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Operant Conditioning Using Dogtra Collars

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Operant Conditioning Using Dogtra Collars

You can get yourself the best-looking coon dog anyone has ever seen and invest a healthy chunk of change in hunting supplies, but without training, your coon hunting outings aren’t going to go well.

We’ve talked about the respondent conditioning approach to training using Dogtra collars before. Now we want to talk about another approach called operant conditioning.

As the experts at Simply Psychology explain, “Operant conditioning, sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning, is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an individual makes an association between a particular behavior and a consequence (Skinner, 1938).”

So, how does a training system from Dogtra tie in with all the fancy talk? Simple!

It’s all about the concept of Reinforcement. Simply put, a positive reinforcer is anything that encourages a certain type of behavior. The most common example of a positive reinforcer is food. In other words, you might be more familiar with the other term for a positive reinforcer – a reward. To really cement the message, we usually pair the food reward with a verbal signal such as “Good Boy” or “YES!”

Now there is also such a thing as a negative reinforcer. Instead of encouraging a certain behavior, with negative reinforcement, the goal is to prevent the occurrence of a certain type of behavior. Just like a positive reinforcer is better known as a reward, there’s a more familiar name for a negative reinforcer – punishment.

From an operant conditioning perspective, punishment isn’t necessarily a bag thing. It is anything that decreases the frequency of an undesired behavior.

So, how does all this apply to the use of a Dogtra e-collar for dog training? It’s very straightforward. Let’s take an example:

You want to teach your 140-pound Rottweiler Buddy to stop jumping on people. He hasn’t responded favorably to your training methods thus far. You put a Dogtra e-collar on Buddy, after thoroughly reading the Dogtra user manual, of course. It really is important to familiarize yourself with the Dogtra e-collar’s operation.

Next you determine the lowest strength pulse that will interrupt Buddy’s jumping behavior. Then what you want to do is catch Buddy every time he jumps up on someone and administer that pulse.

The pulse from your Dogtra e-collar is a correction. As long as that strength pulse interrupts the jumping – i.e., Buddy gets down, you are sending your dog the right signal to correct his undesired behavior. But, consistency is key! You must administer the correction every time you catch Buddy jumping on someone. So, you need to be attentive and observant and responsive.


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