The Science of Dog Training

Apparently some friends are wondering why the hell I’m dog training (my own dogs, for now) full-time. Probably much like when they were wondering why the hell I was working as a celebrity’s P.A. (aka alalay ng artista) full-time some 17 years ago.

The similarity between being a dog trainer and being a P.A. is that both are fun as much as they are educational; The difference between dog training and P.A. work is that there is an entire science behind dog training and understanding how a dog’s mind works.
Fine, there is an entire science, too, behind understanding how artistas’ minds work. 

This science is not new to me, having majored in BS Psychology in college. Among other psychologists and behaviorists, I particularly remember B. F. Skinner’s “Skinner Box” and Thorndike’s “Law of Effect” since those studies usually involved animals. My groupmates and I even used Jacques (my Bichon Frise) and Culing (my sister’s Shih Tzu), who were already pre-trained by professional dog trainers, and pretended we were training them for the first time. Our teacher saw right through it, of course, since we probably were not seamless in our effort to cheat.

Last night more of these laws and theories, studies, and terminologies were tackled in depth, mainly in an attempt by our Club (a group of dog trainers I join every Thursday) to improve our skills in public speaking. For me, however, the exercise strengthened my understanding of certain concepts more than it improved my skills in public speaking -since I’ve never been afraid of speaking to an audience.

For those who think dog training is insignificant, or simple, I dare you to explain to me what CONDITIONED REINFORCER, POISONED CUE, EXTINCTION BURST, LIMITED HOLD, BACK CHAINING, REINFORCEMENT RATIO, NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT etc are.

Nosebleed? I thought so.

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