Dog Training Glossary

Whether you're a seasoned dog owner or a newcomer to the canine companionship, understanding the terminology used in dog training is essential. This dog training glossary aims to provide you with a comprehensive introduction to key dog terms and concepts associated with training your furry friend.

Dog Training and Behavior Terms

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ABCs of Behavior.
One of the most important parts of behavior is learning. Learning is modification of behavior and activities through experience and training. The three determining aspects of behavior popularly known as the ABC of behavior are: A- Antecedents, B- Behavior and C- Consequences. They are the tiniest units of analysis in behavior and are the basic components in understanding learning and the resulting transformation in behavior. They are used to determine and understand behavioral patterns and problems not only in dogs, other pets but also in humans. Minute observation especially by trained professionals is required to get a good idea of ABC in humans or animals.

See Applied Behavior Analysis for more...

Attempt to do harm. Aggression is defined as threatening or harmful behavior directed toward another individual, including dog on dog aggression, aggression toward people, and aggression toward other animals.

See Different Types of Dog Aggression for more...

In dog behavior training, "alpha" refers to the outdated concept of a dominant leader in a dog pack. It's been largely replaced by more modern, positive training methods focused on building trust and cooperation with dogs.

See Dominance In Dog training & Social Hierarchies for more...

Antecedent Stimulus.
The conditions or incidents that take place immediately before a particular behavior are called antecedents. These are the events which work to make the animal display a particular behavior. They are sort of triggers which if occur, will fortify that particular behavior which follows the events. If we want to change a particular behavior, we have to successfully identify and change the antecedent. ABC Blog.

Giving human characteristics to non-human objects.

Appeasement Gestures.
Observable behaviors a dog uses to ask for space or to present himself as nonthreatening (I come in peace). Appeasement gestures may include scratching, yawning, licking lips, play bows, turning head (averted gaze) or body away, sniffing the ground (also see displacement behaviors), lifting up a paw, slowing down movement, freezing or a submissive grin. These signals are a normal part of dog interaction, but in some situations, they may be signs of stress. Dogs use appeasement gestures when they are feeling stressed, uncomfortable, or fearful. Dogs may also use appeasement gestures, or calming signals, to buy themselves some time.

Applied Behavior Analysis.
The process of solving practical behavior problems by changing the environment.

Activation of the nervous system generally. Stimulates action, or even inaction. Blog on Arousal!

Attention Span.
In animal training, the length of time the learner works for what you have to offer.

Any circumstance or event that causes pain, fear, or emotional discomfort. Tending to avoid or causing avoidance of a noxious or punishing stimulus.

The transfer of control of a learned response from one cue to another cue that consistently occurs prior to the first cue.

Increasing the probability of getting the target behavior by showing the learning the reinforcer before the behavior. Also known as luring.

Barrier Frustration
Barrier frustration, also known as barrier reactivity, is a behavior exhibited by dogs when they are restrained by a barrier such as a fence, window, or leash, and they become frustrated or agitated by their inability to access something or someone on the other side. This frustration often leads to reactive behaviors, such as barking, lunging, or excessive pulling on the leash.
Go to the term Reactive for more on reactivity.

Behavior Analysis.
The study of the functional relations between behavior and environmental events.

Behavior Chain.
A series of behaviors linked together in a continuous sequence by cues, and maintained by a reinforcer at the end of the chain. Each cue serves as the marker and the reinforcer for the previous behavior, and the cue for the next behavior.

Behavior Modification
In dog behavior training, "behavior modification" means systematically changing a dog's behavior using techniques like positive reinforcement and desensitization.

Anything an individual does, given certain conditions, which can be observed or measured.

Bite Inhibition
Bite inhibition in dogs refers to their ability to control the force of their bite. It's crucial for puppies to learn this during socialization to prevent accidental injuries. Training involves feedback, redirecting biting behavior, and positive reinforcement for gentle mouthing.

Bite Threshold.
Level of stress or stimulation at which a dog resorts to biting.

A bridge is a stimulus that closes the gap in time between the release and presentation of the reinforcer.

