What is an Aversive?

July 16, 2012

According to The American Heritage Dictionary “aversive” is an adjective for something “causing avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior by using an unpleasant or punishing stimulus, as in techniques of behavior modification.”

In other words, when we punish, we have to use something that is aversive to the subject of our punishment. It has to be something they find “unpleasant or punishing”.

So what or who determines what is aversive? The person or animal on the receiving end makes this determination. This is an important point often misunderstood not only by people in general, but even some trainers.  Why is this important? Because when you are training any animal everything has a consequence, good or bad. Too often punishment is misunderstood to the detriment of the animal.
Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Simple Associations

July 9, 2012

We all make associations.  Go to a restaurant and find a hair on your plate. What comes to mind the next time you think of that restaurant or even that particular food?

What about the associations we make with a particular smell or food from our past? White Shoulders perfume makes me think of one of my grandmothers. Buckwheat pancakes and Collies make me think of my other grandmother. These are wonderful, feel good associations.

Just as we make associations so do our dogs. Dogs are constantly making associations. It is part of the learning process. Unlike us, where some of our associations can be complicated, dogs tend to make very direct simple associations. Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: