Animal Behavior Essay

548 WordsApr 8, 20133 Pages
My dog has been a very important part of my house and family since my childhood. I have spent lots of time analyzing my dog's behavior and seeing it change over time. When I first brought my dog home, it was very difficult for us to look after it because of its habit of excreting anywhere in the house or outside. It caused a lot of problems and that was when we decided to train my dog to only excrete in certain areas like the bathroom. To start off with, we made sure it would learn to find its way through to the bathroom. Then we slowly started making it get use to going to the bathroom every time it needed to excrete. To do this, we used the concept of operant conditioning that is defined as learning controlled by the consequence (punishment or reward) of the organism’s behavior. Every time the dog followed its rules of using these specific areas it was awarded with dog biscuits (reward) and every time it did not follow the instructions, we use to give it a slight hit on the back. The process of hitting worked as a positive punishment because the dog would start to change its habit of excreting in the areas it was not allowed to excrete in. Although initially our dog did not understand what it was being trained towards, once the concept of reward and punishment was introduced it started reacting towards its training. With the use of “positive punishment” (when a behavior is followed by a stimulus like loud noises, shock or pain), that is when the dog was hit because of not obeying, the frequency of repeating its mistakes started to decrease. Hitting the dog on the back made the dog sad due to pain. As a result, the number of times it excreted in areas it was not allowed to excrete in started to decrease with time. This process of positive punishment (hitting) was repeated every single time the wrong behavior was observed. Reward was the other side to the coin.

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