Bridging Stimulus.
A secondary reinforcer that can be delivered with extremely precise contiguity, hypothesized to bridge the gap between the instant the target behavior is emitted and the delivery of a primary reinforcer.

Calming Signals.
Subtle behavior used by dogs to avoid or diffuse confrontation and aggression. It is said that a dog uses signals to either calm themselves down or used to calm another. Signals can be offered and returned. Calming signals are a set of body language skills which dogs use to maintain healthy relationships and resolve conflict without having to resort to aggressive behaviors.

Captured Behavior.
Reinforcing an animal in the act of performing the complete behavior. Capturing is good for adding a cue to a behavior your dog already offers naturally.

A series of individual behaviors in which an animal is trained to perform in sequence. Each behavior provides the cue for the next behavior, and only the last behavior in the chain results in delivery of a primary reinforcer.

Classical Conditioning.
Also known as Respondent Conditioning. The process of associating a neutral stimulus with an involuntary response until the stimulus elicits the response.

Clicker Training.
Use of a clicker that uses positive reinforcement in combination with an event marker.

Animal trainers use a clicker as an event marker to mark a desired response. The sound of the clicker is an excellent marker because it is unique, quick, and consistent.

See What is Clicker Training for more...

The practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.

Competing motivators
Competing motivators in dog training refer to situations where a dog is torn between different sources of motivation or conflicting incentives. Dogs are often motivated by various factors such as treats, praise, toys, or external distractions. When these motivators compete for the dog's attention, it can pose challenges in training. For example, a dog may be motivated to obey a command for a treat, but if there is a more appealing distraction nearby, such as another dog or an interesting scent, the competing motivator can disrupt the training process. Trainers need to be aware of these competing motivators and strategically manage them to maintain the dog's focus and reinforce desired behaviors effectively.

Compound stressors
Compound stressors in dog training refer to the simultaneous presence of multiple stress-inducing factors that can impact a dog's ability to learn and perform desired behaviors. These stressors may include environmental changes, unfamiliar settings, loud noises, the presence of other dogs, or physical discomfort. Training success can be affected when dogs experience a combination of these stressors, as it may hinder their focus, increase anxiety, or lead to undesired behaviors. Trainers should be mindful of and manage compound stressors to create a more conducive learning environment for the dog.

Conditioned Emotional Response. CER
Form of a learned response whereby emotional reactions such as fear, anger or joy are elicited. Phobias that are established through classical/Respondent conditioning - thunderstorms to rain. CER's are learned emotional reactions like anxiety or happiness that occur as a response to predictive cues.

Conditioned Reinforcer.
A reinforcer effective because it has been previously paired with an unconditioned reinforcer or an already established conditioned reinforcer. Also called a secondary reinforcer.

Conditioned Response (cr).
In classical conditioning, the conditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus.

Conditioned Stimulus (cs).
In classical conditioning, the conditioned stimulus is a previously neutral stimulus that, after becoming associated with the unconditioned stimulus, eventually comes to trigger a conditioned response.

A biological process by which behavior is changed as a result of experience. Learning!

In dog behavior training, the term "conflicted" typically refers to a state in which a dog experiences internal conflict or confusion about how to respond to a situation. This can occur when the dog is unsure about which behavior is appropriate or when it's torn between competing motivations or instincts.

For example, a dog may feel conflicted when it's asked to perform a task that goes against its natural instincts or desires. This could happen if a dog is trained to stay away from food on the counter but is tempted by the smell of something tasty. The dog may experience conflict between its desire to obey the command and its instinctual drive to investigate the food.

The experiences, developments or stimuli which occur right after the behavior are consequences. They are like feedback for the behavior performed and act as catalyst for repeating/strengthening the same behavior in the future. Edward Lee Thorndike, the first important animal researcher observed through his research what is now known as the ‘law of effect’. It states that ‘any behavior which is accompanied by satisfying and agreeable consequences maybe repeated and those which are followed by undesirable consequences will most probably be terminated.’

