, its internal organs. For example, having heard the command “Face! ”, The dog becomes excited, the heart and muscles work more intensively.

Dog behavior is greatly influenced by internal stimuli. So, in a hungry dog, food search reflexes are activated, etc.

Extremely strong or unfamiliar stimuli new to the dog cause a change in its behavior and distract from work on the signals of the trainerch stimuli are called distractions. When they appear, inhibition occurs as a result of a stronger reflex.

It is necessary to teach the dog to respond correctly to external distracting stimuli – cats, birds, vehicles. The dog reacts to such stimuli the less, the better her skills are developed.

We must not forget about internal distracting stimuli (unpleasant sensations as a result of illness, fatigue, overflow of the rectum or bladder, etc.)ch irritants cause unnecessary braking and always interfere with the normal work of the dog.

When training, the dog is acted using the following external stimuli: 1) sound (whistle, verbal command, the sound of a shot); 2) mechanical (hand pressure, jerk with a leash, a bunker with a rod); 3) food (bread, meat, sugar); 4) visual (gestures, size and shape of objects, clothing, etc.); 5) olfactory (the smell of man, food, etc.).

During training, conditioned and unconditional stimuli are used.

Unconditional are such stimuli that cause the manifestation of unconditional reflexes.

Food unconditional stimuli is used to reinforce the action of a conditioned stimulus. In order for such a stimulus to act, training must be started before feeding or after it, after a long time. If pieces of meat are used as a treat, they should be small in size, since large pieces quickly saturate the dog, which leads to sluggishness. The delicacy is recommended to be accompanied by the exclamation of “good” and stroking the dog. As the skills are developed, the treat should be given less and less and replace it with verbal encouragement and stroking.

Mechanical irritants are used so that the dog performs the necessary actions. The impact is carried out by pressure on a certain part of the body, stroking, blowing with a rod, pulling a leash, using a strict collar. In this case, the optimal force of exposure is needed, otherwise the dog will not obey or be afraid of the trainer. It is recommended to combine a mechanical stimulus with food. So, stroking along with the cottage of delicacy forms a conditioned food reflex and helps to increase the attachment of the dog to the trainer.

Conditional (signal) are called stimuli, which cause a manifestation of a conditional reflex. In the process of training, the main conditional signals are commands and gestures. The command is a complex sound stimulus (a word determined for each trick consists of a combination of sounds and intonations). The dog distinguishes one command from another in different combination of sounds and their number. Changed or distorted commands, as a rule, do not cause a response in the dog. If for a person the word is a concept, that is, different words can indicate the same thing, then for the dog a command, a word is a complex of sounds, a specific sound stimulus.

The intonation is understood as the shade of the voice (timbre, sound height), given to a particular command. The dog can distinguish between not only combinations of sounds, but also intonation.

Intonations, depending on the goal and working conditions, can be threatening, ordered and affectionate (encouraging). When developing the skill, most commands should be served with order intonationch commands need to be pronounced persistently and confidently, with medium volume, reinforcing them with unconditional stimuli.

The exception is commands associated with the manifestation of a defensive reaction or with the inhibition process in the dog. These commands are served with threatening intonation (the prohibiting command “Stop that! ” And the Attack! Command, which cause an active-defensive reaction). Threatening intonation is also used when it is necessary to strengthen the action of the command in case of non-fulfillment. The command is pronounced sharply, in increased tone, reinforced by pain (for example, a sharp jerk, strong pressure, etc.). The basis for developing a conditioned reflex is a pain stimulus. However, it is not recommended to abuse threatening intonations, as this contributes to the development of cowardice.

Affectionate intonation is used to fix the performed action on a conditional signal. With this intonation, the encouraging command “Good! ” Is pronounced, accompanied by stroking the dog and the cottage of goodies. The use of these irritants is called encouragement.

