Although we try to use straightforward terms on our site, every now and then we throw in a term that may need some clarification. If you have questions about terminology that are not answered on this page, feel free to contact us anytime!

Definitions

Classical Conditioning: Repeated pairing a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus generating an unconditioned response.
Ex: The smell of food (unconditioned stimulus) makes a dog salivate (unconditioned response). If you make noise with the dog bowl (neutral stimulus) when it’s feeding time, eventually the sound of the bowl will generate the unconditioned response of salivating.

Leash Aggression/Leash Reactivity: Aggression while on a leash on a walk. This is a very common behavior and is usually caused by the dog wanting to get to something they are not able to on a leash. It is also more difficult for dogs to read other dogs’ body language when both are on a leash. Feeling restrained makes the dog feel insecure. Because of their inability to put distance between them and the “threat”, they may become aggressive. (Fight or Flight)

Operant Conditioning: The strength of a behavior is changed based on the consequences of the behavior.
Ex: Dog jumps on pen. Pens falls and makes a loud noise scaring the dog. Dog doesn’t jump on pen again.
Ex: Dog is cued to sit. Dog sits and is rewarded with a treat. Dog will sit again when cued.

Pack: Merriam Webster defines “pack” as “a group of domesticated animals trained to hunt or run together”. In the dog world, we speak of pack in terms of family members. Once your dog has bonded with you and your family members, to your dog, you are all considered part of their pack.

Negative Punishment: To remove something good making behavior less likely to happen.
Ex: Dog will not let go of a toy. I hold the toy still (while still in her mouth) to take away the fun.
Dog ignores the “sit” cue. I give the “eh-eh” correction cue and turn around to face away from her. This take away your attention from her and lets her know there is no treat reward.

Positive Punishment: To add something bad making behavior less likely to happen again.
Ex: A dog is barking. Owner delivers a shock to the dog via an E-Collar. Dog stops barking.

Negative Reinforcement: To remove something bad making the behavior more likely to happen again.
Ex: A dog has aggression toward other dogs. I have brought my dog in the room with the aggressor. The dog reacts and I remove my dog from the room. I have removed a negative stimulus (my dog) therefore rewarding the negative behavior of the aggressive dog.

Positive Reinforcement: To add something good making the behavior more likely to happen again.
Ex: I give the “sit” cue. My dog sits. I give her a treat. The treat is the positive reinforcement.