BEHAVIOR WHAT It's NOT Hypothetical constructs - constructs are a particular kind of label that goes beyond simple description of observable behaviors into the realm of hypothetical (one would say pseudo - science) explanations for why an animal behaves as it does. The cause of behavior is found in CONTEXTS, not in animals. There are always conditions on which behavior depends. Therefore changing conditions changes behavior. A concept "construct/label" cannot cause behavior because it has no tangible form. Cannot be measured.

Contiguity which states that things that occur near each other in time or space are readily associated. Time between a behavior and consequence. For learning to take place, the response must occur in the presence of or very soon after a stimulus is presented, or an association will not occur. In reality, this is a behaviorist view based on the idea that learning will occur only if events occur relatively close together in time.

The if/then relationship between a behavior and its controlling environmental variables (consequences).

Continuous Reinforcement. CRF
When a target behavior is reinforced each and every time it is exhibited.

Corrections, which involve providing feedback to modify behavior. It can include redirecting unwanted behavior, using verbal cues, or employing gentle corrections to guide the dog towards desired actions. Corrections should be timely, fair, and consistent, promoting positive learning without causing fear or harm. Positive reinforcement is often recommended in dog training, emphasizing rewards for desired behavior instead of punishments. This approach aims to create a positive learning environment, build trust, and strengthen the bond between the dog and the owner.

Describes the process and/or procedure of countering previous respondent conditioning with new respondent conditioning. Means to teach dog to have a pleasant feeling or reaction to something they once feared or disliked. To “condition” means "to change behavior", and to “counter” means "to oppose", "to run contrary to," or "to reverse or go in the opposite direction." NOTE: With counter-conditioning, the animal's respondent behavior to a stimulus is replaced with an opposite automatic response.- Standard definition, as worded by Susan Friedman from professional LLA

Covert Behavior.
Behavior that cannot be observed by anyone other than the person performing the behavior (i.e. thinking, dreaming, etc.).

Criteria in dog training are the specific standards or conditions that define successful learning or performance of a behavior. This includes clarity, consistency, timing, gradual progression, relevance, reliability, generalization, duration, and the ability to perform despite distractions.

Antecedent stimulus that signals the availability of reinforcement, contingent on the appropriate behavior. Cues may be verbal, physical , or environmental.

The process of increasing an animal’s tolerance to a particular stimulus by gradually increasing the presence of the stimulus. In psychology, desensitization is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated (gradually) exposure to it.

Developmental Stages
In dog behavior training, "development stages" refer to the different phases of a dog's life, each marked by specific physical and behavioral changes. Understanding these stages helps trainers tailor training methods to the dog's age and needs. What they experience in these formative years (Stages of Puppyhood) play an integral role in the personality they will develop as they turn into adult dogs.

See Puppy Social Development for more...

Differential Reinforcement (DR)
Combines extinction and reinforcement to decrease the probability of an undesirable behavior while increasing the frequency of a desirable behavior. a. DRA – differential reinforcement of alternative behavior. b. DRI – differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior. c. DRO – differential reinforcement of other (or zero rates) of behavior. d. DRH – differential reinforcement of high rates of behavior. e. DRL – differential reinforcement of low rates of behavior.

Discriminative Stimulus
An antecedent stimulus that indicates the availability of reinforcement, contingent on a behavior. The discriminative stimulus indicates to the dog that if they do the behavior reinforcement is available.

In dog behavior training, "distress" refers to a state of discomfort or suffering experienced by a dog. This can manifest in various ways, including signs of fear, anxiety, agitation, or physical discomfort. Identifying signs of distress in dogs is crucial for trainers to address underlying issues and ensure the dog's well-being during training sessions. Effective training strategies should aim to alleviate distress and promote a positive and comfortable learning environment for the dog.

"Dominance" in dog training is not considered an innate personality trait but rather a behavior exhibited as a means of gaining preferential access to resources. In the past, the concept falsely suggested a fixed hierarchical structure among dogs. However, modern understanding acknowledges that dominance is context-dependent and may be expressed by dogs seeking access to specific resources such as food, toys, or attention. Recognizing these dynamics allows trainers to address a dog's needs more effectively without relying on outdated dominance-based training methods.

