JUNE 3rd 2019

There is a whole lot of jargon when it comes to dog training, but don’t worry we are here to help! Here are some terms that are often used you may find that theses are things that you already know! You just didn’t realise that there is a word used to describe it!



training terms (1)




Discrimination is to distinguish between what the relevant stimulus is from all the other things that are going on in the environment. Dogs need to learn to discriminate so they can pick out the stimulus that matters in any given situation.


An example is a dog that has learnt to discriminate the relevant stimulus of the cue “stay” from other stimuli such as other people, and animal distractions, or noise distractions from the environment. A dog that has learnt to discriminate will take note of the word “stay” in any different situation or environment.




Generalisation is when the same response can be given even when the other stimulus is different. So if the dog is in the park or at home he will still be able to perform the desired response.


An example of generalisation is when your dog will sit when in your home and can also sit when out walking in the park, and can also do so for male or female owner as it is the cue that matters, not where the dog is or who is asking him to sit.




Salience is the importance of a stimulus. And can include any other stimuli in the environment that your dog pays attention to at the time.


An example would be, when you get ready to leave for work and each time you put your dog in his crate before you leave. The objects that are salient to your dog might be your work shoes, the car keys, your handbag. When your dog sees you interacting with these things he may wait for you to give him a treat as to him these stimuli are of importance, or salient.




Preparedness is when certain stimuli are associated together more willingly than others. This can be feelings and sounds or a feeling and food. Preparedness can make a difference to what stimulus an animal associates with a response. It can make some stimuli easier for an animal to learn about.


An example of preparedness is seen in an animal that is unwell that learns to associate the food they last ate with the feeling of being sick, so in the future they avoid the food to try and avoid the feeling.




Extinction is when reinforcement for behaviour is no longer being given. During extinction the response gradual declines.


An example of extinction might be you stop giving your dog a pat when he brings you his toy. So he gradually stops bringing the toy to you.




Extinction burst occurs during the extinction process. This is when the dog goes through a period of responding. It is thought this behaviour is motivated by frustration.


An example of this is when you have stopped rewarding your dog for jumping up. And although he has started to learn that he will not be petted for this behaviour, he may go through a period where he will increase his intensity to get your attention.






Spontaneous recovery is when the animal engages in the behaviour once again after a period of time being unexposed to the stimulus. These bursts might be less intense and last for less time. They almost become less frequent.


An example would be, you have been teaching your dog to sit and wait for his meal. You are a little delayed in giving him his meal one night and the dog goes back to rushing to get his meal. This is showing signs of spontaneous recovery.




So there you have it! Did you know some of these terms already? Or may be you have seen your dog demonstrating some of these things?


Dog behaviour is so interesting just observe them next time you are around them and see if you can pick out some of these things.