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The Effect of Anticipation
When anticipation is conflicting with behaviour
first published July 2018
There are times when the stable behaviour that has been establish in conjunction with the anticipatory effect puts the dog in conflict.
Continuing with the stable behaviour that is followed with a complimentary reinforcer is going to continue to add strength to the behaviour.
But adaption of the behaviour may occur when in preparation of a contradictory reinforcer
Strong predatory behaviour
When a dog is in the stalk or closing predatory behaviour their responses are suited to anticipation of kill. In stalk, movement is slow, under a threshold to alert the prey. If the behaviour being trained is in conflict with this state anticipation of the predatory behaviours can have a slowing effect on the taught behaviour.
Teaching a dog to change between stand, sit, down in any order. If a ball is placed between the dog and the person, the anticipation of chasing the ball can induce a predatory stance making the dog’s movements slow down to the point of not being able to move.
Teaching relax with food
Teaching relaxing behaviours is often a high ranking demand and many attempts are made to teach this with a clicker and food. If the clicker has been conditioned to food and for that dog food is an arousing and exciting consequence then the click AND the food will put the dog in conflict with the behaviour of relaxing.
The result is a dog holding a posture of relaxation, for example lying on its side, but in an alert and aroused state.
Sleeping and resting would be in conflict if the reward was ball-games
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