See Dominance in the dog training industry for more...

One standard definition of enrichment is: "Addition to an animal's environment with which the animal voluntarily interacts and, as a result, experiences improved physical and/or psychological health"
Everything internal and external surroundings has relevance to behaving organism. Surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.

Establishing Operation (eo)
Temporally altering a reinforcer for overall effectiveness of that reinforcer. Usually by taking away it's availability temporally to make it more effective. Giving less attention can increase the effectiveness of attention.

In dog behavior training, "eustress" refers to positive stress that enhances motivation and learning, unlike distress which is negative stress causing discomfort.

The process of decreasing behavior by permanently removing the maintaining reinforcer. When operant behavior that has been previously reinforced no longer produces reinforcing consequences the behavior gradually stops occurring.

Extinction Burst
A burst of activity (behavior). When a previous behavior has been reinforced and now stopped being reinforced an animal will keep trying that behavior faster, harder, again and again.

To slowly remove all prompts so that the cue (SD) alone leads to the behavior.

An emotional response, including both operants and respondents, defined by signs of sympathetic nervous system arousal, stress, and escape or avoidance behaviors. A distressing emotion aroused by imminent danger, unpleasant, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Fixed Duration (fd)
A schedule of reinforcement, which sets the rule that the target behavior must be exhibited continuously for a specified period of time, at which point reinforcement is delivered.

Fixed Interval (fi)
A schedule of reinforcement, which sets the rule that reinforcement is delivered immediately following the first response exhibited after a specific interval of time has passed.

Fixed Ratio (fr)
A schedule of reinforcement, which sets the rule that reinforcement is delivered following the final response after a fixed number of responses have occurred.

A form of behavior therapy, based on the principles of respondent extinction, in which a subject is exposed, usually at full intensity, to an aversive stimulus, where escape behavior is prevented, until escape responding ceases. Also called “exposure and response prevention.” It is sometimes referred to as exposure therapy or prolonged exposure therapy

Free Shaping
Shaping, or as it's regularly known, “shaping by successive approximations,” this simply means breaking down a behavior into tiny increments, and reinforcing the dog at each incremental step until you've achieved the full behavior (end goal). That is, the trainer does not prompt any responses, but rather waits patiently for the approximation and provides reinforcement whenever it occurs.

Emotional behavior resulting from being prevented from fulfilling one's goals. Frustration can trigger aggressive responses. A feeling of dismay, often followed by anxiety or depression, resulting from unsatisfied needs or unresolved problems.

Functional Assessment
Is a way of looking at the OPERANT "causes or reasons of learned behaviors". VARIABLES that are related to behavior and environmental events. Knowing the function of a problem behavior can help determine an appropriate solution. "Is a procedure that determines under which conditions a behavior problem occurs". Functional analysis is the process of systematically testing the ABC hypothesis. Antecedent, behavior, Consequence.

A behavior is said to have generalized if the trained behavior occurs at other times or in other places without having to be retrained completely in those particular times or places, or if functionally related behaviors occur that were not trained directly.

Generalized Conditioned Reinforcer.
A conditioned reinforcer that has been associated with a variance of unconditioned reinforcers. Praise often achieves this standard.

The diminishing of an instinctive response to a frequently repeated stimulus. Therefore people or animals become used to something, so that they no longer find it unpleasant or think it is a threat:

Head halter.
Head halters fit similarly to a horse’s halter, a halter gives a handler more control of the dog’s head, making it easier to manage a dog on leash until the dog has been taught to walk at the handler’s side. The basic logic of a halter is: Where the head goes, the body will follow.

Intermittent Reinforcement.
Reinforcement is given only part of the time a subject gives the desired response.

To turn the dog's attention away from a behavior as a prevention to unwanted behaviors.

Submitted by: S. Sheaffer
Interval Reinforcement.
A schedule of reinforcement, which sets the rule that reinforcement is delivered immediately following the first response exhibited after a specific interval of time has passed. It is a schedule of reinforcement where the first response is rewarded only after a specified amount of time has elapsed.

