Training and Stimulus Control

An important aspect of dog training involves bringing learned behavior under the control of cues and commands or what learning theorists call discriminative stimuli. Essentially, stimulus control refers to a process whereby a learned response is rendered more probable in the presence of some arbitrary stimulus. For example, once a dog has learned that some instrumental response is regularly associated with a specific outcome, the response-outcome relationship can be readily associated with a discriminative stimulus (Sd). The Sd functions similarly to a CS in classical conditioning, serving to establish a correlation between its presence and the occurrence of an associated instrumental response and reinforcer (Rescorla, 1991). The Sd is a signal that both selects the desired behavior and announces the moment when its emission will most likely result in reinforcement—that is, either producing a positive reinforcer or avoiding the occurrence of a negative one.

Dog Obedience

Dog Obedience

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