Conventional intonation is used for very sensitive dogs or in the order of approval of the dog’s actions. With approving intonation, you can also pronounce the word “good. “

Commands should be brief, clear, standard. They cannot be changed. It is recommended to take into account the features of the reaction of dogs to various intonations. So, in some dogs, threatening intonation can cause a passive-defensive reaction, which complicates the production of conditioned reflexes.

Gestures are visual stimuli transmitted by a certain movement of the trainer’s hand. They are always constant for each skill (reception). Gestures are used instead of commands (at a great distance for masking when using a dog in the service). With gestures, the trainer acts at a distance, indicating the direction of movement. They, like the commands, should be standard and clear.

Dog training can be carried out simultaneously by gesture and command. This allows you to strengthen the action of the command or supplement it (for example, combined with the “Look! ” Shiven for a search of the area, work on the trail, etc.). Commands and gestures should be submitted briefly, clearly and monotonous with the corresponding intonation. This will ensure the appearance of skills in response to the corresponding commands.

The value of the processes of excitation and inhibition during training

The processes of excitation and inhibition are based on nervous activity.

The excitation of certain sections of the cortex of large hemispheres is manifested in the corresponding actions (reflexes) of the dog. For example, getting into a new environment, the dog shows an indicative reaction. This occurs as a result of the excitation of the nervous system with various environmental irritants through the senses. The command “Come / Come here! ”, Annoying the hearing of the auditory center of the cerebral cortex through the hearing organ, causes the excitement of this center, which is transmitted to the motor centers of large hemispheres and makes the dog move towards the trainer. Most conditional reflexes are produced in the dog during training based on the excitation processch reflexes are called positive conditional reflexes.

Inhibition is an active process of nervous activity, opposite to excitation and causing a delay in reflexes. So, for example, the forbidding command “Stop that! “is a striking example of inhibition of the activity of the cerebral hemispheres, primarily the cerebral cortex. Acting through the auditory center on the motor center, the command causes inhibition of this center, as a result, the dog stops actions that are undesirable for the trainer. Conditioned reflexes that are developed in a dog based on the use of an inhibitory process are called inhibitory, or negative. Excitation and inhibition are processes that form the basis of higher nervous activity, the basis of behavior.

Empirically established certain regularities in the manifestation of these processes, which are of great importance for training. The rule of motion for the processes of excitation and inhibition is as follows. If a focus of excitation or inhibition has arisen in any part of the cerebral cortex, then excitation or inhibition will certainly first spread, capturing neighboring parts of the cortex (the process of irradiation). As soon as this or that process has spread, the opposite phenomenon begins – excitation or inhibition is concentrated at the place of its occurrence (the process of concentration).

The emergence in the cerebral cortex of a process that is opposite in meaning to the one that originally arose is called induction (the process of excitation is replaced by an inhibitory process and vice versa).

In this case, due to the inhibition of some reflexes, the excitability of others may increase (positive induction). For example, a dog that hears a shot for the first time may experience inhibition of all motor reflexes to commands and gestures. But after the shot, she will start to tear from the leash, trying to run, or will whine and bark.

For training, negative induction is of great importance, which underlies the so-called external inhibition. The phenomenon of negative induction is that the excitation of some reflex causes the inhibition of others.

Dog training. Learning to properly educate a dog smell, or looks

What is the most effective in-home dog training method?

The most common cause of external inhibition is the orienting reflex. Showing an orienting reflex, the dog ceases to respond to the commands of the trainer or the owner and does not perform the actions required of it. Instead, she listens to an extraneous sound, sniffs hard at an unfamiliar smell, or looks towards a new object. External inhibition caused by the orienting response easily occurs in young dogs raised in a monotonous environment. Therefore, in most cases, it is temporary and stops (extinguishes) at the moment when the dog gets used to the new stimulus. Therefore, all stimuli that temporarily distract the dog from the trainer are called an extinguishing brake.

However, in other cases, external inhibition may be more persistent, for example, when it arises as a result of the manifestation of a passive-defensive reaction. This is typical for young dogs that have not been “outlived” in a timely manner the reflex of primary natural caution (“puppy cowardice”). The way to deal with external inhibition is to consistently familiarize the puppy with various environmental stimuli.