Jackpot or Jackpotting.
A large-reward given after an exceptional effort.

Latency is the time between the cue and the beginning of the pet's response, the behavior.

Law of Effect.
Edward Lee Thorndike, the first important animal researcher observed through his research what is now known as the ‘law of effect’. It states that ‘any behavior which is accompanied by satisfying and agreeable consequences maybe repeated and those which are followed by undesirable consequences will most probably be terminated.’

Learned helplessness
Learned helplessness in dog training occurs when a dog, subjected to repeated and unavoidable negative experiences, becomes passive and accepts unfavorable situations without attempting to escape or avoid them. It is associated with punishment-based training methods and is discouraged in favor of positive reinforcement approaches that promote active learning and a positive relationship between the dog and the trainer.

See Aversive Training Can Cause Fallout for more...

A biological process by which behavior is changed as a result of experience. Conditioning!

In dog behavior training, "LIMA" stands for "Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive." It's an approach that emphasizes using the least intrusive and minimally aversive methods possible to address behavior issues in dogs. LIMA promotes humane and effective training techniques, prioritizing the well-being of the dog and avoiding methods that cause fear, pain, or discomfort whenever possible. Trainers following the LIMA approach consider the individual dog's temperament, history, and learning style to determine the most appropriate and least invasive training methods for achieving desired behavior changes.

Luring simply involves using a food reward to guide the dog into the desired position or behavior. Example: place a piece of food by a sitting dogs nose and start luring him into a down position.

Management in dog training refers to the strategic control and organization of a dog's environment to prevent unwanted behaviors and set the dog up for success. It involves creating a structured environment that minimizes opportunities for undesirable actions and encourages positive behavior. Effective management may include the use of crates, gates, leashes, and other tools to control the dog's access to certain areas or stimuli. By carefully managing the environment, trainers and owners can help dogs develop good habits, reduce the likelihood of problem behaviors, and create a conducive setting for successful training.

A signal through conditioning indicates a correct behavior that will result in reward. Typically, to be effective, the signal should be within 1.5 seconds of the behavior. A clicker is a marker.

Matching Law.
The relative rate of responding on two concurrent schedules of reinforcement equals the relative rate of reinforcement on those two schedules.

In dog behavior training, the term "motivated" refers to a state in which a dog is driven or influenced by certain factors to perform specific behaviors. These factors can include various forms of reinforcement such as treats, praise, toys, or opportunities to engage in activities the dog finds enjoyable.

When a dog is motivated, it is more likely to engage in desired behaviors and respond positively to training cues or commands. For example, a dog may be motivated to sit on command if it knows it will receive a tasty treat as a reward. Similarly, a dog may be motivated to come when called if it knows it will get to play with its favorite toy.

Understanding what motivates a dog is essential for effective training. Trainers can use this knowledge to reinforce desired behaviors and encourage the dog to repeat them in the future. Additionally, identifying and utilizing the right motivators can help make training sessions more engaging and enjoyable for the dog, leading to better results.

Negative punishment (P-).
Negative punishment occurs when a certain reinforcing stimulus is removed after a specific undesired behavior is exhibited, resulting in the behavior happening less often in the future.

Negative reinforcement (R-).
'Negative reinforcement is the removal of an adverse stimulus which is ‘rewarding’ to the animal or person. Negative reinforcement strengthens behavior because it stops or removes an unpleasant experience.'

Neutral Stimulus.
A stimulus that does not evoke or elicit the behavior in question.

No Reward Marker (NRM).
A no reward marker is usually a cue or sound that informs your dog that whatever they just did has ended the possibility of reinforcement.

Behavior that operates on the environment to produce consequences.

Operant conditioning (also called instrumental conditioning)
Is a type of associated learning process based on a certain behavior in which a behaviors strength is modified through reinforcement or punishment. A method of learning that engages in punishment or reinforcement for a behavior.

Overshadowing is when we present two or more more stimuli at one time, and one stimulus produces a stronger response than the other because it is more relevant or salient.

