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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There are currently 6 names in this directory beginning with the letter D.
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.

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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...

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