Before you start training on the training ground, you need to accustom the animal to external conditions and ensure that it does not react to other dogs.

In dogs that have reached puberty, the cause of external inhibition is often the sexual reflex. This is especially true for males who feel the proximity of an empty bitch, so she needs to be isolated.

When conducting group classes, external inhibition in males may occur as a result of the manifestation of a defensive reaction to each other. In this case, you should skillfully use the forbidding command “Stop that! ” and mechanical stimulus (timely jerk, whip).

External inhibition in dogs during training can occur under adverse environmental influences. So, in spring and autumn, due to changes in soil moisture, many dogs inhibit the landing and laying reflex. In this case, the dog does not follow the commands “Sit! ” and “Down! “. To eliminate this obstacle, it is recommended to conduct classes in higher and dry places.

External inhibition and distraction can also arise under the influence of internal stimuli. For example, if a dog has a full bladder, it may exhibit inhibition of all motor reflexes that are not related to the nerve center of urination. In this case, it will not perform the required actions. That is why it is necessary to walk the dogs before starting the practical classes.

From what has been said, it follows that external inhibition occurs when the dog is affected by a stimulus that has a greater influence than the trainer and his commands and gestures. Therefore, the trainer should strive to have a greater effect on the dog than extraneous distracting stimuli. This is achieved by developing persistent conditioned reflexes to various commands and gestures that provide the desired behavior of the dog in a difficult environment.

Initially, training should be carried out in the absence of distracting stimuli. After sufficient consolidation of all commands, it is necessary to gradually complicate the conditions of classes, and in the future to carry out training in the presence of extraneous stimuli.

Of great importance for combating external inhibition in the process of training is a well-fixed conditioned reflex to prohibition (the command “Stop that! “). If the dog is distracted, the trainer can use the command “Stop that! ” as a conditioned stimulus to stop an unwanted action. Only with external braking, the cause of which is a passive-defensive reaction, this command cannot be used. In this case, you need to gradually accustom the dog to the stimulus that causes a passive-defensive reaction, using the food reflex and the game, if we are talking about a puppy or a young dog.

External braking under certain conditions can turn into transcendental braking. For example, in some dogs, after a shot, prolonged inhibition occurs, which manifests itself in the refusal of treats, as well as in the inhibition of all developed conditioned reflexes to commands and gestures.

The main reason for the occurrence of transcendental inhibition during training is too much tension in the nervous system, which has arisen under the influence of a very strong, most often sound, stimulus (for example, a shot). This can also be caused by the abuse of “mechanical stimuli” in the process of training or by the dog performing unbearable actions (for example, overcoming an excessively high barrier without prior preparation).

Very often, prohibitive braking occurs when the dog is overloaded during the development of a sampling of things, as well as as a result of a long repetition of the same training. To avoid this, you should diversify the techniques worked out in each lesson.

Speaking about the causes of prohibitive braking, the following can be indicated. Too strong irritant, as well as overstrain of nervous activity, increase the excitability of nerve cells. As a result, in the form of protection against excessive stress, prohibitive braking develops, which is essentially protective. It protects the nervous system from dangerous overvoltage.

To prevent the occurrence of prohibitive braking, you need to avoid overstrain of the nervous activity of animals. Dogs should be gradually accustomed to sound stimuli, avoid strong “mechanical irritants”, do not set overwhelming tasks before animals and diversify the working skills. If the dog has prohibitive braking, it is necessary to interrupt classes for several days.

External and prohibitive braking is called passive, or unconditional, since such a state can occur in any conditions. It depends only on the state of the nervous activity of the dog and the strength of the acting stimuli.

Unlike passive unconditional inhibition, active, or conditional, is produced in a dog during training. The occurrence of this type of inhibition primarily depends on the actions of the trainer. The skillful and correct use of this technique provides obedience to the dog and a more clear manifestation of conditioned reflexes.