Positive Punishment
Use of aversive stimuli to decrease or change a behavior. The addition of an unpleasant stimulus in order to decrease the frequency of an unwanted behavior. P+ is commonly called “Avoidance Training” and is one of the four quadrants of Operant Conditioning.

Predatory Drift
“Predatory Drift” is a term that was coined either by Ian Dunbar and we believe first published by Jean Donaldson. This is when a large dogs acceptable behavior shifts to predatory behavior. This is known to happen with large and small dog interactions an example can be when a small dog squeals and runs away in fright. This is one of the biggest reasons dog parks and play groups are separated by size. This phenomenon can be very dangerous.

Premack's principle
''the more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors.''  Animals are willing to perform a less desirable (come) activity to get at the more desirable activity (etc. go play with other dogs). That is, if the animal gets to do a certain behavior right after doing a lower probability behavior, the lower probability behavior will be reinforced.

Prey Drive
More accurately referred to as “Predatory Instinct.” Dogs are carnivores and have a natural instinct to chase moving things and take them down "prey/nature". Many dogs are breed for controlling the natural orient, eye , stalk , chase , grab bite , kill bite , dissect. For example herding dogs are breed to stalk and chase therefore may not bite or engage in the take down sequence of predation.
 NOTE: For most animal behaviorists, predatory behavior refers to those behaviors involved in the location, capture and consumption of prey. It is part of the feeding behavior system for those animals that capture and consume other animals for food, such as dogs, hyenas, snakes and dragonflies.

A prompt in dog training is a signal, cue, or command given to elicit a specific behavior from the dog. It serves as a communication tool between the trainer or owner and the dog, indicating the desired action. Prompts can be verbal, visual, or physical cues that help guide the dog in understanding what is expected of them. Consistent and clear prompts play a crucial role in effective training, as they help the dog associate the cue with the intended behavior and facilitate the learning process.

Rate of Reinforcement
Rate of reinforcement is the frequency in which a dog is rewarded. We can determine this by how many times we reinforce a dog within a minute. Then we divide 60 by the number of reinforcements given. For new learners the rate of reinforcement should be high especially with any high distractions. (ETC 15-20 reinforcements per minute) ...also see matching law

Many professionals use the label reactivity or reactive to describe certain observable behaviors. Usually it's a dog that is lunging, barking, growling, spinning or lunging to name a few. Especially when they see a certain trigger (stimuli). A dog is usually on leash when reactive but many also use the term when off leash too. ETC doorbell or behind a fence (see barrier frustration) A reactive dog is usually trying to ward off or escape a stimulus. A reactive dog is usually fearful, a frustrated greeter or even related to some type of aggression.

See our blog section on reactive dogs

Redirect in dog training refers to the act of guiding a dog's attention and behavior from an undesirable action to a more acceptable one. It involves shifting the dog's focus to a different activity or behavior, often using positive reinforcement, to encourage appropriate actions and discourage unwanted behavior. Redirecting is a technique used to effectively manage and shape a dog's behavior in a positive way.

In operant conditioning, "reinforcement" refers to anything that increases the likelihood that a response will occur. A consequence a dog finds pleasurable or desirable. Operant conditioning, researched and made popular by B.F. Skinner, is the learning theory where punishment or reward follows a behavior to make it more likely (McLeod,2015)

See Operant Conditioning for more...

Resource guarding
When a dog protects anything it perceives of value. What a dog perceives of value depends on each individual dog and it can be anything from food to a leaf on the ground.

See Operant Conditioning for more...

When dogs become sensitized to a trigger, they become more frightened and have a more intense reaction with repeated exposures, rather than becoming calmer and less bothered over time. This heightened sensitivity often leads to increased fear or reactivity towards the specific stimulus, emphasizing the importance of carefully managing and addressing such sensitivities in dog training. (See also: Habituation)

Seperation Anxiety
In dog behavior training, "separation anxiety" refers to a condition where a dog experiences a high level of distress or anxiety when separated from its owner or when left alone. Dogs with separation anxiety may exhibit various behaviors such as excessive vocalization, destructive chewing, pacing, urinating or defecating indoors, and attempts to escape. Separation anxiety can have a significant impact on both the dog's well-being and the owner's ability to leave the dog alone without causing distress. Dog with SA can injure themselves trying to escape.

Shaping is a conditioning paradigm used primarily in the experimental analysis of behavior. The method used is differential reinforcement of successive approximations. It was introduced by B. F. Skinner with pigeons and extended to dogs, dolphins, humans and other species. Shaping, or as it\'s formally known, “shaping by successive approximations,” simply means breaking down a behavior into tiny increments, and reinforcing the dog at each incremental step until you've achieved the full behavior.

Every day a puppy is learning about the surrounding world and growing. What they experience in these formative years (Stages of Puppyhood) play an integral role in the personality they will develop as they turn into adult dogs.As you could guess, well-socialized puppies most often turn into well-socialized dogs.The prime socialization period is 8-12 weeks but can extend from 3-18 weeks.A well socialized dog grows into a confident dog in all different environmental context and able to effectively communicate in their social group. Read more on how to socialize your puppy and How a puppy develops...

Stimulus Control
When a dog performs a behavior on cue quickly, anywhere, and under a wide variety of conditions, the behavior is said to be under stimulus control.

Stress is an organis's total response to environmental demands or pressure placed upon it to change or adapt.

Approach for engaging with a person or another dog to establish a positive and harmonious relationship. Indications of submission may manifest subtly, such as a dog slightly retracting its ears in greeting, or overtly, like a dog rolling on its back in the presence of another dog. (Refer also to: appeasement gestures.)

Successive approximation
Successive approximation in dog training is a method where desired behaviors are shaped gradually by reinforcing steps or actions that increasingly resemble the final behavior. Instead of expecting the entire behavior at once, trainers reward small, successive steps toward the desired outcome. This technique involves reinforcing behaviors that approximate the target behavior, making it easier for the dog to understand and learn. Successive approximation is effective in teaching complex behaviors by breaking them down into manageable and achievable components, promoting a positive learning experience for the dog.

Systematic Desensitization
To make less sensitive. To reduce or eliminate in small steps the exaggerated emotional based reaction (fear response) that an animal has to a specific triggers etc. sounds, other animals, people or any stimulus.

In dog training, "target" refers to teaching a dog to touch a specific object, usually with a part of their body such as their nose or paw, in response to a cue or command. Targeting is a fundamental training technique used to teach dogs various behaviors and tricks. It involves guiding the dog to make physical contact with the designated target, and positive reinforcement is often used to reward and reinforce the correct response. Targeting is versatile and can be applied in different contexts, making it a valuable tool in shaping a dog's behavior.

It's a way to measure a dogs emotional state in different environmental context. Think of it as a distance from a scary stimulus, if a dog is far enough it's relaxed and calm. If a dog is at it's threshold it will be mildly stressed and anxious. If a dog is over threshold it will be reactive (anxious, barking, fearful).

Trigger Stacking
In dog behavior training, "trigger stacking" refers to the accumulation of various stressors or stimuli that can overwhelm a dog and lead to an exaggerated or inappropriate response. When multiple triggers occur in quick succession without adequate recovery time, the dog may become increasingly anxious, fearful, or reactive. This can result in the dog exhibiting behaviors that seem disproportionate to the immediate trigger because the cumulative effect of multiple triggers has heightened the dog's emotional state. Understanding trigger stacking is important in training to recognize when a dog may be nearing its threshold and to manage the environment to prevent overwhelming situations, allowing the dog to remain calm and responsive.

Vacuum Activity
When an animal is highly motivated to perform an instinctive behavior but there is no available outlet, a vacuum activity may be exhibited (flank sucking, licking, etc). These activities have no apparent useful purpose.

Submitted by: S. Sheaffer
Variable Schedule of Reinforcement
Where an unpredictable amount of time have passed before getting rewarded for a response, or a number of behaviors required before getting reinforced. This keeps a dog motivated like a human playing a slot machine.

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