The following types of active braking are distinguished: dying, differentiated and delaying.

The mitting braking of the trainer should take into account from the very beginning of classes. It is known that in order to form a conditional reflex, it is necessary to reinforce the conditional stimulus unconditional. If such “reinforcements” is absent or applied irregularly, a conditional reflex to a command or gesture can weaken and disappear. This phenomenon is called the extinction of a conditional reflex, and the braking itself is fading.

Inexperienced trainers often forget that, having achieved the establishment of the initial conditional connection on the command, but without firmly fixing the conditional reflex, you can not repeat the command many times (if the dog does not immediately perform it) without applie an unconditional stimulus. This weakens the conditioned reflex. It is enough at least several times to reinforce the conditional stimulus unconditional, and at the next action it will appear weaker. That is why, in order to strengthen conditioned reflexes, it is always necessary to “encourage” the dog for correctly performed actions, and when weakening the conditioned reflex, the unconditional stimulus is again used, on the basis of which a conditioned reflex was developed. If, for example, a dog that has well performed the movement of the trainer on the command “Heel! ” Starts to do this, you need to do this, you need after the command “Heel! ”(conditional stimulus) use a leash with a leash (unconditional stimulus).

Conditional reflexes can fade in those cases when practical classes with a dog are carried out irregularly, as well as in the absence of training with trained dogs. Rigging braking usually develops gradually.

For dog training, the so-called differentiated braking is of great importance. The dog learns to clearly distinguish one conditional stimulus from another and quickly perform actions by certain commands, gestures and other signals. Like fussing inhibition, differentiated braking does not occur immediately under the influence of the actions of the trainer.

During the initial production of a conditioned reflex to some command (conditional stimulus) in the nervous center (for example, in the auditory), the process of excitation prevails, which easily spreads into the cerebral cortex and causes increased excitability. As a result of this, the so-called generalization process arises in the central nervous system – a generalization of various similar stimuli, and the dog mixes them. Therefore, during initial training, many dogs perform erroneous actions, confuse commands and gestures (on the command “Stand! ” They sit down, according to the laying gesture, approach the trainer, etc.).

To avoid this, differential braking must be used. All actions of the dog that correspond to the given command must be reinforced by giving treats and the exclamation “Good! “, and erroneous actions do not need to be reinforced, each time correcting the actions of the dog. As a result, inhibition will develop for all stimuli that are not directly related to this skill, and the conditioned reflex to the corresponding command will become stronger. The dog will learn to clearly distinguish the meaning of certain commands and gestures.

The dog’s discrimination of commands also depends on the correct reinforcement of the conditioned stimulus by such an unconditioned stimulus that causes the dog to manifest a certain unconditioned reflex. For example, the command “Heel! “reinforced by a jerk of the leash, returning the dog to the trainer’s leg, the command “Face! “- excitation of an active-defensive reflex, etc. As a result, each command, together with a certain unconditioned reflex, acquires for the dog the value of a signal for performing a certain action, and it will clearly distinguish (differentiate) the meaning of each command.

The training of dogs for the search service, accustoming them to select things by smell, to select a person by a thing or a trace, is based on the use of differentiated inhibition.

Teaching the skill of accustoming to the selection of things by smell should develop in the dog an active sniffing and differentiation of smells. First of all, the dog is taught to select things according to the smell that is well known to it. Putting his thing among similar things that have a different smell, the trainer says the command “Sniff! ”and gets the dog to take his thing. At first, dogs easily confuse the handler’s scent with the scent of other people and, on command, take other people’s things. To prevent the erroneous action of the dog, the trainer uses the forbidding command “Stop that! “(conditional brake). If, despite the forbidding command, the dog still makes erroneous actions, you should deprive him of the reward (goodies). The use of differentiated braking with the prohibition command “Stop that! “greatly facilitates the work of the trainer in the study of this technique.

Samuel Carter author About Author